He’s believed to be the oldest living retired US Air Force general.

Lieutenant General Harry Edgar Goldsworthy (’36 Ed.), a World War II veteran who later worked at the Pentagon, turned 107 in early April.

Black and white photo of retired US Air Force General Harry Edgar Goldsworthy
Harry Edgar Goldsworthy (Courtesy US Air Force)

“It was a wonderful career, and I’ve had a great life,” Goldsworthy told military.com two days before his April 3 birthday. “I’m just looking forward to surviving, I guess.”

Throughout his career, Goldsworthy flew more than 30 different kinds of aircraft. He received the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, and the Air Medal with four oak leaf clusters. And his service took him all over the world⁠—from Spokane to Texas, Virginia, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida, Morocco, Libya, Montana, and more.

Born in Spokane and raised on a farm near Rosalia, Goldsworthy joined the US Army in 1936, serving as a reserve infantryman until the Army Air Corps accepted him for flight training in 1939. He earned his wings a year later and was soon flying submarine-hunting patrols near Puerto Rico and Trinidad. He later flew patrols and combat missions in the South Pacific, where⁠—at the end of July 1945⁠—his B-25 bomber was hit. He and his crew bailed out, landing in the jungle on the island of Luzon in the Philippines.

Goldsworthy returned stateside after World War II and, in 1948, became commander of the 11th Bombardment Group at Carswell Air Force Base in Texas. A year later, he was transferred to the Pentagon. He returned to the Pentagon in two more roles⁠—as director of production and programming for the Air Force’s deputy chief of staff of systems and logistics in 1963, and as the deputy chief of staff for systems and logistics in 1969.

Before his second stint in Washington, DC, he was transferred to the Ballistic Missiles Center of the Air Material Command, commanding the Site Activation Task Force for the first Minuteman Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Wing. After retiring from the US Air Force in 1973, he consulted for Boeing. He celebrated his 107th birthday in Riverside, California, with a motorcycle ride, military tribute, special certificate, and sheet cake.

“All my Air Force buddies are long gone. That’s one of the penalties to living to be 107,” Goldsworthy told military.com, noting he’s humbled knowing he’s among the oldest living former military commanders in the world. “I didn’t aspire to be the oldest.”


On the web

Story about Goldsworthy at military.com (April 2021)

Goldsworthy’s 107th birthday celebration (WDBJ TV)

More about Goldsworthy (Wikipedia) and a list of centenarian military commanders