Solomon Godwin was born on January 24, 1935, in Hot Springs, Arkansas. He enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve on June 4, 1952, and served with the 6th Rifle Company at Little Rock, Arkansas, until going on active duty in the Marine Corps on January 25, 1956. After completing basic training at MCRD San Diego, California, and advanced training at MCB Camp Pendleton, California, Sgt Godwin served as a Barman and Draftsman with 1st Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment at Camp Pendleton from July to November 1956, followed by Photo-Interpreter School at the U.S. Army Intelligence Center at Fort Holabird, Maryland, from November 1956 to April 1957. His next assignment was as an Intelligence Analyst and Photo-Interpreter with the 1st Force Recon Company and the 1st Marine Division at Camp Pendleton from April 1957 to July 1958, and then as a Photo-Interpreter and Counterintelligence Assistant with 3rd Battalion and then 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, and with Headquarters Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, at MCB Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, from July 1958 to November 1959. SSgt Godwin then served as a Counterintelligence Assistant with the 4th Counterintelligence Team at Camp Lejeune from November 1959 to August 1960, followed by service as a Counterintelligence Assistant with Headquarters Battalion, 2nd Marine Division from August to October 1960. He next served on the G-2 Staff as a Counterintelligence Assistant with Headquarters Battalion, 3rd Marine Division at MCB Camp Smedley D. Butler, Okinawa, from October 1960 to January 1962, and then on the G-2 Staff as a Counterintelligence Assistant with Fleet Marine Force Atlantic at Camp Lejeune from January to May 1962. His next assignment was as a Counterintelligence Assistant with the 2nd Counterintelligence Team and with the 2nd Force Recon Company at Camp Lejeune and at Camp Garcia, Vieques Island, Puerto Rico, from May 1962 to July 1964, followed by Spanish Language training at Monterey, California, from July 1964 to January 1965. He served as a Counterintelligence Assistant at the Marine Barracks, USNB Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, from January 1965 to August 1966, and was appointed a Warrant Officer in the Marine Corps on September 1, 1966. CWO1 Godwin remained at Guantanamo Bay as a Counterintelligence Officer from September 1966 to January 1967, and then deployed to Southeast Asia where he served as a Counterintelligence Officer with the 1st Counterintelligence Team, Headquarters Battalion, 3rd Marine Division in South Vietnam from March 1967 to January 1968. His next assignment was as a National Police Advisor and as a Counterintelligence Officer with the 1st Interrogation Translation Team, Headquarters Battalion, 1st Marine Division in South Vietnam from January 1968 until he was captured and taken as a Prisoner of War during the Battle of Hue on February 5, 1968. CWO Godwin died in captivity on July 25, 1968, but was officially listed as missing/captured until he was declared dead on May 14, 1973. His remains have never been returned to the United States.
His Silver Star Citation reads:
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving with the First Counterintelligence Team, G-2 Section, Headquarters, First Marine Division in connection with operations against the enemy in the Republic of Vietnam. On 31 January 1968, when the enemy's Tet Offensive began, Chief Warrant Officer Godwin's residence in Hue City came under attack by an enemy unit utilizing satchel charges, automatic weapons, and antitank rockets. Realizing that a Civil Operations and Revolutionary Development Support Agricultural Advisor was occupying the building adjacent to his own, Chief Warrant Officer Godwin unhesitatingly exposed himself to the heavy volume of hostile fire in order to bring the man to the relative safety of his position, which was defended by four security guards. Throughout the following day, enemy units repeatedly assaulted the residence, but were driven back by Chief Warrant Officer Godwin's well-coordinated defense. Reestablishing communications with friendly units, he directed accurate artillery and mortar fire on the surrounding hostile force, frequently adjusting it to within 50 meters of his position. Continuing his determined efforts, he led his men in repulsing repeated enemy attacks, killing approximately 20 hostile soldiers and capturing one Viet Cong suspect. On the evening of 3 February, the enemy soldiers launched a coordinated ground assault from all sides, again utilizing antitank rockets and satchel charges. Realizing that he was dangerously low of ammunition, water, and medical supplies and that assistance could not reach his beleaguered position, Chief Warrant Officer Godwin fearlessly led his small force out of the building, maneuvering toward friendly positions until he and his men were captured by the enemy. By his courage, aggressive fighting spirit, and unwavering devotion to duty, Chief Warrant Officer Godwin inspired all who observed him and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.