His age is debatable due to the Goodson family bible recording the date of birth as 5 JUNE 1925 with birth certificate of record indicating the date of 5 June 1926. He was born in Tampa, Florida to Oren Bartholemew Harnage, a cigar maker for Tampa Nugget and Bessie Orr Harnage, a lady from a prominent family in Franklin, Georgia. Circa 1929 divorce split the family with the father leaving him with his mother and grandmother. An inoperable brain tumor caused the death of his mother in 1930 and he became the ward of his grandmother and five uncles, assuming the name of Oren Goodson. He was not advised of his true birth name and was not made aware until enlistment in the U.S. Navy in 1943. He served in the U.S. Naval Amphibious Force in the South Pacific seeing combat action in the Philippine Islands and Okinawa. After recovering from wounds received at Okinawa he was honorable discharged and located his older sister in Tampa, whom he had never seen. With her assistance he located his father, brother and two other sisters in Greensboro, North Carolina. He had not seen his father since age three and was totally unaware there was a brother and sister from two later marriages.
Civilian life was not kind and after eighteen months he enlisted in the United States Army Corps, to become an Air Operations Supervisor. In 1960 he was selected for a special assignment with the Central Intelligence Agency and assigned to the 1129th Special Activity Squadron with duty at Area 51 in the Nevada Test Site as Command Post Supervisor for the Lockheed Aircraft test program of the A-12 (SR-71) Black Bird. Five years on this assignment brought retirement from the United States Air Force as a Master Seargeant in June 1965. He continued in a civilian status with the Central Intelligence Agency as a paramilitary Air Officer, serving in Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Africa.
In addition to previous awards by the US Navy and US Air Force the Central Intelligence Agency bestowed the most coveted Intelligence Star for his heroic actions during the fall of Vietnam and the airlift of Vietnamese from atop the roof of the Pittman building on 29 April 1975. He and the last remaining vestige of five Central Intelligence agents were airlifted to the USS Denver in late evening of that fateful last day of American tenure in Vietnam. Continued employment was with the Central Intelligence Agency, his last assignment to Zaire, Africa.
With 32 years of service to his country he elected to retire from Federal Service in February 1977. After pursuing an unsuccessful career as a private investigator he settled into real estate until losing his wife to cancer in 1992, ending 44 years of marriage and bringing on complete final retirement. A second marriage followed and after eighteen months ended in divorce. He is now settled in Arizona and lives along on the shores of three small lakes and continues to pursue his hobbies of fishing and playing golf at the nearby courses.