While working at the Washington Navy Yard, Les Gooding enlisted in the Marines in June 1944. He served with the First Marine Division at Okinawa in 1945 as a Forward Observer-Artillery, and later participated in the occupation of China. After his discharge in 1946, Gooding returned to Washington, DC and his position at the Navy Yard.
"When I returned to the Navy Yard, there were rumors the Yard was going to close. I applied for a job at Bureau Ordinance," Gooding recounted in an email. "I was responsible for the procurement of missiles and launchers. I was originally at the Munitions Building on Constitution Avenue and subsequently moved to Crystal City, Va."
Gooding retired on Jan. 12, 1980.
"Other than going to the gym, spending time with family and friends, I've been loafing ever since," Gooding said. "You can't beat it."
On March 7, Gooding celebrated his 90th birthday at a surprise luncheon at the River's Edge Catering and Conference Center, surrounded by friends, family and fellow "gym rats."
"I see him at the gym all the time," said Sgt. Major Wallington Sims of the Marine Aviation Detachment.