BOSSIER CITY, La. (KSLA) - The military is something Brigadier General Gerald Goodfellow knows pretty well — because it’s something the New Mexico native has always wanted to be a part of.
“I always had an interest in being in the military," he said. "I’m not sure exactly why. My parents were not in the military. None of my family was but from the time I was little all I ever wanted to do is be in the military.”
Once he finished high school he joined the Air Force ROTC and went to college. In May of 1989 he was commissioned in the Air Force and soon became a weapons systems officer.
“People always say ‘what’s a weapons systems officer?’" he said. "I guess people have seen Top Gun and Goose you know the guy who sat in the back of the airplane he did all the bombing, the firing of the missiles, those kinds of things.”
Over his 30 years in the Air Force Goodfellow has been stationed at a variety of Air Force bases flying tankers to B-1 Bombers.
“You get into that airplane and your busy from the moment you step into it," he said. "You’re getting the systems up and going, you’re doing system checks, you’re taking off, you’re going out and doing your mission, you’re dropping bombs.”
Goodfellow has spent nearly 3,000 hours flying the B-1 Bomber, has dropped 42,000 pounds of bombs in seconds, and currently holds the world record for the fastest nonstop flight around the world with refueling in the B-1.
“I was walking down the hallway one day and guy by the name of Chris Stewart, he’d been ask to write a draft speech for an event that was coming up and so he was looking through the world record books of all the records the B-1 held," he said. "I happen to be walking by his office and he says I got a question for you — what would prevent us from flying around the world?“
The flight took Goodfellow 1 day, 12 hours, 13 minutes and 36 seconds to complete. He was awarded the Mackay Trophy for that flight which currently sits on display at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C.
That flight was named the most meritorious aerial flight of the year.
Goodfellow is also a recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross for heroism in combat, and was also awarded the General Ira C. Eaker Award for the Outstanding Single Feat of Military Airmanship.
After retiring from the Air Force in July, Goodfellow decided to move towards higher education, and was recently named the Executive Director for the Louisiana Tech Research Institute and the Director of Technology Innovation for Louisiana Tech University.
“I still think in this job I can work on issues that are important to the national defense, and so I’m really excited about this opportunity," he said.
One of his biggest goals it to enhance the relationship between Louisiana Tech and Global Strike Command. Goodfellow also wants to develop partnerships where students and professors are aware of Global Strike Command problems and can share how to better help each other.
Goodfellow is interested in bringing additional opportunities to students and faculty, and also wants to support the growth of an entrepreneurial eco-ship in the area.
With so many ideas and goals to accomplish — Goodfellow says he is excited about his future in these new roles.