Oscar Goforth was born on February 19, 1934, in Nashoba, Oklahoma. He was commissioned a 2d Lt in the U.S. Air Force through the Air Force ROTC program on January 25, 1956, and went on active duty beginning March 29, 1956. Lt Goforth entered pilot training at Hondo AFB, Texas, in May 1956, but left the program in September 1956. He then attended Navigator training at Ellington AFB, Texas, receiving his Navigator Wings in September 1957, and Navigator Electronic Countermeasures Training at Keesler AFB, Mississippi, graduating in May 1958. His next assignment was as an RB-47 Stratojet Electronic Warfare Officer with the 343rd Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron of the 55th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing at Forbes AFB, Kansas, from May 1958 until he was killed in action during a reconnaissance flight in international waters near the Soviet Union on July 1, 1960. Capt Goforth was officially listed as Missing in Action until declared dead one year later, on July 1, 1961. His remains have never been recovered from the Barents Sea, but he does have a cenotaph at Arlington National Cemetery.
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds - and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of - wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long delirious, burning blue,
I've topped the windswept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or even eagle flew -
And, while with silent lifting mind I've trod
The high untresspassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand and touched the face of God.