By Joachim Jacob, Warthog News Editor
To get maximum attention for the associated three historic pictures I decided to post this 23rd Wing Public Affairs feature with a headline created by me.
Just hanging out - A young U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. William Godwin poses next to an A-10 Thunderbolt in early 1991 during a deployment to Saudi Arabia. Godwin deployed with the 76th Tactical Fighter Squadron in support of Operation Desert Storm. He joined the military in 1989 loading munitions for A-10 Thunderbolts but now works with HH-60G Pave Hawks with the 41st Rescue Squadron at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. (Courtesy photo) Hi-res
Note: Pictured is A-10A 80-0164 from the 76th Tactical Fighter Squadron (TFS) Vanguards, 23rd Tactical Fighter Wing (TFW), England AFB, Louisiana (Tailcode EL), deployed to King Fahd International Airport, Saudi Arabia. AGM-65 Maverick on station 9, Cluster Bombs (CBU's) on stations 8 and 7).
The good ole days - A young U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. William Godwin poses for a photo next to an A-10 Thunderbolt in early 1991 during a deployment to Saudi Arabia. At the time, Godwin was stationed at England Air Force Base, La., which was home to the Flying Tigers from 1972 to 1992. Godwin has since been stationed to two other Flying Tiger bases: Pope Air Force Base, S.C, and Moody Air Force Base, Ga. (Courtesy photo) Hi-res
Look what I got - A young U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. William Godwin holds up party-mix rounds in early 1991 during a deployment to Saudi Arabia. During the deployment, Godwin served as a load crew member for A-10 Thunderbolts that destroyed scud missiles near the coast of Israel. (Courtesy photo) Hi-res
Following the Flying Tigers
by Airman 1st Class Nicholas Benroth
23rd Wing Public Affairs
U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. William Godwin, 41st Rescue Squadron acting first sergeant, has close ties with Flying Tiger heritage. During his 20-year career, Godwin has deployed numerous times with the 74th, 75th and 76th Fighter Squadrons to support operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. He began his career at England Air Force Base, La., where he served as a load crew member for A-10 Thunderbolts and is now at Moody Air Force Base, Ga., working with HH-60G Pave Hawks. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jamal D. Sutter) Hi-res
11/2/2011 - MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- The Flying Tigers have a long and historic tale beginning with the days of Lt. Gen. Claire Chennault in China and this legendary unit now rests at Moody under the 23rd Wing.
Over the past 20 years, Master Sgt. William Godwin has followed the Flying Tigers as they moved from base to base and deployed countless times in support of missions all across the world.
"My first love was the A-10 so being with them for half my career has been a real treat," said the 41st Rescue Squadron acting first sergeant. "I have stuck with the Flying Tigers over the years and now I'm back with them at their third base since I have joined the military."
Godwin joined the military in 1989 as a load crew member. Even as a young boy, he grew up with a love for the A-10. Whether it was fate or just luck as he began his technical training he didn't realize the aircraft he would load bombs for was the aircraft that filled his childhood dreams.
Godwin's first base was England Air Force Base, La., home of the Flying Tigers from 1972 through 1992. During this time the 74th, 75th and the 76th were all active fighter squadrons and shortly after Godwin had arrived there, he deployed with the 76th Tactical Fighter Squadron in support of operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.
After he returned from his deployment, the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission closed England and he was transferred to Pope Air Force Base, S.C.
"I remember trying to in process at Pope right after the BRAC movement and when they asked who we were with," said Godwin, "we responded '23rd Wing' and they looked at us with a confused look like, 'who is that.'"
Godwin's time there lasted until 1999, during which he went on a few deployments with both the 75th and 74th.
"I have been stationed with Godwin since England, seeing his love for his job and the A-10," said Chief Master Sgt. Norman Callahan, 41st RQS director of operations. "It's great seeing him back with the Flying Tigers once more."
After Godwin left Pope, he spent the next 10 years away from the Flying Tigers before making the decision to become an aerial gunner.
"My father told me that if you love doing what you do, then stick with that," said Godwin. "I really loved the military but I wanted a change of pace so I decided to cross train into something different."
After becoming an aerial gunner Godwin, made his way back to the Flying Tigers, but now is he with the HH-60G Pave Hawks instead of the A-10's.
"Working here at Moody, I see old planes that I once loaded bombs on, which brings back memories," said Godwin. "I have been with the Flying Tigers for a good portion of my career and I have loved every minute of it.
"I really want to reach senior master sergeant before I retire just like my father when he was in the military," said Godwin "If I can't reach that goal, then I will serve my time till I reach 24 years because I love what I do and I would do it for the rest of my life."
A Kuwait Liberation Medal owned by U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. William Godwin, 41st Rescue Squadron acting first sergeant, rests on display Nov. 2, 2011, at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. Godwin received the medal from the Saudi Arabian government for his participation in Operation Desert Storm and the liberation of Kuwait between Jan. 17, 1991, and Feb. 28, 1991. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jamal D. Sutter) Hi-res