After more than 50 years of service and significant achievements supporting Army readiness, an operations expert retired from Army Materiel Command.
In Nathan Godwin’s final assignment, he served as AMC’s principal deputy G-3, a position he held since 2017. Gen. Ed Daly, commander of AMC, honored Godwin’s legacy of service during his retirement ceremony Sept. 28 at AMC’s headquarters.
“I’ve gotten to know Nate well over the last five years; I’ve seen firsthand that nobody works harder, nobody takes his job more seriously, and nobody tries to drive to effects better than Nate,” Daly said.
Godwin began his career of service by attending a U.S. Military Academy prep school and then West Point, graduating with the class of 1976. During his military service, his highlights included meeting his wife at Fort Lewis, Washington, serving in Germany and his tour in El Salvador. He retired from active duty in 2000, beginning his Army civilian service in 2001 as the branch chief for training and integration at Forces Command.
While at FORSCOM, he was appointed as a senior executive in 2008. Daly said Godwin also became known as the father of Army Force Generation, which at the time was the Army’s core process of building trained and ready units. He led the team that developed ARFORGEN and enforced it, all while seeing the deployments of every Soldier and Army conventional unit to Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan from 2001-16.
“It was up to him to certify everything had been done for that unit before they deployed,” Daly said. “Literally thousands and thousands of Soldiers went through a process that Nate helped establish.”
After leaving FORSCOM, Godwin said coming to AMC was an awesome experience that expanded his knowledge across the military spectrum.
“At Forces Command, it’s about readiness, making sure our young men and women are prepared to go and do their job, win and come home,” he said. “Here at AMC, it is about ensuring that those young men and women have the resources they need to successfully accomplish their mission and come home.”
In addition to budget planning, positioning and restoring Army Prepositioned Stocks and responding to the changing military environment, AMC transformed and adapted.
Part of this transformation included gaining three new major subordinate commands, including Installation Management Command. AMC became responsible for improving on-base housing and other quality of life initiatives. Godwin said as someone who lived in Army housing and on installations, being a part of the reform meant a lot.
“It means a lot because we actually got to see a change in environment across the Army families, from absolute, ‘I do not trust Army leadership. You’re not taking care of us. You don’t care about us,’ to one of, ‘Our Army leadership really does care,’” he said.
Godwin also watched the operational environment change, with the Army shifting to the Regionally Aligned Readiness and Modernization Model, a flexible, predictable force generation process enabling the Army to transform into a multi-domain force while providing a predictable supply of ready units.
During this shift, the world began to experience the global COVID-19 pandemic. As a leader, he played a part in reassuring the workforce that leaders were taking positive actions to protect them. At the same time, he said he saw the workforce step up.
“The individual employees within AMC stepped up and took the onus on them to protect one another, and hence their families,” he said.
As the pandemic impacted training, it in turn impacted the supply chain. Hard work and collaboration across staff enabled the command the ability to react to demand, keep the supply lines hot and return to normal business as military training started resuming.
Toward the end of his service, Godwin also was a part of the Afghanistan retrograde and the mission to evacuate Special Immigrant Visa applicants from Afghanistan. He said it has been a mission that has impressed him.
“As we evacuated those who had helped us, and we are bringing them here to the United States, and what we are doing to provide them places to stay, I am proud,” he said. “I am just extremely proud of everything that our Army, AMC and everybody has accomplished in support of this mission.”
After more than 50 years supporting readiness and adapting to change, he looks forward to his next big assignment: being a full-time husband, father and grandfather.
“I’m not driving toward the setting sun, in fact, I’m driving east toward the rising sun,” Godwin said. “There’s a lot of life left, a lot of goodness left and a lot of fun left for me to experience.”
As he drives forward, he knows AMC has a bright future ahead.
“AMC has only one direction to go and that’s up, and that doesn’t mean because they’re on the bottom,” Godwin said. “The level of credibility and respect that AMC has is at a point that it’s never been at before, and it’s because of the great leadership and the great personnel assigned to AMC. The good news is the personnel and leaders in this headquarters are only going to continue to take it higher, and higher and higher.”