Call Comes And Attorney Gets His Gun

November 29, 1990|By Jay Apperson | Jay Apperson,Staff writer

The call-up came yesterday at 9:10 a.m. -- make that 0910 hours. By the afternoon, the necktie was off, the dog tags were on and Richard C.

Goodwin, attorney, was gradually becoming Maj. Goodwin, a soldier shipping out to Saudi Arabia.

Goodwin, like others in his far-flung Army Reserve unit, was told yesterday to get to Chicago ASAP. Chicago is not a military hot spot, but Fort Sheridan, Ill., is home for the 4th Army's 416th Engineer Command.

"We think we're going to Saudi Arabia," said Goodwin, but he would not say where he would be stationed. A more formal order, received by fax about 10:30 a.m. yesterday, said he would be on active duty at least six months.

Goodwin is figuring on a year.

Yesterday's call-up did not take him by surprise. His unit, with members spread across the country, was placed on alert last Saturday. Then again, the unit had also been placed on alert in September.

"That puts you on an emotional roller-coaster," Goodwin said yesterday.

"But my thought is, they pay me to be a reservist. If they call me, I go."

And so, yesterday, Goodwin prepared to go. He called his ex-wife, his mother, his girlfriend. He visited the county courthouse, telling the judges not to expect to see him in court any time soon.

He made arrangements for six lawyer buddies to help out with his private practice while he's gone, taking over for some of Goodwin's clients. He fielded phone calls from friends.

On the phone, he said, simply, "I'm going," and was understood.

Sitting behind his desk in his Annapolis office, he dug out those dog tags. "I hate wearing these things. They're not comfortable. I have to put them on so I don't forget them," he said.

Goodwin, the lawyer in civilian life, is -- surprise -- a lawyer in military life, with an assignment of "staff judge advocate." In other words, he's like an "in house" lawyer for generals, advising them on contracts and relations with the host country and handling criminal matters that arise among the troops.

His military background goes back to 1964, when he was commissioned as an ROTC officer. Goodwin, 48, was an infantry officer in Korea from 1965 to 1967. He was commissioned in the Judge Advocate General's Corps in 1976. He said he expects to be promoted to lieutenant colonel while in Saudi Arabia.

Goodwin was scheduled to leave last night for Chicago -- a fax from his unit read, "If you buy your airline ticket you will get reimbursed (not 1st class)." He said he regrets that he will probably miss the rest of his son's senior year in high school. Another son is a high school freshman.

He'll also have to miss a family reunion planned for a Colorado ski resort. Goodwin said, "I knew this was going to happen. I had my new boots, new skis, had my lift ticket paid for.

"I'm apprehensive but not scared," Goodwin said. "I know what to do. I know how to stay alive. I've got the skills of an infantry officer. I know how to keep my head down."

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