Segment stub for 94915

Drafted and Deployed to the Philippines

Panay Island and Japanese Surrender

Japanese Troops on Panay Island

Writing His Unit's History

Coming Home


Kenneth Raymond Goodwin graduated high school in 1944. His birthday was 31 August [Annotator's Note: 31 August 1944]. He had to go sign up for the draft. He got the notice in December [Annotator's Note: December 1944] to get sworn in in Portland [Annotator's Note: Portland, Maine]. He was put on a train to Fort Devens, Massachusetts [Annotator's Note: in Ayer and Shirley, Massachusetts]. They were there a couple of days and went south by train. They got to Macon, Georgia and then took buses to Camp Wheeler, Georgia [Annotator's Note: in Macon, Georgia], to the Basic Infantry Training Center. In high school, a teacher told him he would likely go in the service. She told him the recruiters said if the young boys took typing in school, they had a better chance of getting ahead in the service. She wanted him to learn to type. He did not want to because it was all girls in the class. She talked him into it. Those girls were tickled to death to have a boy in the class, and they helped him a lot. When he graduated, the teacher told him to make sure to tell them [Annotator's Note: the service branch he entered] he took typing and was the highest ranking boy in his class. At Fort Devens, they put it in his records. When he saw the sign at Camp Wheeler, he thought the typing did him no good. After training for 12 weeks, he went home and spent a week with his parents. He went to Fort Meade, Maryland [Annotator's Note: Fort George G. Meade in in Anne Arundel County, Maryland]. In basic training, he made a friend from Connecticut who was a year older. The friend had been taking First Aid classes. His name was Fred Furtag [Annotator's Note: phonetic spelling; unable to identify]. They stayed together all during the war. After the war, they were together in Korea. He was like a big brother. He was a big Polish kid and was rugged. They were called out one day and told they were going overseas. They got on buses and went to Washington, D.C. They marched in President Truman's [Annotator's Note: Harry S. Truman, 33rd President of the United States] inaugural parade. They then went to Camp Stoneman, California [Annotator's Note: in Pittsburg, California]. They got shots and went down to San Francisco Harbor [Annotator's Note: San Francisco, California] to a troopship. They were put in the bottom of the hold where it was ungodly hot. The air conditioning system on the ship was not working. It took 23 days to go from San Francisco to the Philippines. It was so hot that they were let on the deck whenever they could. About 90 percent of them were seasick.


Going across the Pacific [Annotator's Note: Pacific Ocean] to the Philippines, Kenneth Raymond Goodwin stopped in Guam [Annotator's Note: Guam, Mariana Islands] and in the Marshall Islands. They got to Panay Island, Philippines [Annotator's Note: 18 March 1945]. The northern Philippines had already been liberated. The 40th Infantry Division had already gone through. There were no harbors at the smaller islands. The troopship was anchored out in deep water. They climbed down to LCIs [Annotator's Note: Landing Craft, Infantry] to go ashore. They were met with trucks and taken to the headquarters of the 40th Infantry Division. Goodwin was assigned to Headquarters Company, to the I and R Platoon [Annotator's Note: I&R Platoon, Headquarters Company, 185th Infantry Regiment, 40th Infantry Division]. It took a month to liberate Panay Island. They left there by LCI to Negros Island [Annotator's Note: part of the Battle of the Visayas, Negros Island, Philippines]. They took three months to liberate that island [Annotator's Note: 29 March to 4 August 1945]. While gone, the engineers on Panay Island cleared three big sections of land to house three regiments of the 40th Infantry Division. Goodwin was in the 185th Infantry Regiment and they were put near the city of Iloilo [Annotator's Note: Iloilo City, Panay Island, Philippines]. They were in tents. The 160th Regiment [Annotator's Note: 160th Infantry Regiment, 40th Infantry Division] was near the mountains. They thought they were there for rest and recuperation, but they were there to prepare for the invasion of Japan. They trained until 13 August 1945. When they were having an inspection by Colonel Echols [Annotator's Note: US Army Lieutenant Colonel Chandler B. Echols], someone said this meant they would be invading Japan soon. On 14 August [Annotator's Note: 14 August 1945], they were told to pack their gear and be ready to move out. Over the loudspeaker, they heard that the second atomic bomb [Annotator's Note: nuclear weapon dropped on Nagasaki, Japan, 9 August 1945] had been dropped on Japan, Japan had surrendered, and the war was over. Everybody was cheering and hugging each other. His buddy found him and said [Annotator's Note: Goodwin gets emotional] "we made it Goody." They thought they were going home. A few minutes later, they were told the 40th Infantry was going to stay on Panay Island. They returned to their tents. The next day they were they figured there were about 2,000 Japanese left on the island that had to be in the mountains. They flew over the mountains with Piper Cubs [Annotator's Note: Piper J-3 Cub light observation aircraft] and dropped leaflets that said the war was over. They said no more than 25 should come down and meet the 40th Infantry Division. Then the 160th took over.


