Kenneth L. Godwin: Another ate up obit

| November 3, 2012

Old Trooper sends us a link that he says “smells funny” and I have to agree. First there’s this picture of Kenneth L. Godwin, who died last week at the age of 65;

He’s wearing a Combat Action Badge which is authorized for service after September 18, 2001. If he’s 65, he’s probably too old to have earned one. The obituary reads;

65, of Lincoln, passed away on Wednesday, October 31, 2012 at BryanLGH Medical Center East. Ken was born on July 28, 1947 in Charleston, South Carolina to Rev. Dr. William and Juanita Godwin. Ken retired from the Army after twenty years active duty and 10 years attached service. Detached to Special Forces, 101st Screaming Eagles-Rangers, serving in Vietnam and other posting throughout the world. A decorated veteran was awarded the National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, two Silver Stars and four Bronze Stars, Army Achievement Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Expert Marksman Medal, Overseas Service Ribbon.

OK. I don’t know what “10 years attached service” means, unless it’s reserve service and whoever wrote the obit doesn’t know what they’re talking about. And that “Detached to Special Forces, 101st Screaming Eagles-Rangers” sounds more like an Eddie Murphy routine than it does an actual military career. Again that might be the fault of whoever wrote the obituary, but that CAB was on his uniform, along with air crew wings, while he was still alive.

Category: Phony soldiers

Comments (47)

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  1. Green Thumb says:

    I like what appears to be the gray PT shirt under the Class B shirt.

    Field Grade Officer, no less, with a goatee and no MSM.


  2. Guy says:

    yeah something stinks

  3. OWB says:

    That is indeed more than a little strange. But, as has already been opined, few of us write our own obit, and it is not at all unusual for family members to have no clue about awards. It would be nice to know something about the pic – it could be anything from some security service somewhere to who knows what.

    Yes, there are a whole lot of questions here.

  4. CC Senor says:

    Like Green Thumb said, the excess facial hair seems a tad odd. And that looks like a stray lock sticking out behind the guy’s right earlobe. Never served with any field grade officers that needed both a shave and a haircut.

  5. Poetrooper says:

    Many humans go to their graves after living some secret lie but how totally sad it is that some go willingly to their graves maintaining even after their deaths such despicable dishonesty. And you’re right, OWB, most family members are like the media, they haven’t a clue about military service, units or awards, especially the latter. To them an oak leaf cluster is a bronze star. For that very reason, I have written my own obituary and it contains no mention of any stars, silver, bronze or otherwise, just a pair of silver jump wings and a Combat Infantry Badge.

  6. Hondo says:

    Looks like it’s FOIA time.

  7. 2-17 Air Cav says:

    Makin’ Bacon Pancakes!

  8. @8

    Hey, “2-17 AIR CAV” – – – ,

    Your name has me wondering – – – when and where?

    When I was at Camp Eagle, Republic of Viet Nam, “D” Troop of the 2d Squadron, 17th Cavalry was the “Blues”, the Quick Reaction Force for the 101st Airborne Division.

    I was there from July 1970 until – – – , gosh, gee whillikers, I don’t know when I left, but I reckon I was at Camp Eagle for a good year and a half before they sent me to Da Nang.

    I was in the 501st Signal Battalion, and in between my unit and your unit were the Long Range Reconnaissance Patrols of “L” Company, 75th Infantry Regiment (Airborne Ranger).

    The Cav and the Rangers were VERY competitive, and would fight with each other every chance they had, with us Signal guys usually being caught right in the middle!

    So, were you there at the same time I was?

  9. I’ve found that many times a family member will try and write the history of a dead family member who was in the service….and they don’t know anything about what they’re trying to write about. We had a WWII vet friend die and the first obit said “…served in Japan during WWII.”
    Well, most of us know that’s not possible…but he did serve in the Navy during WWII and in Japan after WWII.
    I think it is possible for somebody who’s 65 today to have served in Iraq or Afgan, and to have earned a CAB…but we all know they were not issued in Viet Nam…

    The world is full of assclowns and retards.

