Veteran of the Year: Goodrum served on USS Bogue

From STAFF REPORTS news@newnan.com Delta retiree James Goodrum of Sharpsburg has an earlier chapter of his life that will be on display today. Goodrum retired in 1982 as the general manager of Delta's propulsion engineering shop at Hartsfield-Jackson Airport. During World War II, Goodrum was stationed aboard a ship that provided vital help for the Allied cause.
Today, Goodrum will be recognized as Veteran of the Year during Veterans Day ceremonies at Veterans Memorial Plaza in the city park at Jackson Street and Temple Avenue. The 11 a.m. ceremony -- and the annual Veteran of the Year program -- is sponsored by American Legion Post 57 of Newnan. This marks the seventh year that the post has honored a local veteran for military service and for being a role model in his contributions to his community, family, church and his fellow man. "In truth, we seek to remind the public that every veteran returns home with special skills and experiences that make them good citizens. When we recognize veterans like Jim Goodrum, we hope that every one of our veterans is proud of Jim and proud of themselves, as they should be," said Post Commander Ronald Freese. Goodrum served on an escort carrier, the USS Bogue, as part of America's anti-submarine force during difficult days in World War II. The Bogue, which was directly responsible for the sinking of 11 German and two Japanese submarines, criss-crossed the stormy Atlantic during 13 patrols. Often called "the secret war," the anti-submarine campaign was vital to the survival of Great Britain and Russia, whose lifelines were the vulnerable and slow moving convoys of merchant ships. The valiant efforts of the Bogue's crewmen also saved the lives of countless American GI's being ferried in troopships to Europe and Africa. The carrier was also used to ferry up to 100 new aircraft to the European theater. When recalling those stormy days and nights on the Atlantic, Goodrum remembers having to use an ice pick in order to free buttons and zippers after duty on watch topside. The Bogue's hull was started in October 1941 as a merchant ship, but Pearl Harbor saw it converted to a small carrier, capable of carrying 20-24 planes used to seek and attack enemy submarines. It was Goodrum's job to maintain those aircraft in good weather and bad. Goodrum reminds people that the small carriers were no joy in any kind of bad weather. "It got scary when the waves broke over the flight deck," he said. After VE Day, which brought the war in Europe to a close, the Bogue was transferred to the Pacific. There the task of the crew was ferrying aircraft. When the Japanese surrendered, the Navy transported many captured aircraft back to the United States on the Bogue. It also served as a troopship, returning GI's from Pacific bases, as a part of Operation Magic Carpet. After discharge from the Navy as a petty officer first class, Goodrum returned to Georgia and his wife, Elsie, whom he married while on leave in 1943. Their family grew to include two sons and a daughter. Jim and Elsie Goodrum now enjoy six grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. He is a member of Turin Baptist Church, where he serves as deacon. A talented woodworker, Goodrum fashioned furniture and fixtures for his church, as well as for family and friends. He is a life member and past commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and a member of the Sons of the American Revolution and Sons of the Confederacy. "His stature in the east Coweta community is evident in the 65 names on his nomination petition," observed American Legion member Dick Stender. At the 11 a.m. ceremonies, the Atkinson Elementary School Chorus of Newnan will perform a musical tribute to America and its veterans. Following the ceremonies, the Coweta Veterans Club will hold their traditional community luncheon. Food will be served from 12:30-3 p.m. "The club extends an invitation to all emergency service personnel and to active duty military and reserve personnel," Stender said. There also will be a Veterans Day concert tonight. The Newnan High School Advanced Symphonic Band and Newnan Voices Mixed Chorus -- along with the Smokey Road Middle School Band -- will present "A Veterans' Celebration" at 7 p.m. in the NHS Auditorium.

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