Grandson’s Efforts Lead To Silver Star And Purple Heart For WWI Veteran

If not for grandson Mark Goodman, Pfc. John Barnard Goodman’s 20 descendants would not have been present at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, recently to receive his Silver Star and Purple Heart for remarkable valor and exemplary service during the First World War.

Goodman was drafted into the Signal Corps, and on October 9, 1918, his battalion in the Argonne Forest was gassed.  He not only received the Purple Heart and the World War One Victory Button but was cited three times as a member of the 2nd Field Signal Battalion by the French government with a gold star and two palms.  He was also listed as missing in action for a half-year, Goodson’s research revealed.

Goodman became intrigued with military history after receiving a collection of G.I. Joe figures and vehicles from his parents. His father, William Goodman, a Navy veteran of the Korean War, related his war stories and military experience and those of his grandfather to Mark and his three siblings.

Mark started his research in his youth which has continued for the past 40 years.  He learned his grandfather’s name was listed in the World War I General Orders for the Silver Star.  He followed that up with an inquiry to determine if his grandfather’s awards could be received through the Army at I Corps. They forwarded the facts for review that was followed by the awarding ceremony.

Maj. Gen. Mark Stammer, deputy commanding general of I Corps, during the awarding, said that this day they’re going to correct a lot, referring to the 100-year delay in presenting the medals. “Today, we are going to make it right for the family, and make it right for your grandchildren who can look at the pictures and research in future years,” he added.

The Silver Star is a rare award in all wars and is usually awarded to a recipient only for extraordinary gallantry in combat, The United States Army reported.

John Goodman was honorably discharged on June 18, 1919.  He and his wife, Marie, had four children.  He was the postmaster in Gildford, Montana starting in 1919 and ending 16 years later. He helped the Second World War efforts in Alaska working construction.  Marie worked at Malmstrom Air Force Base as an aircraft mechanic.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE