b. 18/09/1929 Fort Kent, Maine. d. 25/04/1951 Popsu-dong, Korea.
DATE OF MOH ACTION: 24-25/04/1951 Popsu-dong, Korea.
Goodblood was born Sept. 18, 1929, in Fort Kent, Maine, near the Canadian border. He was one of the 14 children of Percy and Emily Goodblood, who moved their family to a farm in Burnham in central Maine when Goodblood was 6 years old.
Goodblood graduated from Reynolds Corner School in 1944 and enlisted in the Army three years later. He spent two of his three years of service in Alaska as a chaplain’s assistant. Goodblood reenlisted in June 1950, just as the Korean War was beginning. He was sent to Korea that October as part of the 1st Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division.
By the spring of 1951, U.S. and allied troops had begun to push north over the 38th Parallel, which separated North Korea from South Korea, to secure more defensible positions. The move was in preparation for a suspected spring offensive by enemy forces who wanted to recapture the southern capital, Seoul. Late that April, Chinese forces began that offensive before U.S. troops were in position.
Goodblood was a machine gunner for Company B in one the key defensive positions when they were attacked the night of April 24, 1951, in the area of Popsu-dong. Bitter fighting ensued, and a swarm of enemy soldiers breached the position’s perimeter. Company B was ordered to withdraw, but Goodblood volunteered to stay behind to cover his fleeing comrades. At one point, when a live grenade was hurled in his direction, he shoved a fellow soldier to the ground and jumped on top of him to try to shield him from the blast. Both men were wounded, but Goodblood refused to get treatment and instead ordered the evacuation of the other wounded soldier.
From that point on, Goodblood faced the enemy alone. He fearlessly held his ground and laid heavy fire on the incoming Chinese until their charge overwhelmed him, and his gun fell silent. Goodblood sacrificed his life to allow time for his comrades to get away. His unit was able to regroup elsewhere and return to resecure the position the next day. According to his Medal of Honor citation, when friendly forces returned to the scene, the 21-year-old’s body was found lying beside his gun. About 100 dead enemy soldiers lay fanned out in the wake of his field of fire.
During a three-day period of that offensive’s bitter fighting, three other American soldiers earned the Medal of Honor alongside Goodblood: Cpl. John Essebagger Jr., Pfc. Charles L. Gilliland and Cpl. Hiroshi Miyamura. Goodblood’s family said he was a kind person and always looked out for other people, so they weren’t shocked to hear that he’d lost his life protecting others. On January 16, 1952, Goodblood’s mother received the Medal of Honor on her son’s behalf from Defense Secretary Robert A. Lovett during a Pentagon ceremony. Nine other men received the honor that day.
Goodblood was buried in Chandler Cemetery in his hometown, where his name has not been forgotten. The Cpl. Clair Goodblood Medal of Honor Memorial was dedicated to him on Memorial Day in 1998. It’s located along a highway that’s also named for him in Burnham, where a chapter of the Maine Korean War Veterans Association also bears his name.
Cpl. Goodblood, a member of Company D, distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty in action against an armed enemy of the United Nations. Cpl. Goodblood, a machine gunner, was attached to Company B in defensive positions on thickly wooded key terrain under attack by a ruthless foe. In bitter fighting which ensued, the numerically superior enemy infiltrated the perimeter, rendering the friendly positions untenable. Upon order to move back, Cpl. Goodblood voluntarily remained to cover the withdrawal and, constantly vulnerable to heavy fire, inflicted withering destruction on the assaulting force. Seeing a grenade lobbed at his position, he shoved his assistant to the ground and flinging himself upon the soldier attempted to shield him. Despite his valorous act both men were wounded. Rejecting aid for himself, he ordered the ammunition bearer to evacuate the injured man for medical treatment. He fearlessly maintained his l-man defense, sweeping the onrushing assailants with fire until an enemy banzai charge carried the hill and silenced his gun. When friendly elements regained the commanding ground, Cpl. Goodblood’s body was found lying beside his gun and approximately 100 hostile dead lay in the wake of his field of fire. Through his unflinching courage and willing self-sacrifice the onslaught was retarded, enabling his unit to withdraw, regroup, and resecure the strongpoint. Cpl. Goodblood’s inspirational conduct and devotion to duty reflect lasting glory on himself and are in keeping with the noble traditions of the military service.
BURIAL LOCATION: CHANDLER CEMETERY, BURNHAM, MAINE.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: MAINE MILITARY HISTORICAL MUSEUM, CAMP KEYES, AUGUSTA, MAINE.