  10. LostBoys says:

    When I was a newspaper editor, I always read the obits of vets before we printed them. Usually, the obits were written by the funeral home based on what the family told them. A guy with three awards of the sea service ribbon (ribbon, plus two stars) would get translated into ‘two Bronze Stars.’
    Not saying this guy is legit, just saying obits are notoriously inaccurate.

  11. LebbenB says:

    @11. A career military professional will have a DD214, award certificates, and other memorabilia that would give some inkling to a surviving family member on what the decedant did during his/her career as well as awards and decorations. Basing an obit on wild stories told at family reunions is specious at best.

  12. Anonymous says:

    @12 Obits get way less scrutiny than straight news stories and consider how many of those we’ve seen that were mostly bullshit. I agree with Roller Dude; I think in most cases its befuddled bereaved. That being said, a lot of phonies have been outed post mortem.

  13. 2-17 Air Cav says:

    @9. Just saw your comment. No, I was HHT and after you. I went to your website to send you an email to fill you in but I saw no contact link. Here’s a disposable email acct of mine. Send me a hello and I’ll write you back. If you remember it, use the 2/17 D troop motto so I know it’s you.

  14. 2-17 Air Cav says:

    Yipes. The disposable email acct is

  15. @15

    I just e-mailed you – – – twice.

    The first e-mail was messed up, so I fixed it and resent it.

    I don’t know the 2/17 Cav’s motto because I was in the 501st Signal Battalion.

    Many years later, I transferred into the Cav at Ft. Hood, and our motto was, “Garry Owen”.

    I look forward to hearing from you.

  16. Hondo says:

    FOIA away. Let’s hope the obit was accurate on DOB and POB.

  17. Green Thumb says:

    Is that subdued, painted over or a shadow from the photo on the scarab badges?

    Shirt is not pressed either.

    Ate up.

  18. FOMSG says:

    My Gawd! This guy was with the Special Forces, 101st Screaming Eagles-Rangers?

    They are almost as bad-ass as the Navy Top-Gun underwater-demo counter-terrorism Team Six SEAL-Pilots!

  19. SFC Holland says:

    hmm. Beret with Blue flash came out in what, 2002-2003, from Gen Shinseki, right? CAB a year or two later? Born in 47, so came in at what, 1967? would have to be in the Army at 2000+ to rate that shitty beret and CAB? which is 30+ years service? Says he served in Vietnam, so he had to be in before 1972-75 right? screaming eagle-rangers are almost as rare as mountain rangers or all-american-rangers. I just never heard of them referred to as that. guess I learned something new today.

    Math tells me there are some glaring mistakes here. Have a good one folks.

  20. DLM says:

    He could have earned a CAB but given his obit, I doubt any of it is true. We had a guy on our team in Afghanistan that had a CIB from Vietnam and then earned a CAB in Afghanistan. He was 58 when we went overseas.

  21. Twist says:

    I know it is possible to have a CAB at that age. In 2002 we had a Major come talk to us at Campbell who had earned the MOH in Vietnam and had been called back to duty after 9/11.

  22. A few years ago, when I went to the Pentagon for a US Army Birthday celebration, I met the Army’s OLDEST soldier (at that time).

    I don’t remember his name, but he was very impressive, physically fit, with closely cropped white hair, dressed in camouflage fatigues, displaying all sorts of badges and tabs (paratrooper, ranger, et cetera), the guy was SEVENTY (70) years old!

    I invited him to come visit the Ol’ Soldiers’ Home, but I never saw him after that.

    Like I said, this was an official occasion at the Pentagon, so it was definitely for real.

    By the way, if any of you guys are in Washington, D.C., please do go visit the guys and gals living in the Ol’ Soldiers’ Home, which you contributed to with monthly deductions from your Army pay, and with whatever fines and forfeitures may have been imposed by military justice.

  23. rb325th says:

    Mandatory retirement age comes into play, but there was a National Guardsman on Duty in Afghanistan this past year who was a Vietnam Veteran.
    When did they authorize the awarding of the CAB??
    It is entirely possible for a Vietnam Veteran to have served in the current War, there have been a few of them.

