Major Kenneth “Brad” Goff, Jr. was a native of Warwick, Rhode Island and a 1962 graduate of Warwick Veterans Memorial High School. As a youth, he was very active in the Boy Scouts of Rhode Island. He attended Roger Williams Junior College for two years before entering the University of Rhode Island in 1964. Brad was a member of the Lacrosse Team and the Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity. He enrolled in the Army ROTC program for two years. He was an active member of the Cadet Brigade, planning to make the Army a career.
MAJ Goff comes from a family with a distinctive URI and military heritage. His father Lieutenant Colonel Kenneth B. Goff, Sr. served in World War II and is a member of the URI Athletic Hall of Fame. In 1965, Cadet Goff participated as a member of the URI Color Guard in the Inaugural Parade for President Lyndon B. Johnson. In 1966, he graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Management and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant of Infantry. He received a Commissioning award for his outstanding cadet leadership.
Immediately following graduation, Second Lieutenant Goff was assigned to Fort Benning, Georgia for Infantry Officer Training and Ranger School. In August 1967, upon the completion of his training, he deployed to the Republic of Vietnam and joined his unit, the 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry, 4th Infantry Division. At that time, the 4th Infantry Division with the assistance of the 25th Division and the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) were conducting combat operations called “Operations Paul Revere IV,” an ongoing effort to halt enemy activity along the Cambodian Border in the Pleiku Province.
On 24 August 1967, Captain Goff was a passenger on a UH-1H helicopter flying a combat support mission. Due to anti-aircraft weapons, the pilot flew low-level along the Dak Bla River. While attempting a 180-degree turn, the aircraft was caught in a severe downdraft and failed to recover. The pilots executed a crash landing into the Krong Bo Lah River, a deep and fast flowing river. Of the nine personnel embarked aboard, five were rescued a short time following the crash. Captain Goff was one of four soldiers killed in the crash. After an intense search, Captain Kenneth B. Goff, Jr. was officially listed as Missing in Action on 24 August 1967.
On 13 March 1978, the Army declared Major Kenneth B. Goff, Jr. “Killed in Action;” and his body was never recovered. Major Goff was posthumously awarded the Combat Infantry Badge, Purple Heart, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Ribbon and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry. He was promoted to Major while in the “Missing in Action” status Major Goff’s exemplary devotion to duty, personal bravery and outstanding leadership is in the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his family and the University of Rhode Island.
Major Goff is remembered with a memorial marker at Warwick Veterans Memorial High School and Roger Williams University. A softball field in Warwick is also named in his honor. Major Goff’s name is engraved on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (Panel 25E, Line 038) in Washington, DC. In the Rhode Island Veterans Cemetery in Exeter, Rhode Island, there is a marker displayed in honor of Major Kenneth B. Goff, Jr.