Located on 1,135 acres near the west Texas community of San Angelo, Goodfellow Air Force Base trained thousands of cryptologists since 1966. First called Navy Communication Training Center (NCTC) Detachment Goodfellow, the command was renamed in 1973 to Naval Technical Training Center (NTTC) Detachment, Goodfellow. In 2016, the name again changed to the Center Information Warfare Training (CIWT) Detachment, Goodfellow.
Like most military installations Goodfellow has a chapel. The name is Taylor Chapel. But who was Taylor?
Taylor was an American Hero, a man with incredible faith that saved thousands of lives, a survivor of the Bataan death march that endured 14 weeks of torture and the recipient of the Silver Star.
In September 1940, Taylor entered the military as a chaplain, and when the U.S. entered World War II 14 months later, he was transferred to the front lines on the Bataan Peninsula.
When U.S. forces were forced to surrender, Taylor was one of tens of thousands of American soldiers forced to march miles through intense heat (and through harsh treatment by Japanese guards) in what has become known as the Bataan Death March. Following the march, Taylor (and countless others) were imprisoned for 3.5 years in Japanese prison camps; during this time, he served as the prison camp’s unofficial chaplain, ministering to more than 10,000 patients — continually encouraging and inspiring them, and even smuggling in medical supplies, an offense punishable by death.
Thanks to Taylor, the death rate among patients drastically declined. But his plan was discovered, and he faced severe torture and punishment, including being placed for 14 weeks inside a 4-foot by 4-foot hot box made of tin and bamboo shafts where he was unable to lay down or stand up. It’s said that once he came out, he used it as an opportunity to rekindle the spirits of fellow prisoners, saying, “If you could turn me inside out and look at my heart, you would see a man who still believes in the power of God. I’m going to live, and you are too, because God is going to give us strength.”
Finally freed in 1945, Taylor returned to work in the U.S. as an Army Air Force chaplain. In 1962, he was promoted to major general and named Air Force chief of chaplains. As the senior chaplain for the entire U.S. Air Force, Taylor was the top advisor on religious issues to the Air Force chief of staff. He retired in 1966, and passed away in 1997 at age 87.
For his bravery in action during the Battle of Bataan, Taylor was awarded the Silver Star. On Goodfellow Air Force Base in San Angelo, the Taylor Chapel is named after him in honor and remembrance of his legacy.
14 March 2022 at 15:45
Thank you, Mario. I had never heard of this bit of history in all my years of active duty. I knew we had ckts
with Goodfellow when I was at NSA TCOM in early ’60s as well as Kelly AFB and others but had not heard
of this. Thank you again!
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16 March 2022 at 00:38
That’s an interesting article Mario. Nice work.
I continue to wonder why references to Goodfellow always state that U.S. Navy training began there in 1966. Not so! My closest friend from A school in Pensacola, Ron Spencer and I boarded a flight out of Pensacola on March 7, 1962. We had a layover in New Orleans and went in to town by taxi for a few hours before getting back to the airport to continue our journey. Upon arrival at Goodfellow we were both surprised to discover that we would be quartered in a brick “dorm” rather than the barracks accommodations we had been used to since boot camp. Ron and I shared a room there and enjoyed some very good food because that mess hall had won the coveted “Hennessey Award” for the best food in the Air Force for the past two years. I got myself a great looking “Sunday Go To Meetin” western (read Cowboy) hat at M. E. Leddy & Sons’s Hatters in San Angelo which I treasured for many decades before it finally disintegrated. The Navy contingent were known as the “skunk platoon” because, at monthly inspections, the Air Force troops wore dress blues but we wore whites. Of course our formation was in the middle between all those blue uniforms on either side of us. I believe we all did very well in class as some of the material was a repeat of material we had been trained on in Pensacola while the new material did not seem especially difficult. At the end we were given the opportunity to “sharpen our Morse skills”. That was an evening/after class session where an Air Force Sergeant played tapes at various speeds up to 20 WPM. Obviously we had all been down that road before and were not particularly challenged.
My point with all of this is that U.S. Navy CT (T Branch) training at Goodfellow AFB began well before 1966. In our case, 1962, and we certainly were not the first. Where does the 1966 date come from? Perhaps there is some sort of a naming issue with the title of the local command there at Goodfellow or maybe records no longer exist for the earlier period? I’m in Florida at the moment but upon return up North this Summer I will look to see if I still have a copy of my orders to Goodfellow. If I do I’m sure the command name will be shown.
I’ll always remember those months. Ron and I introduced ourselves to Pearl Beer and Texas malt liquor. He played the guitar and after a brew or two we sang the words to that Good Old Mountain Dew from time to time. Our reward/punishment was a one year tour in Adak which also had its good points.
Thanks for the good work Mario and keep those articles coming please.
CTT-2 Cal Fuhrman
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