    The wording of the Obituary though leads to a lot more questions. I should write mine now before someone who doesn’t really get it writes it for me and f’s it all to hell.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for posting this. I happen to be the daughter of the man in the obit. I have not seen or spoken to the man in nearly 10 years but I do know his history. It is a fact that he was in the Army, and served in Vietnam but that is where the truth ends. He retired from the military as an E-6. When I read the obit, I found it very disheartening to know that he was lying even after death. Thank you for making the truth known.

  25. Jonn Lilyea says:

    Anonymous #25, we’re truly sorry for your loss and we thank you for confirming our suspicions.

  26. Anonymous says:

    anonymous u r very sad that man was honerable loving and caring! he served our country and u guys are dising a man who cannot stand up for himself. how rude and childish can u really be? he was married two years and u never meet the wife, and u didnt even go to your own fathers funeral! so how much did you really know about him. I hope you are all proud of yourselves for talking bad about someone none of you jackass never meet or even know!!

  27. Virtual Insanity says:

    #27 anon,

    English 101. Now.

    Also, we are “dising” what appears to be a liar. It’s unfortunate he died before his lies were discovered.

    If, as #25 says, he was an E-6 vietnam vet, there was no need for the lies.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Sorry spelling on a phone is hard sometimes. He did not write his obit. His death is still one that shouldn’t be dishonored, the man i got the honer to spend time with was a very kind man, i seen several awards that Ken received during his life time in the army he was a career army man if they called he served.

    If #25 hasn’t spoken to her father for ten years how would she know what he earned or what he retired at or his services that he provided for our county while he helped in protecting us and if she was so dishearten to read his obit why didn’t she show up to help with everything instead of talking bad on here because she fells they lied about a man she didn’t want to know

    I would have to agree with the part his death was unfortunate one i wished we would have had more time to get to know this man better so that he could have been honored in the proper way.

  29. Hondo says:

    Anonymous(29): Uh, maybe she knows his military history because she was still living at home with her father at the time he retired from the Army?

    Let’s assume the guy actually served in Vietnam. Godwin turned 18 in 1965. Let’s assume he got drafted or joined after high school, spent 20 years in the Army, didn’t make E7, and then got caught up by the mid-1980s QMP boards or was forced to retire as E6/20 due to RCPs.

    20 years after 1965 was 1985. Godwin would have been 38 in 1985. Most likely, any of his kids would have been born a few years after he was drafted – early 1970s, say. A kid born in 1970 would have still been in high school in 1985.

    I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say I think most 15 year old kids would probably remember their dad retiring from the military. Ditto any kids older than about 6 or 7.

    She also says she hasn’t spoken to him in 10 years. Ten years ago was 2002. That’s quite a while after the mid-1980s.

    Anonymous (25): sorry for your loss. Thanks for confirming the truth here.

  30. Beretverde says:

    I know a “reverend” who passed away March 19, 2011. Portion of his obit reads-
    Tom’s military career spanned from 1963 to 1983 serving in the Army National Guard and the U.S. Army. He proudly served in many units to include U.S. Army Rangers and U.S. Army Special Forces.

    A COMPLETE LIE and Fabrication. Faked everything! The family was duped and the newspaper and funeral home ran it. I ran it by the SF Association who knew about the lie… and since so much time ran by they sat on their hands.

    I guess this is the type of Stolen Valor will be coming more and more common.

    I have seen many bronze service stars are being submitted as Bronze Stars on bios and obits.

  31. Anonymous says:

    Hondo, he just retired from the army two years ago so your thoughts that his daughter still lived at home are a bit off since she has spoken to him for ten years. his daughters mother took off with the kid and left him while she was young kids while they are younger sometimes make up their own truths to make their lives better or to fell better about themselves, so good job you played it the way she wanted it believe what you may as u all will maybe one day you will find yourself trashing and believing in the wrong person. as for his daughter she didnt even bother to show for the funeral and talkes bad about her father so I’m sure it was not much of a loss for her so sad. he was a great an honorable career man who jumped when the army said so as for me I’m proud that I received the honer to know this decorated soldier.

