Senator Barry M. Goldwater

From the China Post 1 Archives
Post Historian
Lewis L. Barger III

China Post membership record for Senator Barry Goldwater

Most of China Post’s members have, by the nature of their service, remained relatively unknown.  We have had several well-known members, though, and one of those was Senator Barry M. Goldwater of Arizona.  He was recruited for China Post by post commander C.A.S. “CASH” Helseth in 1972 and remained a member until his death in 1998. 

Goldwater began his military career in the Reserve Officers Training Corps at Stanton Military Academy in Virginia.  He was commissioned in the infantry in 1930 and served in the reserves.  Shortly before World War II, while visiting what would become Luke Air Force Base with a delegation from the Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, Goldwater offered his services to the commanding officer.  The base was still in the process of being built and the base commander, working with limited manpower and supplies, welcomed the offer.  In August 1941 Goldwater began a one year tour on active duty as a training officer teaching gunnery.  With the attack on Pearl Harbor, Goldwater, still a lieutenant, lobbied to be transferred to the Army Air Forces.  The Air Forces rejected him for fighter training because of his age, 33, and a bad knee, but he was accepted in May, 1943 for service in Air Transport Command ferrying planes and supplies.

 During his service with Air Transport Command Goldwater helped fly P-47 Thunderbolts to England, B-29 Superfortresses to India, and supplies over “the hump” into China.  By October 1944 he was a major and transferred back to the United States to serve as a training officer in California.  By the end of the war he had attained the rank of lieutenant colonel, and after relief from active duty helped organize the Arizona Air National Guard.  Goldwater served in the Air Guard until 1953 when he transferred to the Air Force Reserve.  At the time of his retirement in January 1969, Goldwater held the rank of major general, was rated as a command pilot and was qualified to fly over 50 types of fighters, bombers, trainers, and transports.  Among his awards were a campaign star on his Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, earned during World War II flying “the hump” and an air medal.

 Goldwater is more famous for his service in the United States Senate and as a presidential candidate.  He first won a senate seat in 1952, and continued as a senator until giving up his seat to run for the office of president in 1964.  After being defeated by President Johnson, he again ran for senate in 1968, remaining in the upper house until he retired in 1987.  His accomplishments were many, but he is perhaps best known as the co-author of the Goldwater-Nichols Act of 1986 which streamlined the chain of command in the Department of Defense and promoted joint operational capabilities over inter-service rivalry.  On a smaller scale, Senator Goldwater was also a friend to China Post 1.  Post Commander Cash Helseth had begun a program in 1961 to recognize members with flags flown over the Capitol building in Washington, D.C.  A congressman from California initially supported the post’s requests, but when the post headquarters moved to Scottsdale, Arizona in 1963, Senator Goldwater stepped in as sponsor, coordinating the flying of flags through his office.  In 1972, Cash sponsored him as a member of China Post 1, and Senator Goldwater remained a member until his death in 1989.


“Goldwater Has Risen from R.O.T.C Cadet to General During 40 Years in Reserves,” The New York Times, September 21, 1964.  Available online:

“Major General Barry M. Goldwater,” U.S. Air Force, Website

“Barry Goldwater,” Wikipedia, Website

A Pictorial History of China Post 1, 1 Jul 1989.  Available online: