Program to focus on Korea POW Goosby
by W. Winston Skinner
Connie Goosby, the Newnan soldier who until recently seemed to be the near forgotten soldier from the forgotten war, will be remembered at this year’s community Memorial Day program.
Jeff Carroll, commander of the local Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2667, announced plans for the annual ceremony that will be held Monday at 11 a.m. at Veterans Memorial Plaza in the Newnan city park at Jackson Street and Temple Avenue.
“Often referred to as the forgotten war, Korea cost the lives of more that 50,000 Americans during a bloody three-year struggle,” Carroll said.
“Our honor roll contains the names of three of our sons who died in that war. This year we will remember the life of Corporal Connie Goosby,” Carroll said.
For several years, the VFW has “honored all by remembering one” on Memorial Day. Coweta’s other Korean War soldiers who died while serving in that conflict, Robert Shavers and William Crawford, “were the subjects of previous Memorial Day programs,” Carroll noted.
Until just a few weeks ago, the VFW had only a few scant facts about Goosby and his military service. His family has now been located, and a tribute to his life will be the focal point of Monday’s observance at Veterans Memorial Plaza.
The ceremonies will also recognize veterans of the Korean War in attendance and acknowledge their branches of service and duration of their combat tours.
Carroll emphasized the debt owed to these veterans. “America may have forgotten them and what they did, but Coweta County honors them, as it does every soul who fought for freedom and democracy,” he said.
“This is our way of saying thank you for a job, though often thankless, a job well done,” he added.
Goosby enlisted in the Army in 1946, at age 19. He trained at various stateside posts and was transferred, in 1948, to Japan. “He served under Gen. Douglas McArthur in the Allied Occupation Forces, helping Japan in a transition to democracy,” said Dick Stender, who has helped with the annual tributes since they began.
In an era of an Army that was still racially segregated, Goosby – who was African-American – was assigned duties as a light/ heavy vehicle operator.
“In June 1950, the communist regime in North Korea invaded democratic South Korea with overwhelming forces,” Stender said.The army of South Korea and the two divisions of U.S. forces were thrown back to a small perimeter in the southern tip of the Korean peninsula.
“Every available soldier, regardless of job, rank or race, was taken from Japan to fill the ranks in the besieged Pusan Perimeter. Goosby was one of those thrown into the gauntlet,” Stender said.
In September, in a lightening invasion, U.S. and allied forces landed at Inchon. They “rolled up the North Korean army and began an advance into their territory,” Stender said.
Goosby, a member of the 503d Field Artillery, was a part of the advance. Without warning, China threw three full armies at the allied front and caused havoc across the entire allied front.
Goosby was one of several thousand allied soldiers who became prisoners of war of the brutal Chinese Communist Army. He died while a prisoner.
Goosby grew up in Newnan in a home at 90 Savannah St. He had four younger brothers – Charlie, Hugh and Tom – and a sister, Ollie Favors. He graduated from Howard Warner High School and was briefly employed by Marion Smith’s grocery store in Newnan.
“His family were members of Zion Hill Baptist Church” on Pinson Street, Stender said. “The VFW invites Connie’s extended family and friends to attend the ceremony and help remember his short life.”
The traditional community luncheon, following the Memorial Day ceremonies,will commence at 12:30 p.m. at the Coweta Veterans’ Club on U.S. Highway 29 North. The serving line will remain open until 2:30 p.m.
This weekend also included the Buddy Poppy drive, and an effort that was held on Saturday to mark local veterans graves with American flags. There also will be Memorial Day events in Senoia on Monday and a program at 2 p.m. today at the Moreland Mill, sponsored by the Moreland Community Historical Society.