  32. OWB says:

    @ #32: First, you should know that most of us here are willing to cut grieving family and friends some slack when a loved one dies. We also honor all veterans who serve honorably. Period.

    Since you have come here and accused us of things which we have not done (asking questions is trashing someone?), perhaps you can fill in some of the gaps and answer some of the questions we have.

    First, what are the circumstances of the pic which is posted? Is that a US Army uniform and was he still serving when it was taken?

    What unit/s was he attached to and what unit/s was he detached from?

    He was 63 years old when he retired?

    What was his job in the Army?

  33. kp32 says:

    @32- Not to be piling on here, but could you provide us a corrected version of his bio? If he just retired 2 years ago (as you state) with 20 years of active service (as stated in the bio), that leaves quite a bit of broken service to account for (even including the 10 years of “attached” service). It’s not unheard of, but to still achieve the rank of LT Col makes it hard to believe. If he did pull that off, I would think he would be proud enough of the uniform to not wear it with a gotee and wearing an earring.
    Between being in Vietnam and retiring two years ago, he would rate at least two NDSMs.

  34. Twist says:

    Depending on breaks in service he would rate more than two NDSMs. Heck I rate two NDSMs and I was still filling my diaper when Vietnam ended.

  35. Old Trooper says:

    @32: Sorry, but I ain’t buying it. If he retired 2 years ago, then that jacked up uniform picture would not be in keeping with military standards (AR670-1) and as a Field Grade Officer, he would know to never have a picture taken in uniform with facial hair and a gray t-shirt under his uniform shirt.

  36. kp32 says:

    @34 continued- He would also know that a gray t-shirt is not part of the uniform.

  37. NHSparky says:

    Twist–most he could have in theory is 3, but it is possible.

    Not likely, but possible.

  38. kp32 says:

    @35- I did state at least. He could only have three at most and could have skipped the Desert Storm era and only have two.

  39. Twist says:

    Oh I know Sparky. I’m not trying to sound like I am defending him. I really don’t buy the obit.

  40. Twist says:

    @35, I guess my reading comprehension skills are on the fritz today.

  41. Ret12B40 says:

    IF “LTC” Godwin retired only 2 scant years ago, would he not still be in AKO?


  42. Ret12B40 says:

    I do see a SSG (Ret) from… anyone want to guess??

  43. Anonymous says:

    Let me speak with his wife and get a complete history then i will let you know. Just loosing her husband has been hard on her so i will see what i can get from her. As i do not want to give you the wrong information of exactly what he did. We called him Colonel. I am also search for 2 books that he wrote about his experience in during his military career. As soon as i can get the correct info i will provide it to you guys. As for the picture i am unsure of when or where it was taken.

  44. Hondo says:

    FOIA received. Individual posting in comment 25 above was on target.

    Dates of service were Aug 1967 – Aug 1987, ending with normal 20-year retirement. No military service shown after Aug 1987.

    The indiv retired as SSG/E6. No service as commissioned officer.

    Indiv did serve in Vietnam. Arrived just after TET (Mar 1968), so he may have seen some serious action. However, no assignments to SF, 101st, Ranger units; he was assigned to various signal units in Vietnam (31-series MOS). No decorations for heroism – specifically, no SS or BSM. No personal decorations higher than an ARCOM (no V device). Finished his career from 1974-on in the medical field.

    In this case, a photo was included as part of the FOIA. It certainly looks to be a younger version of the guy pictured above.

    Bottom line: served honorably for 20 years, during war and peace, then retired. Did his duty. No unusual decorations.

    Will send scanned copy of the FOIA to Jonn tomorrow.

  45. 2-17 Air Cav says:

    This is the plug ugliest account I have yet seen. What a mess. I’m glad you posted the FOIA request results, Hondo, and now I hope this soldier rests in peace.