A native of Dublin, Georgia, Rear Adm. Bill Goodwin graduated from the University of South Carolina and was commissioned in May of 1975. He was designated a Naval Aviator in February 1977.
Goodwin reported to Attack Squadron (VAQ) 66 flying the A-7E Corsair, and completed deployments as part of Carrier Air Wing 7 and USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69). He then became a flight instructor, in the TA-4J Skyhawk. In March 1983, he was assigned as USS Lexington (CVT 16) catapult and arresting gear officer. Goodwin reported to the Naval Postgraduate School where he earned a Master of Science. Assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 25 flying the FA-18 Hornet, he completed deployments as part of Carrier Air Wing 14 and USS Constellation (CV 64). In June 1990, he reported to the Naval Air System Command Headquarters, Washington. His first command was VFA-94 in August 1992. He graduated from the Naval War College in March 1995 with a Master of Arts.
Following Naval Nuclear Propulsion training, he served as executive officer, USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) until April 1998. He became commanding officer USS Rainier (AOE 7) in June 1998. Goodwin assumed command of the Pre-Commissioning Unit Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) and became the first commanding officer, USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) in July 2003. Goodwin was promoted to flag rank and assumed the duties of deputy director, Strategy, Plans and Policy of the U.S. European Command in Stuttgart, Germany. Following his tour in Germany, he was assigned as commander, Abraham Lincoln Strike Group. His next assignment was commander, Naval Air Forces Atlantic Fleet and then reported for his final tour as the assistant chief of naval operations, Next Generation Enterprise Network.
His decorations include the Navy Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal, Navy Commendation Medal, Navy Achievement Medal, as well as numerous unit commendations and awards.
Goodwin retired from active duty in June 2010 after 35 years of service. He is currently employed by Auburn University as director, Nuclear Power Generation Systems Program in the College of Engineering.