Joe Wayne Goss

June 19, 1944 to August 25, 2018

Joe W. Goss -a.k.a. Joe Cool, Hollywood, FBI Joe, Amigo, Papa Joe, etc. – carried many titles; however, his favorite were the titles of Special Agent Pilot and Dad.

Our father loved flying.  He loved it with his whole being. At the age of 23, he was trained as an army helicopter pilot. In his memoir he wrote, “I truly wanted to be a good pilot, I was in great shape, and I had one hell of a great attitude!”  This statement pretty much sums up our father’s approach to life.

Dad taught through example. He raised his daughters to be bold and fearless, but most importantly to be joyful.  He would often say, “find something you love to do, then find a way to make a living out of it.”  Even though Dad believed his success was largely due to ‘sheer luck and timing”, he was fortunate to have had a career in something he absolutely loved to do.  Retiring after 26 years, as a Special Agent Pilot for the FBI, Dad would often joke that he left claw marks on the floor as they dragged him out of the office!

Our father loved flying as much as he loved the people he worked with. The names of agent pilot friends and those who worked alongside him in the FBI were so commonly mentioned in stories and in conversation that his daughters began to regard them as family.  We know this to be true from all the beautiful cards, letters and messages we’ve received from our FBI family. The many crazy, funny stories can fill a book!  We all loved Joe (aka Dad). You couldn’t help but love him.  It’s no wonder he got away with so many, shall we say “shenanigans”.

Dad was very proud of his roots in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. Our family traveled a lot in the early years, but Oklahoma was always considered home. Before Dad left for Vietnam, he promised our grandfather (his dad) that when he returned, he would never miss a Christmas. He kept that promise to his father. No matter how far away we lived or what little money we had, Dad always took us home for Christmas. Because of this, our most beloved memories are those with family during Christmas holidays and summer vacations in Oklahoma.

Joe was always so proud of his daughters. He would get confused and call each one by the wrong name, but he always had a twinkle in his eye knowing it didn’t matter, because each girl was special and successful in his eyes.  It is our honor to be the daughters of such a humorous, proud, talented, and industrious man.

We love you Dad and will continue to make you proud. Lovingly, Cammy Jo, Candice, and Carey.

P.S.  Beyond Joe’s favorite titles of Special Agent Pilot and Dad, he liked to refer to himself as “God’s Gift to Aviation” … So, I’m sure he is relishing this loving tribute written by our Aunt Delena Goss:



Joe Wayne Goss was born June 19, 1944 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the son of Joseph Walter and Della Opal (Bowles) Goss. A member of the Miami Indian Tribe, he was the younger brother of Patricia, Jack, and Koleta. He grew up in Vincennes, Indiana and Tahlequah, Oklahoma. He passed away peacefully at home in San Diego, California with his daughters at his side on August 25, 2018.

Joe attended Tahlequah High School and worked for his uncle, George Goss, in the construction business from 1962-1967. In 1963, Joe married Carmie Jay of Tahlequah. To this union were born Cammy Jo, Candice, and Carey.

Joe joined the National Guard at age 19 and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant prior to entering the United States Army in 1967. The following year, he attended Rotary Helicopter courses in Texas and Georgia, and received his Army Helicopter Wings in 1968, graduating in the top ten percent of his class. He then went on to Chinook helicopter school. In 1969, he was sent to Vietnam and was discharged from the Army in 1973. While serving, he earned the rank of Captain. Joe also earned numerous honors including; the National Defense Service Medal, Army Aviator Badge, Marksmanship Badge (.45 caliber pistol), Sharpshooter Badge with Rifle Bar (M-16), Air Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, Bronze Star Medal, Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, Vietnam Civil Action Honor Medal and Army Commendation Medal.

While in Vietnam, he flew at least 1,000 hours in combat missions. In 1969, he received a Rescue Citation in recognition of meritorious service. The citation reads, “Captain Joe W. Goss, who on 30 March 1969, while serving as the pilot of a CH-47 (Chinook) helicopter, rescued the crew of a downed aircraft from possible capture or injury by enemy forces in the Mekong Delta of South Vietnam.”

Joe once told a friend that, in Vietnam he flew through the hills and valleys in such a way that the enemy couldn’t hear the bird coming until it was right on top of them.

After his discharge from the military, Joe moved his family to Omaha, Nebraska, where he took a job as a pilot for the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice in 1974 from the University of Nebraska in Omaha. He was certified as a commercial pilot and instructor, flying single and multi-engine airplanes. He worked for Aergo, Inc., as a pilot and instructor from 1973-1975.

