William Bill Arthur Goodwin USS Arizona

S2c William "Bill" Arthur Goodwin

William Arthur “Bill” Goodwin was born Jan. 6, 1921, in Denver, Colorado. His mother, Charlotte Campbell, contracted tuberculosis, and William and his brother Finley, who was two years older, were placed in Mount St. Vincent orphanage in Denver in 1923. Charlotte died about two years later. Their father, Ernest Goodwin, died of the same disease in about 1927. 

As the two boys entered their teen years, they were moved to J. K. Mullens Home for Boys in Fort Logan, Colorado.  Bill did not like the strict farm life there; he ran away at the age of 16 and bounced among foster families.

Bill’s first real job was with the Civilian Conservations Corps, a Depression-era federal jobs program, from April 1939 through March 1940 in Colorado Springs.

He enlisted in the Navy in Denver on Aug. 12, 1940, following the lead of his brother Finley, who had enlisted on Nov. 15, 1938. Bill had been impressed by Finley’s dark blue uniform when he had stopped in Denver on his way to report to a destroyer in San Diego.  On Aug. 13, 1940, Bill was sent to the US Naval Training Station in San Diego, and on Oct. 14 he reported to the U.S.S. Arizona.

On Dec. 7, 1941, Bill was a seaman second class, assigned to Division 4, and his battle station was turret #4.  All but two men of Division 4 survived the day.  John Harris, who was also assigned to Division 4, was there when the men of Division 4 were mustered on the rear deck after the explosion of the forward magazine.  Mr. Harris has stated that the senior officer present requested a volunteer to go below and flood the rear magazine; Bill Goodwin volunteered for the job.  Bill never returned from this task, and his body has not been identified. 

There is a cenotaph for him at the National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona at Cave Creek. His brother, who changed his name to Joseph Campbell, died in 2006 and is buried there.


Sources: Special thanks to the family of Joseph Campbell for writing this profile and for providing the photograph. Other sources include: Census; Navy muster rolls. This profile was prepared on behalf of the U.S.S. Arizona Mall Memorial at the University of Arizona.