The Rotary Club of China Lake's First Club President
 
L.J. "Captain Jack" Goddard
Club President 1951 to 1952


May 10, 1918 to April 26, 2012

Jack was born May 10, 1918 in Marion, Illinois. His mother was Sara Jo Alsbrook, and his father was Jack Hobson Goddard. Jack went to 19 different schools, growing up in Mississippi, Texas, Panama, Philippines, and even China.

Jack graduated as a Navy Ensign from a three month program at Northwestern in Chicago dubbed "90 day wonders" in 1941. He was on the Battleship USS Maryland at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, and was in charge of one of the first gun crews to return fire.  The USS Maryland was parked off Ford Island, during the attack on Pearl Harbor. Goddard was bossing an anti-aircraft battery of four 1.1-inch guns five decks above the main deck.  Goddard was joined by two cooks, a postal clerk, and a laundryman whom he trained to operate the weapons while his own gun crewmen secured ammunition from a locked armory below deck.

Goddard then commanded a convoy of 11 ships from Pearl Harbor to Majuro, in the Marshall Islands. He captained his own vessel in the Pacific, the USS LST (Landing Ship Tank) 225, the flagship of Group 38, during the invasions of Saipan and Tinian. The ship delivered 500 marines and 18 tanks to island beachheads during the Battle of Saipan, and continued to maneuver and receive the wounded for five consecutive days and nights while under fire.  As executive officer of the USS Mercury, a cargo ship commissioned by the Navy for service delivering goods and equipment to ships and stations in the war zone, Goddard was responsible for the successful organization and administration of the first transferring of complete supplies to Task Force 58, the main striking force in the Pacific theatre.

After World War II ended, Jack finished college at Claremont Men's College, now called Claremont McKenna College. He was in the original group of graduating classes there, called the "Pacesetters".  Jack later served as aide to the Commanding Officer at the China Lake Naval Weapons Station, as well as Port Director in Naples, Italy.

After he left the military, he became a businessman, selling life insurance and then starting what he called "PFN" - Personal Financial Navigation". Jack continued his strong ties to CMC, establishing a CMC "4th Friday" for alumni, friends and anyone else who needed help with finding what they wanted to do for a living. Jack had a lifelong love for dogs, and rescued many dogs during his life.  Prior to his death, Jack was married to Millie for 63 years.  They were blessed with five sons, Larry, John, Bill, Dan and Tom, and their families as well as six grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.