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The Military Mural

Our main project for 2012 was the Military Mural, located at 108 E. Concho in downtown San Angelo. Three different themed panels make up the entirety of the Military Mural-Fort Concho, San Angelo Army Air Field, and Goodfellow Air Force Base. We hope you enjoy viewing, reading, and hearing about the military history of our town.

Military Mural: Goodfellow Air Force Base

There was a word or an acronym that pilots used to use to describe this kind of area: CAVU, they called it, or Ceiling And Visibility Unlimited. That's much of the reason Goodfellow Air Force Base is here. With so few mountains and clouds it was a great place to train folks to fly.

The rest of the reason Goodfellow is here has to do with the people of San Angelo and the special relationship they forged with the base. That relationship has been there from the very beginning. When the city, upon discovering the U.S. Military wanted to build a pilot training base in Texas, volunteered to put up the land and utility tie-ins so the base could be built here. That was back in 1940, more than a year and a half before the attack on Pearl Harbor. The history that unfolded over the next seven decades has captured wonderfully in this magnificent mural.

In the center is the image of Lieutenant John Goodfellow for whom the base is named. Lieutenant Goodfellow was a native of San Angelo and a World War I aviator who was killed in action while flying a deep reconnaissance mission behind enemy lines over France in September 1918.

Probably the next image or images to catch your eye are the wonderful, colorful airplanes. These were trainers, which makes perfect sense since Goodfellow started out as a pilot training base. On the left, the blue and yellow BT13 was nicknamed "The Vibrator" because of the effect it had on the pilots and the students who flew it. Next is the stunningly yellow T6 Texan, painted that way to make it easy to see and avoid. And there was the training version of the B-25 Medium Bomber used in the multi-engine training program at Goodfellow and the last trainer to be used at the base. That was because pilot training at Goodfellow came to an end in September 1958 when the base converted to an intelligence training-or as they say today, ISR training-"Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance."

The mural is rich in images relating to the ISR mission. At the bottom of the mural, left of center, three images feature cryptological linguistic training, which used to be called "imagery training" and "general intelligence training." And then on the right side is the image of antennas and four linguist students seated at consoles. Notice their uniforms-Marine, Army, Air Force, Navy. That's because Goodfellow provides ISR training for all the services.

Now look at the picture beneath the linguists. The aircraft is engulfed in flames, but it's not on fire, and it's not an accident. It's part of Goodfellow's fire training mission using clean propane to train firefighters once again for all the services.

Below the image of Lieutenant Goodfellow are six emblems, each representing a different period in the history of the base. The current emblem-the yellow shield on the right-belongs to the Seventeenth Training Wing, the host unit of the base since 1993. The Seventeenth has a long and storied history that includes the famous Doolittle raid of World War II, night-time interdiction missions in Korea, B-52 missions over Vietnam, and the U2 reconnaissance missions as part of Desert Storm.

Finally, at the bottom of the mural towards the center, are the images of Pave Paws and A.I.C. Elizabeth Jacobson. Pave Paws was a radar site near Eldorado, Texas, that watched for submarines and their launch ballistic missiles coming in from the Gulf. Goodfellow provided logistic support for the radar site until it closed in the mid-1990s. Airman Jacobson, as the mural explains, was a Security Forces member of the Goodfellow team killed in action in Iraq in 2005. The main entrance of the base has been named in her honor.

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