It is always an honor to serve our veterans, and Life Care Center of Cape Girardeau, Missouri, was recently home to Jack Goggin, a World War II veteran.
Goggin recently shared his memories of the war and his life in general.
“Everyone who knows me calls me Jack,” Goggin said. “My name is Monte Vernon Goggin. They called me ‘Soup’ when I was small because I liked to eat bean soup. My uncle said I couldn’t go through life being called ‘Soup,’ so he started calling me Jack. The name stuck.”
Goggin grew up in Lesterville, Missouri, a very small farming community. He attended school through the eighth grade.
At age 18, Goggin was drafted into the Army and served in World War II for four years.
“I learned a lot in the Army,” Goggin said. “They have a great discipline program. You’ve got to learn your job and take instructions if you’re going to get along in this world.”
Goggin was stationed in the Aleutian Islands, off the coast of Alaska.
“We maintained the B-24s so they could dump bombs in Japan,” Goggin remembered. “Sometimes those planes would have problems with the landing gear or run out of fuel, so they would have to belly land. We never lost a man, but we did lose a few planes. As for the Aleutians, well, nobody liked it there. Twenty-seven months of that, and it was good to come home.”
It wasn’t just the hard work and the cold weather that made Goggin eager to get home – he also had a sweetheart, Nova, waiting for him.
“I came back and got married,” Goggin said. “I knew she was right for me. She wrote me while I was away. She was from Lesterville and she worked like a mule. She could cook and save money. We were married for 64 years. Cancer got my wife. I lost her – that was hard. Still is.”
In addition to getting married when he came back from war, Goggin bought a cattle and grain farm in Lesterville.
“I got put out by the big operators after 25 years,” Goggin shared. “Then I went to work as a laborer. I got into construction and went to work for Ozark Mines as a foreman over a concrete crew.”
The work underground was hard and dangerous.
“There were cave-ins, and three young men were killed during the five years I worked there,” Goggin said. “I got out and went into trucking.”
Goggin drove a truck for many years and retired in 1987. He came to Life Care Center of Cape Girardeau for rehabilitation and nursing care after open-heart surgery.
“Jack worked well in physical therapy,” said Adam Sparks, marketing director. “He gets around with a rollator now and has made quite a few friends here. He is known for his great smile and friendly demeanor.”
Goggin has since moved closer to family.