Clifford Goodwin of southwest Missouri’s Diamond was on the USS Oklahoma when it was attacked on December 7, 1941. The 24-year-old Missouri sailor was one of more than 2,400 killed in action during Japan’s surprise attack on the U.S. naval base of Pearl Harbor. The strike, which also included 1,100 injured soldiers, marked America’s entry into World War II.
Goodwin enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1940 and reported for duty on the USS Oklahoma a few months later. He chose the ship at the invitation of his brother, Dan Goodwin, and was granted his choice.
Goodwin’s niece, Mary Putnam of Joplin, tells Missourinet that Dan lived about one mile from the base. At the time of the attack, Dan was at home with his wife. When they heard the air strikes, Dan headed to the USS Oklahoma to find it had capsized.
From December 1941 to June 1944, Navy personnel recovered the remains of the deceased crew. Goodwin’s remains were buried in a casket with other unknown sailors’ remains in a national cemetery in Hawaii.
The remains of Goodwin were recently identified through DNA. Kim Woodard, co-owner of Mason-Woodard Mortuary, tells Missourinet affiliate KZRG in Joplin the family will get some closure when Goodwin is laid to rest on Saturday.
“They are just elated to be able to be bringing him home. It’s very important,” she says. “There will be over 60 surviving family members in attendance and they’re coming from all over the United States.”
Putnam says family from overseas will also be attending the service.
She says Goodwin’s remains will be flying into the Tulsa International Airport on Friday afternoon. The Patriot Guard Riders of Oklahoma will lead a hearse carrying Goodwin’s remains from the airport to the mortuary in Joplin.
The funeral service will be at 11 a.m. at the First Baptist Church in Diamond. Goodwin’s funeral will include full military honors.
Joe Lancello of Missourinet affiliate KZRG in Joplin contributed to this story
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