one of their own
Armory names facility
after the late Robert Goose Caldwell
Helen E. McKinney
CARROLLTON, Ky. (January 2003) A man, a Kentuckian,
an American, a father has lived valiantly and died bravely. Sgt.
Maj. Robert John Goose Caldwell wrote those words in a letter
to the Carrollton News-Democrat after the Vietnam War; words which so
adequately describe the man who composed them.
He was a very soft-spoken, quiet man, said his daughter,
Robin Caldwell. The Carrollton National Guard Armory, established in
the 1940s, on Dec. 14 was renamed in honor of Goose Caldwell.
late Sgt. Maj. Robert
John Goose Caldwell
A Carroll County native, Caldwell was born on Dec. 2,
1926, to George and Ora Booth Caldwell. He was a descendant of Kentucky
pioneer Squire Boone, brother of Daniel Boone. He received his nickname
due to the fact that he would always goose his opponents
The 6-foot-6, lanky Caldwell was drafted on April 6, 1945, while a senior
at Carroll County High School. He was assigned to Battery A, 674th Parachute
Field Artillery Battalion after basic training and was sent to the Pacific
Theatre of Occupation in Japan.
Although his unit was scheduled for the invasion of Japan, the A-bomb
delayed his arrival in Japan. Robin Caldwell said her father always
thought the bomb was such a terrible thing to do to save so many
After an honorable discharge in March 1950, Corp. Caldwell decided three
years later to join Company A, 201st Engineer Battalion of the Kentucky
National Guard in Carrollton. He became the units full-time Administration
and Supply Tech. Whatever duty was required of him, he did it.
During his military service, he became qualified as an Infantryman,
Field Artillery Senior Sergeant, Administrative Specialist, Unit Supply
Specialist, and parachutist. He graduated from the Senior Leadership
School at the Kentucky Military Academy at Fort Knox, Ky. In 1950, Caldwell
earned his private pilots license.
The Carrollton unit changed from being an engineer company to a field
artillery battery, Battery A, 2nd Battalion 138th Field Artillery in
the early 1960s. The 2nd battalion, 138th Field Artillery pre-dates
the Mexican War, when it was part of the Kentucky militia. The battalion
was activated for federal service in the Vietnam War in May of 1968.
Caldwell went to Vietnam, even though he wasnt required to go
because of age and the fact that he had a family. He told his wife,
Terri, and three daughters, I couldnt live with myself if
I didnt go with the boys.
The boys, as he affectionately called Battery A, were always
under his watchful eye whether abroad or at home in Carrollton. He
made sure they had the best of everything, said his daughter.
Because so many have remembered his generosity, love and
determination, the armory has been renamed for him. For many, Caldwell
did not just work for the National Guard, he was the Guard.
To his friend John Tilley, he symbolized the backbone of the organization.
He was dedicated to his position, willing to help his fellow soldiers
and always there for them.
Tilley was born in the house across the street from where Caldwell lived
for a number of years. He and Caldwell served in the National Guard
together many years.
Caldwell was promoted to the rank of Sergeant Major on May 2, 1986,
and assigned to the Adjutant Generals Office in Frankfort as Administrative
Sergeant Major. He retired from the Guard on Nov. 12, 1986, after 38
years, two months and two days of military service.
After retirement, he would still frequently check in on the armory.
Many of the boys thought of him as the granddad or uncle
they never had, said Robin Caldwell.
Many soldiers came to him for help, whether their needs were military
related or financial, said Tilley. He was always there to lend a helping
hand or a listening ear.
Robin Caldwell said her father made sure the Guard had the best
of everything. If someone were unsure of their families
military history, Goose would pull out all of the stops
to help them find answers in every possible way.
The armory is the third building to house the Carrollton National Guard
unit. It sits on a 10-acre lot next to the entrance to Gen. Butler State
Park on Hwy 227. The land, once referred to as Memorial Park, was donated
by the Carroll county School Board, which had received it from a war
It was important to Tilley and Battery A to rename the armory after
their friend, who died on March 27, 1997, because of his dedication
and his great number of years of service, said Tilley.
He pulled out the good in people, said his daughter. Battery
A renamed the armory for Goose because they loved
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