Brothers In Arms: Part II

Siblings Richard, Robert Good Recall WWII Service And The Return Home

Posted: May 17, 2013

Though they experienced the conflict miles apart, brothers Robert (right) and Richard Good say the memories of World War II will never leave them. (Photo by Courtesy Photo)
Robert Good holds his honorable discharge papers from the United States Marine Corps, a flight jacket name tag and a picture of himself in uniform following boot camp. (Photo by Michael Reilly / DN-R)
Editor’s Note: This is a continuation of the story that began last week, part of an occasional series that honors the service of local veterans.
 
After liberating the concentration camp, Richard Good’s unit started out for Italy. Half way up the Alps, the war with Germany ended. After fighting for two years, he was finally going home to his wife.
 
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A few months later, two atomic bombs ended the war with Japan.
 
While flying high-ranking officials to Tokyo, Robert passed over Hiroshima and Nagasaki, seeing the nuclear devastation firsthand.
 
“It looked like somebody just took a rake and raked over block after block. The whole area; just clean as a whistle ... no buildings or anything. It was really startling.”
 
Robert’s war was over after 18 months.
 
But he got one last scare while island-hopping back home to the states. While in flight, the co-pilot fell asleep on the controls, sending the plane into a nose dive.
 
“It took three of us pulling back on the controls to get the plane straight,” he recalled. “I don’t how close we were to the water, but it surely woke us up.”
 
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After the war, Robert landed in Hinton, where his parents lived.
 
He attended Shenandoah University on the GI Bill, where he met his wife of 63 years, Ann; she passed away earlier this year.
 
He attended Marshall University and graduated in 1950 with a bachelor in business degree and a minor in accounting and economics.
 
Soon after, he landed a job with pharmaceutical company Merck & Co., where he retired 30 years later. He served on the board of supervisors in Page County from 1988-2002 and on the school board from 1956-76.
 
“Being a Marine is one of the best things I ever did because of the training, development and responsibility of being mature,” Robert said.
 
“I think everybody should get in the service. It does them a lot of good. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”
 
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Richard also came back to Hinton, but it was hard for him to find a job.
 
He moved to Richmond were he found employment painting cars for five years.
 
Then, a colonel who got his wheels balanced at the shop, offered him work. He then moved back to Colonial Heights where he retired after 30 years.
 
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Both brothers survived World War II and reunited after not seeing each other for more than three years.
 
Recently, the 87-year-old veterans reunited again for the first time since their sister passed away in 2007.
 
They shared old pictures and talked about the war. Richard still proudly holds onto a picture of Robert in “the islands” with one of the local women, as well as a photo of his jeep in front of a castle in Luxemburg during the Battle of the Bulge.
 
He still has a $25 war bond he earned for the highest rifle score in the battalion during basic training at Fort McClellan.
 
Before she passed last year, Richard’s wife of more than 60 years stayed by his side through thick and thin. “I tell ya, she was a good wife, wasn’t nothing bad about her,”   he said.
 
“I was the worst, I reckon. When I first got out the Army, I got on the whiskey and I didn’t want to get off of it for about 10 years. I saw the light, I guess, and got off it and haven’t had a drink of beer or whiskey since.”
 
Richard said he came back from WWII a different man.
 
“I wouldn’t want to go through a war for nothing,” he said. “It’s something you will never forget ... you never forget what you saw.
 
“It’s something, if you were in it, you will never ever forget it. It’s something you live with for the rest of your life.”
 

Contact Timothy Schumacher at (540) 574-6265 or tschumacher@dnronline.com.