Aviator hands over command to Saint

25 Jun 2001 | Lance Cpl. Paula M. Fitzgerald

The Marines at 2d Marine Expeditionary Brigade will bid adieu to their commanding general in a change of command ceremony scheduled for July 6 at 10 a.m. in front of Julian C. Smith Hall here.

Prior to relocating to Cherry Point, N.C., to serve as the commander of Marine Corps Air Bases Eastern Area/Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, Brig. Gen. Robert M. Flanagan will relinquish command of 2d MEB to Maj. Gen. John F. Goodman, who most recently served as director, Warfighting Development Integration Division, Marine Corps Combat Development Command, Quantico, Va.

Flanagan was commissioned upon graduation from the University of Michigan in 1971.  The St. Clair Shores, Mich., native was ordered to report to Naval Air Training Command, Pensacola, Fla., where he was designated a Naval Aviator in 1972.  In Okinawa, Japan, Flanagan was assigned to 1st Marine Aircraft Wing until 1975.

Three years later, he was selected to attend Amphibious Warfare School, Quantico and upon graduation, was ordered to Marine Helicopter Squadron-1.  Flanagan then attended Marine Corps Command and Staff College in 1983.

In 1987, he assumed command of Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron-169. 

Flanagan also assumed command of Marine Aircraft Group-24 in 1993 and transitioned them to the 1st MAW, Aviation Support Element, Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii when MAG-24 deactivated in 1994. Then he was transferred to the office of Deputy Chief of Staff for Manpower and Reserve Affairs to be the executive assistant to the Deputy Chief of Staff, M&RA.  Later he became director, Personnel Management Division, M&RA.  In 1999, Flanagan became deputy commanding general of II Marine Expeditionary Force and commanding general of 2d MEB.

"I absolutely believe that the MEB will be the tool of choice for commanders in chief of Europe and Southern Command," said Flanagan, of the modern day expeditionary brigade, which traces its roots back the pre World War II era.  "The MEB is a ready and agile force that can deploy quickly and to anywhere in the European or Southern Theaters.  It's a scalable force that can be used as a scale of conflict from humanitarian support to peace support to sustained combat operations.  I think it's very important for troops of 2d MEB to always stay combat ready because the MEB is the tool of choice."

His personal decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, the Air Medal, the Navy and Marine Commendation Medal, and the Presidential Service Badge.

Incoming commander Goodman began his career in 1967 as a member of the Army's Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol team in the Republic of Vietnam.  During his time in Vietnam, Goodman was wounded and earned the Purple Heart.  The Sacramento, Calif., native transferred to inactive Army Reserve status in 1969 and played professional football for the New Orleans Saints before entering the Marine Corps in 1971.

"Playing professional football was very difficult, but it was tremendous fun," Goodman said.  "I believe all of my experiences from high school to playing football definitely set me up to do well in the Marine Corps."   

Goodman was commissioned in 1973 and completed A-4 flight training at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz.  The Arizona State University graduate also attended the U.S. Navy TOPGUN Adversary Course and Marine Corps Command and Staff College.

Some of the other billets Goodman held during his tour in El Toro, Calif., include executive officer of the Marine Attack Fighter Squadron (VMFA)-531 "Grey Ghosts," the assistant group operations officer, Marine Combat Crew Readiness Training Group-10, and the group operations officer, MAG-11.  He assumed command of the "Grey Ghosts" in 1988, which he said was a rewarding experience and a dream come true.  After graduating from the inaugural class of Marine Corps' War College, Goodman took command of MAG-41, Naval Air Station Dallas, Texas. 

In 1997, Goodman assumed the position of director, Strategy, Policy and Plans and later the chief of staff for United States Southern Command.

Goodman looks forward to becoming the commander of 2d MEB, which he feels is the "primary crisis response tool" for II MEF.

Goodman's personal decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit with a gold star, the Bronze Star with Combat V, the Purple Heart, the Meritorious Service Medal with a gold star, the Navy Achievement Medal, the Combat Action Ribbon, and the U.S. Army Good Conduct Medal.