Goldfein ejected. He was not on the ground long before a rescue helicopter landed for him, drawing enemy fire, the El Paso Times reported in 2007. Five bullet holes were later discovered in the helicopter's fuselage. That happened in 1999.
Now a three-star general and director of the Joint Staff, Goldfein has been nominated to get his fourth star and become the Air Force vice chief of staff. If confirmed by the Senate, he would replace Gen. Larry Spencer, who is retiring.
Goldfein has flown combat missions over Iraq, Afghanistan and Serbia, according to his Air Force biography. His military decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster and the Distinguished Flying Cross with oak leaf cluster.
After two female airmen were cyber-bullied in 2012 when they received Bronze Stars for non-combat actions, Goldfein wrote a letter to Air Force Times defending the two for their service in Afghanistan.
"No one Air Force Specialty Code is any more important than the next in this theater — it takes the entire team working together to get the job done," he wrote in the April 30, 2012, letter. "Airmen like Tech. Sgt. Christina Gamez and Tech. Sgt. Sharma Haynes are the bedrock of our organization."
At the AFCENT change of command ceremony in July 2013, Army Gen. Lloyd Austin, head of U.S. Central Command, praised Goldfein's leadership.
"He has done what is right for the unit, what is right for the United States Air Force, for the airrmen and for their families," Austin said, according to a 2013 Air Force news story. "He is a team player, a team builder, and a truly exceptional leader."