In 1975, Joe embarked on a distinguished 26-year career with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He was assigned to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota from 1975 to 1978, and later was assigned to Puerto Rico, San Francisco, and San Diego, where he retired in 2001. He was on the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team, Bank Robbery Squad, Drug Squad and conducted covert surveillance. Joe also certified other FBI agents who earned pilot and helicopter licenses.

During his career, he flew more than 16,000 hours while serving in Vietnam and working for the FBI. Following retirement, he continued to teach as a flight instructor and certify pilots.

Joe lived a life worthy of respect and admiration by all who knew him. He was courageous with the devoted heart of a servant. He had strength of character and was a man of honor, moved by a strong motivation to serve his family and his nation. Many might run from a fight, but without hesitation, Joe ran toward it. A simple boy from the foothills of Oklahoma, he enlisted early and dedicated his life to his country. From the National Guard to the FBI, he was known for his ability to approach situations directly and with determination. His family will remember him as a humble man who enjoyed life to the fullest.

Joe Wayne Goss was preceded in death by his parents and two half-siblings, Billy Joe Goss and Donald Gene Goss. He is survived by his daughters Cammy Jo Goss-Costa (an investigative specialist for the FBI), and her husband, David Costa, of Tracy, California; Candice Goss-Smedsrud (a teacher at San Diego Unified School District, who holds a Masters of Education) and her husband, Richard Smedsrud, of San Diego, California; and Carey Goss (wildlife refuge specialist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Malheur National Wildlife Refuge) of Burns, Oregon; three grandchildren, Bryce Walter Harding-Goss, Garrett Jay Bodily-Goss, and Cara Jo Bodily-Goss, all of Burns, Oregon; Carmie Jay, his wife of 27 years, of San Ramon, California; Sheri Buckaloo, his wife of ten years, of Northern California; his brother, Jack Goss, of Tahlequah, Oklahoma; his sisters Patricia Norris of Wichita, Kansas and Koleta Goss of Tahlequah, Oklahoma; and many nieces, nephews, and friends.

Joe will be laid to rest at the Miramar National Cemetery in San Diego in a private service. A celebration of life service will be held in the San Francisco Bay Area in spring of 2019.

Uncle Joe made Tahlequah cool. He was an inspiration to both me and to my father. There was never a catfish safe when he was around and he made the Christmases at Popo’s more than exciting. I still remember being a kid, and helping pick out and wrap the boxes of Hickory Farm’s cheese that we would send to him when he was in Vietnam; I still have the chess set he brought back. The countless stories that I was told, and many that I witnessed, only convinced me how brave, fun loving, and caring Joe was to his family and to his friends. His story hasn’t ended; it is carried on through our loving memories of who this incredible man was. Thank you, Joe, for everything.

Roy Patrick Norris on September 12, 2018

Cammy Jo, my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. I remember the first time I met your dad, it was while I stepped into the helicopter for a ride during support day. I can tell he truly loved his job and enjoyed being pilot. He will be missed. Grace

Grace Carvajal on September 12, 2018

It was a privilege to have served with him in the FBI’s San Juan office and to have flown with him. He enjoyed life and that rubbed off on those around him. I have many fond memories of those days. He will be missed.

Stephen Emmett on September 11, 2018

Prayers for all.

Paul Jay on September 11, 2018

I'm so sorry there are never no words that can be said. No one can steal your memories and remember all the Blessed ones which were all of them.

VIVIAN on September 11, 2018

Condolences to Joe's Family. It was a privilege to have served in the Bureau with Joe. He was a one of a kind individual and few people can measure up to him. His flying skills were exceptional and he did an outstanding job flying the SWAT personnel.

Chris Loo on September 11, 2018

As I was reading tears 😭 were pouring down my face, it probably took me 10 to 12 minutes to read it ... I’ll remember Joe as my very best of friends from our favorite watering hole.. I feel very blessed to have met him and his family.. ❤️ to y’all.. with love Linda Grass 😘

Linda Grass on September 11, 2018

It was a honor and an adventure to serve with Joe in the FBI. He is high up on my list of the most favorite people I have ever met. Jerry Webb

Jerry Webb on September 10, 2018

Sincere condolences to Joe Wayne Goss' daughters (my nieces) and to all of his family. Joe accomplished more in his lifetime than most. I remember him as very handsome, intelligent, jovial, kind and Loving to his family and friends. He had a fierce passion to succeed and he did. He was a hero to our country and worthy of great admiration. Rest in peace Joe.

Laurie Weddle on September 10, 2018