Panama City, Fla. - Every Veteran’s Day, as the nation honors our U.S. military, Chris Vick takes a moment to reflect on the extraordinary life and service of his grandfather. Hugh “Pete” Good, a decorated Air Force pilot, has been a source of inspiration for his grandson who carries the torch of his legacy with pride.
“He always believed everyone should serve in the military in some form,” Vick said about his grandfather. For Vick, that translated into a position with Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) as a senior customer advisor for all military bases in Northwest Florida, including the Tyndall Air Force Base near Panama City.
As a liaison between the company and the military, Vick works with base officials to showcase renewable technologies, help them find ways to achieve their energy efficiency goals and meet their resiliency needs.
Last year, he was awarded the Tyndall Air Force Base Community Partnership Program Coin for his work in helping rebuild the base after Hurricane Michael, making it more resilient for future storms.
“It was an honor to work with them,” Vick said. “To receive this award, I was blown away. I immediately thought of my grandfather and what he would have thought.”
Through his job, Vick immerses himself in the same world his grandfather once lived in. He better understands the challenges and triumphs that shaped his grandfather’s military career, which spanned three major conflicts: World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.
Good joined the Air Force in 1942, shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor sent the U.S. into war against Germany and Japan. He flew C-47s, a transport aircraft used to haul cargo, transport troops, drop paratroops, tow gliders and serve as a flying ambulance.
Before the historic D-Day invasion, Good was stationed in the China-Burma-India theatre and was supposed to fly to Normandy, France, but his unit’s flight was postponed because of weather.
Good continued to fly C-47s during the Korean and Vietnam wars. During the Cold War, he trained to fly B-52 bomber planes. Later, he was stationed at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa.
Holding the rank of colonel, he was offered the prestigious promotion to brigadier general. However, Good turned it down because it would mean being stationed in Turkey. Not wanting to move his family, he retired in 1968.
By then, Good was recognized with numerous medals of honor including the nation’s highest award for extraordinary aerial achievement, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal ribbon with oak leaf clusters, an Air Force Commendation Medal and the National Defense Service Medals for World War II, Korea, and Vietnam.
Good stayed in Tampa and became a well-known urologist. He died in 2011 but he’s still remembered today by patients, nurses, and family.
“I was blessed to be around him into my 30s,” Vick said. “He was a lively man and loved life. Toward the end, he told me he didn’t have any regrets. Not many people can say that.”