Godwin-Midland-ShapiroThe CAF says Goodbye to Godwin

William "Bill" Godwin
October 25, 1925 - December 21, 2014

In December the CAF lost one of it’s founding members, CAF Col Bill Godwin. Godwin was a continuous fixture and important member of the CAF for more than 40 years. Godwin was born in East St. Louis, Ill. in 1925 and like many of our members he was an aviation enthusiast who wanted to be a pilot. While still in high school, he passed the written test for the Navy's aviation pilot training program, but the Navy had more than enough pilots at the time.

webBill Godwin-3Godwin ended up in the military when he was drafted into the infantry on April 7, 1944. He found himself on the ground in combat deep in the mountain jungles of the Pacific Theater instead of flying overhead. 

He was separated from the Army with honors on May 7, 1946. His decorations included Asiatic-Pacific theater ribbon with two bronze stars, Philippine Liberation ribbon with one bronze star, World War II Victory Medal, Good conduct medal bronze star with two overseas bars.


After returning to the States, he married Marian Boschenreither and moved to the Rio Grande Valley of Texas along with his parents. After attempting farming and working for a local utility company as lineman, he joined his Dad, in the sign trade and was a natural, soon mastering the art of sign lettering, murals, billboards and painting.


Bill’s other passion was aviation. His first contact with the Confederate Air Force came with a phone call from CAF founder Col Lloyd Nolen, to paint lettering on a vintage airplane. In 1968 he joined the CAF and from that day forward he was an active member who took great pleasure spending time with fellow Colonels and helping to preserve and fly warbirds. In the CAF’s formative years Bill played an important role in the operations of the organization, from creating signage, to guiding volunteers and founding the first PX. Bill lent his talents to the first restoration of the CAF Airpower Museum Nose Art Panels and to painting the FIFI nose art on the B-29 Superfortress. 

webTennesee-Ernie-Ford-Bill-Godwin-Jack-Webster-Unknown

From left to right Tennessee Ernie Ford, Bill Godwin, Jack Webster and unknown at

CAF AIRSHO in Harlingen, Texas, CAF Headquarters. 

As one of the first leaders of the Headquarters Wing, he helped establish the Wing Staff Conference in Harlingen as a way for the general staff to communicate to the growing number of wings and squadrons across the country. Wing Staff Conference remains an important annual event, bringing units together to exchange ideas and enjoy the camaraderie of fellow members.

Bill Godwin’s experience within the CAF led to the creation of some of the basic operational guidelines that CAF units continue to use today. For his enduring dedication to the Commemorative Air Force, he was inducted into the CAF Hall of Fame in 2012.

Bill’s passions were his family, the CAF and his sign business. He lived his life to its fullest, never regretting or looking back.


Memorial donations can be made to the CAF Rio Grande Valley Wing, P.O. Box 8190, Brownsville, TX 78526

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