I had the honor of meeting Lt. Robert Goodman at the Rainbow PUSH Coalition’s 30th Anniversary of his release from Syrian Captivity. Lt. Goodman had a busy weekend reuniting with Rev. Jesse Jackson who secured his release. Below is Lt. Goodman’s reflection of the anniversary weekend.
January 4, 2014 was the 30th anniversary of my release from Syrian Captivity. My release after 30 days of captivity under Syrian government control was a result of the efforts and courage of Rev. Jesse Jackson and an assembled group of ministers and community leaders. Their direct appeal to Haffez Al Assad the leader of the Syrian government won my release.
Earlier in the holiday season, I was reminded by friends and colleagues of the 30th anniversary of being shot down on the morning of December 4, 1983. That day was the beginning of my 30 day captivity as a Prisoner of War. The events that dominated the news wire for more than 2 months back then, don’t dominate my thoughts on a day to day basis now! However, the arrival of the 30 year anniversary has spurred renewed media interest in those events, and has encouraged me to reflect on the past event.
During the week leading up to the 4th, I was invited to Chicago by Rev Jackson to celebrate the anniversary with him and the Rainbow PUSH team. 30 years ago, those events transpired very quickly and then very quickly thereafter I returned to my Navy career. In January of this year, I thought going to Chicago would be an opportunity to more fully express my appreciation for Rev. Jesse Jackson’s efforts and to spend time in Chicago. I’ve never had the chance to spend time in Chicago except as an airport transfer on my way to other places, and noted to friends that most people would not plan a long weekend in Chicago on the 3 coldest snow covered days in recent history. I quickly made arrangements to arrive on Friday afternoon and return on Sunday.
The 30th anniversary event with Rev. Jackson consisted of being on the “UpFront with Jesse Jackson Show”, Rainbow PUSH’s “Saturday Morning Forum” show, press conference, “Keep Hope Alive Radio Show” as well as visits to 2 churches.
It was a busy but a wonderful 30th Anniversary Weekend.
[read also: Keep Hope Alive]
[read also: Pilot]
Lt. Robert Goodman was born in San Juan Puerto Rico to Robert O. and Marilyn J. Goodman. His father was an Air Force Officer and pilot who spent most of his career flying KC-135’s. Goodman attended US Naval Academy and graduated with a degree in Operational Analysis. He completed Naval Flight Officer Training in Pensacola Fl, and started his career as an A-6E Intruder Bombardier Navigator (BN). He completed cruises aboard the USS Kennedy, USS Forestal, USS America and USS Roosevelt. He attended the Naval Postgraduate school and received a Masters degree in Applied Technology and Space Systems Operations. He completed his last tour of duty at US Space Command in Colorado Springs and retired in 1995. Since then, he has worked for several companies providing Program management and multifaceted consulting services supporting a wide variety of federal and state government customers.