Village on the Green is dedicated to honoring veterans, including many of our residents who served our country. One of those servicemen is Stan Goldstein, a New York City native whose childhood dream was to become an Air Force pilot.
Stan grew up during World War II, and his early love for military aviation led him toward a celebrated 28-year career in the United States Air Force. After studying industrial engineering at NYU, where he was also enrolled in the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps program, Stan officially joined the Air Force as a second lieutenant.
“Leaving home for the first time and all of a sudden being in a structured setting was eye-opening,” Stan explained. “It was exciting, because it was the start of who I wanted to be.”
Stan went on to complete 100 combat missions during the Vietnam war. He also helped develop training facilities to instruct aircrews on how to maneuver hostile environments. Other deployments included the Yom Kippur War and a four-year stint at The Pentagon.
For comfort during his service, Stan says he relied on simple entertainment, his family and friends, and a little bit of superstition.
“I had my mother and some friends who I’d write letters to. There was no TV, so we would play racquetball and bridge,” Stan explained. “I’d also carry a $2 bill in my pocket for good luck. I wrapped it in plastic and still have it to this day.”
Stan rose through the ranks and completed his service as a colonel, earning several medals and citations along the way. These included the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Air Medal with nine Oak Leaf Clusters, the Joint Service Commendation Medal and the Air Force Commendation Medal.
After his decorated military career, Stan spent a decade working as a marketing engineer for a defense contractor. Now happily retired at Village on the Green, he’s actively involved in The Red River Valley Fighter Pilots Association and The Society of Wild Weasels; both are nonprofit military organizations.
Stan says his biggest accomplishment has been his devoted support to the groups he’s a part of.
“The most valuable lesson I learned during my time in the service is be true to the organization you’re involved in,” he added.
[In the photo: Stan Goldstein (on the right) is joined by a fellow Air Force pilot]