Kenneth Raymond Goodwin was the historian for the unit [Annotator's Note: Goodwin was a member of the I&R Platoon, Headquarters Company, 185th Infantry Regiment, 40th Infantry Division] now. There were about 12 of them in a tent together from the 185th Infantry. Their colonel [Annotator's Note: US Army Lieutenant Colonel Chandler B. Echols] was there. They went into the area by the mountains where the 106th [Annotator's Note: 160th Infantry Regiment, 40th Infantry Division] was stationed. On 16 August [Annotator's Note: 16 August 1945], Japan surrendered. On 28 August [Annotator's Note: 28 August 1945], 25 Japanese came onto the airstrip waving white flags. The leader was told to take five of his healthiest men back into the mountains. The walk from the mountains to the airstrip was 17 miles. He was to tell his men to surrender. They gave them cigarettes and candy bars to take back. The 160th had made a stockade where the other Japanese were put. Three days later 1,754 Japanese troops came down out of the mountains. About half of them had been wounded. Some were so weak they were being carried piggyback. Some had crutches made from tree limbs and some were on stretchers. One of Goodwin's buddies spoke Japanese and was used as an interpreter. Two Japanese medics came with a wounded soldier on a stretcher. They laid him down in front of Goodwin. Goodwin was so happy that the war was over and was thinking his parents must be happy [Annotator's Note: Goodwin gets emotional] but he thought of the Japanese soldier's parents. The soldier acted like he was scared to death and kept looking at Goodwin's canteen. Goodwin did not know if he should give him water or not due to his wounds. An older guy said to let him die. That made Goodwin mad, so he gave him water. Two medics came to put him in an ambulance. As he got next to Goodwin, he put his hand up to stop and then put his hand inside of his shirt. He pulled out a flag he had in his pocket and put it in Goodwin's hand. He squeezed and said something in Japanese [Annotator's Note: Goodwin gets emotional]. They put him in the ambulance and Goodwin never saw him again. [Annotator's Note: Goodwin has the flag and unfolds it for the interviewer.] Goodwin asked the interpreter what the soldier said to him. He said, "you are my friend now." A few months before that, they were trying to kill each other and now they were friends because Goodwin gave him a drink of water. Goodwin took the flag back to his tent that night and had all of his buddies sign their names on it. [Annotator's Note: Goodwin shows the interviewer the names. He is crying while doing it.] His buddy wrote their names in Japanese for him, as well as the names of the places they had been. [Annotator's Note: The interviewer asks Goodwin when he left the service, and Goodwin tells him he wants to finish the story.] The next morning, they were having breakfast. A lot of the officers from the 160th Regiment were there. One officer came and told Goodwin they had been talking about him. One of Goodwin's lieutenants had told them what he had done. The lieutenant told him he was proud of him. He had not only showed the Japanese prisoners, but his fellow buddies, what an American soldier is like. His lieutenant had also told him he was only an 18 year old kid with 18 weeks of training when he got there but now, he was an 18 year old man. Goodwin's lieutenant asked him if he knew what day it was. Goodwin said he did not. His lieutenant told him it was 31 August [Annotator's Note: 31 August 1945], which was Goodwin's 19th birthday. He was told his outfit had selected him to stand with the Honor Guard when the Japanese commander officially surrendered on the airstrip on 2 September [Annotator's Note: 2 September 1945]. That was the end of the war for them, even though it was after the official end of the war on 16 August [Annotator's Note: 16 August 1945].


