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After Nearly 80 Years, A World War II Veteran Returns Home - KOAM TV 7

After Nearly 80 Years, A World War II Veteran Returns Home

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Joplin, MO -

     A World War II Veteran from Diamond, Missouri is finally returning home after almost 80 years.
     Clifford Goodwin was on board the USS Oklahoma at Pearl Harbor when it was struck by Japanese torpedoes on December 7th, 1941.
     Thanks to improvements in forensic technologies...his remains were recently identified and returned to Joplin, tonight.
76 years, 5 months, and 4 days ago... 
President Franklin Roosevelt: "December 7th, 1941, a date which will live in infamy."
Seaman First Class Clifford George Goodwin was on board the USS Oklahoma, when it was hit by Japanese torpedoes.
Mary Louise Putnam was only 7 when her uncle was serving, her other uncle, Dan, was assigned to the USS Oklahoma as well, but was off ship during the attack.
He heard the explosions, and went looking for his brother.
Mary Putnam, Goodwin's niece: "The ship had already capsized, so, he was devastated of course, and started looking for him, he thought maybe he got out, like some of them did, they were swimming, and they were able to get out, and he didn't..."
Putnam is Goodwin's oldest living relative, and she doesn't remember a lot about her uncle...
Putnam: "I know we always had a lot of pictures and mother kept that picture in a big 8x10 frame on the wall."
Patriot Guard Captain Michael Smith led Goodwin's body back to Joplin.
Michael Smith, Patriot Guard Captain: "His generation is something that we don't get that many opportunities anymore, so just being asked to be here is an honor for us, our whole mission is just to provide support for the family."
Reverend Phil McClendon, a more distant family member, will be officiating at the funeral on Saturday.
He's already prepared to help welcome Goodwin back home.
Rev. Phil McClendon: "God brings us home...and he said, 'In my Father's house there are many mansions, and if it were not so I would have told you...but I go and prepare a place for you, that where I am, there you may be also."
     Tomorrow's service begins at 11:00am at the First Baptist Church in Diamond.
 

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Chris Warner
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A Joplin native, Chris first started in broadcasting at age 16 at KSNF-TV in 2004..

Chris joined the KOAM team in 2017 as an Associate Producer. In April, he moved into a full-time reporter position. He spent time from 2008 to 2016 in various retail roles around the region before returning to his passion at KOAM. Chris is excited to continue telling the stories of the four states. Chris and his wife Amber live in Joplin and have three amazing children.

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