September 28, 2022
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Former paratrooper leaps into a new career path

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Brian Goodhart with his family on graduation day at Rhode island College last month. From left, daughters Jacey, Chloe, and Aundrea. On Brian's right are his mother, Barbara Gagne, and stepdaughter Alexis.

During Brian Goodhart’s service as a paratrooper medic, he saw combat in Panama and Iraq. He also made 89 parachute jumps.

The biggest jump of his life, however, took place right here in Rhode Island, in 2019. At the age of 49, he jumped back into school to complete the degree he started some 20 years earlier.

In May, Goodhart graduated from Rhode Island College with a B.A. in liberal arts and sciences.

“I came back to finish what I started,” he said. “If I didn’t do that, how could I tell my kids to go to school?’’

Making this nontraditional achievement that much more challenging is the fact that Goodhart, now 52, is medically retired from the Army due to a combination of severe PTSD and complications from a leg injury sustained in a 1992 accident.

“The biggest lesson I learned was to never give up,” Goodhart told The Journal. “No matter what, keep fighting.”  

Veterans Voice:Catching up on noteworthy news and RI events for vets

Brian Goodhart stands in front of his locker after completing Combat Medic Training at Fort Sam Houston, Texas in August 1988.

From Central Falls to Desert Storm

Sports was a huge deal in Goodhart’s Central Falls household.

“I was born in 1970, number eight out of 12 children,” he said. “We played football and baseball, and we wrestled all the time.”

Despite earning decent grades to accompany a stellar high-school athletic career, Goodhart had little desire to continue his education.

“I wasn’t ready for college then,” he said.

But after reading Army recruiting material, he saw a path forward.

“I feel like I was made for the Army.”

Two days after graduation in 1988, he was in the military, where he trained as a medic. He also volunteered for jump school.



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