Joseph Perry Goodson, Interview by Larry A. Grant, 4 May 2010
Joseph Goodson was born on January 23, 1930, in McBee, South Carolina, and grew up in nearby Darlington. The only son of a widowed mother, enrolled in The Citadel following a campus visit to a friend who was a member of the Corps of Cadets. After graduation (1951), he joined the US Marine Corps with three classmates and was commissioned as a second lieutenant. He completed the Officers' Basic Course at Quantico, VA, and was assigned to an anti-aircraft artillery unit, the 2nd 90mm Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalion at Camp Lejune, NC, in early 1952.
Goodson planned to apply for flight training, but on the recommendation of his commanding officer was assigned to command an artillery battery in Korea. He reflects on his experience in Korea during the time just after the Armistice was signed in 1953. He also discusses his Marine career during the 1950s and a tour in Vietnam in 1968 during the Tet Offensive and the defense of Khe Sahn. Goodson also offers observations on life at The Citadel during the period between WWII and the Korean War and contemplates the impact attending The Citadel had on his life and career. Goodson returned to The Citadel in 1972 and spent the next three years as Commanding Officer of the NROTC Unit. He discusses the question of hazing in some cadet organizations during this period. After his retirement from the Marines in 1975, he stayed on in various administrative positions at The Citadel until 1990. He lives in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina.
Amidst rising border tensions, troops from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea crossed the 38th parallel on June 25, 1950, and nearly drove US and Republic of Korean forces into the sea. Aided by United Nations soldiers, American troops led an amphibious counterattack at the port of Inchon on September 15, 1950, and a breakout from Pusan that swept north over the length of the Korean peninsula and reached the border of the People's Republic of China along the Yalu River in November 1950. Fearing invasion, Chinese forces crossed into North Korea and drove the UN forces south. After hard fighting by both sides, a stalemate developed in late 1951 around the 38th parallel. With military and material support from the US and the USSR, the war continued until July 27, 1953, when the warring parties agreed to an armistice. No permanent peace has ever been negotiated.
Following up on its efforts to record the memories of World War II-era alumni, The Citadel Oral History Program began interviewing Korean War veterans in the spring of 2010. Several thousand Citadel alumni were on active duty during the Korean War, and at least 25 lost their lives in combat. These interviews cover a wide range of Korean-era experiences, including the Inchon landing, naval forces, Chinese intervention, and the eventual stalemate. They are a testament to the sacrifices made by the veterans whose lives and service have often been overshadowed by World War II.
The digital recordings and transcripts are part of The Citadel Oral History Program Collection at The Citadel Archives & Museum.
Interview transcriptions are intended to reflect the words and sounds of the audio recordings as closely as possible. Even the best transcriptions, however, are imperfect representations of the recordings. For a full discussion of The Citadel Oral History Program's transcription guidelines, consult the program's website.