Kenneth Raymond Goodwin was a Private First Class [Annotator's Note: while serving with the I&R Platoon, Headquarters Company, 185th Infantry Regiment, 40th Infantry Division]. His duty was all done with the Japanese. The 160th [Annotator's Note: 160th Infantry Regiment, 40th Infantry Division] took care of the prisoners [Annotator's Note: on Panay Island, Philippines]. Goodwin and his group went back to join the 185th. About 7 September [Annotator's Note: 7 September 1945] they were told they were going to Korea for occupation duty. The people of Iloilo [Annotator's Note: Iloilo City, Panay Island, Philippines] got word they were moving out. They got together and dedicated a park in the center of the city that they named Sunburst Park. The 40th Infantry was called the Sunburst Division. All of the members of the 185th Infantry Regiment's names are on a plaque there. Goodwin met a man who had been to the park lately and said it was a nice park now. They went to Korea [Annotator's Note: Pusan, Korea] and Goodwin was still working as a historian. He was told Colonel Echols [Annotator's Note: US Army Lieutenant Colonel Chandler B. Echols] wanted to see him and to put clean clothes on. He was taken up in a jeep. A sergeant was sitting there. Goodwin went in to see the Colonel who told him to pull up a chair. The Colonel had been notified that the 40th Infantry Division was going home. Goodwin had to stay another year for occupation duty. The Colonel said he needed a historian to make a history. He told Goodwin he was to make the history of the 185th Infantry Regiment with him. Goodwin had to get the names and ranks of each man who was killed, wounded, or received a decoration. The Colonel was going to be writing the story about every island they had been on in the war. Goodwin was going to have type it all up. It took him two months, typing seven days a week. Goodwin had to cut a stencil for each page of the history book. Other people made the book. The original one that was typed was sent back to Headquarters Company. Goodwin received one of the copies that did not come out too plainly. He gave it to the Marshwood Middle School [Annotator's Note: in Eliot, Maine] to put in their museum [Annotator's Note: Marshwood Middle School World War II Museum]. When they gave him his medals, something got mixed up. He got a World War 2 Victory Medal [Annotator's Note: World War II Victory Medal] when he left Korea, but he got another one when he got home. He gave one of them to the school as well as picture of himself with his rifle.


Kenneth Raymond Goodwin finished his part of the history [Annotator's Note: of 185th Infantry Regiment, 40th Infantry Division]. Colonel Echols [Annotator's Note: US Army Lieutenant Colonel Chandler B. Echols] called him into his office and said he had good news. He had gotten a telephone call from the Adjutant General of the Korea Base Command who wanted to know if there was a young soldier who could fill a vacancy. The Colonel told him yes. Goodwin had been promoted to Corporal for doing the history of the 185th Infantry. Colonel Owens [Annotator's Note: unable to identify] said to transfer him right away. Goodwin wanted to stay around until the 40th Infantry left but got transferred right away. He was taken to Korea Base Command [Annotator's Note: in Pusan, Korea]. Goodwin had never had a bed to sleep in and now he had his own room with electric light. He could come and go when he wanted to. He did not have to report to anybody and did not need a pass to go anywhere. He spent the last six months there with Colonel Owens. He left there and received a Letter of Commendation. Goodwin received the Army Commendation Medal [Annotator's Note: presented for sustained acts of heroism or meritorious service]. In September 1946, Goodwin got word he was going home. He left Korea on a troopship, the General Freeman [Annotator's Note: USS General H. B. Freeman (AP-143)] to Seattle, Washington. Then he went to Fort Lewis [Annotator's Note: near Lakewood, Washington] for a few days. He then went by train to Fort Dix, New Jersey [Annotator's Note: now part of Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst near Trenton, New Jersey] where he was separated. He had been gone three years and not had a furlough [Annotator's Note: an authorized absence for a short period of time], so he had two months' time coming to him. He was still in the Army. He got into poison sumac at home and had to go to the Portsmouth Navy Yard to the hospital. He got his discharge in the mail in January 1947. He was called a sergeant but was a T-4 [Annotator's Note: US Army Technician Fourth Grade or T4; equivalent pay grade as a Sergeant; E-5]. Colonel Owens had promoted him and given him the rest of the day off to get his new stripes on his Eisenhower jacket [Annotator's Note: Eisenhower jacket; waist length jacket developed during later stages of World War 2; named after General Eisenhower]. He was told he was going to have his Class-A uniform [Annotator's Note: formal dress uniform] on for the rest of his time there. Owens told him to consider staying with him for three more years. He was sure he would make him a Master Sergeant. Goodwin thanked him but said no. Owens did not blame him. He was the best officer Goodwin ever had and was just like a father to him. He was one of the rest of guys.

All oral histories featured on this site are available to license. The videos will be delivered via mail as Hi Definition video on DVD/DVDs or via file transfer. You may receive the oral history in its entirety but will be free to use only the specific clips that you requested. Please contact the Museum at if you are interested in licensing this content. Please allow up to four weeks for file delivery or delivery of the DVD to your postal address.