James Meridith Dodson, First Lieutenant, A.C. ’36
There is a framed poem that honors one of our own, navigator James. M. Dodson who graduated from Arkansas College (Lyon College) in 1936. With the poem there is an excerpt about Dodson's mission:
"Ordered overseas, in the late spring of 1943, to join the Britain-based U.S. 8th Air Force, the 95th Bomb Group reached the European theatre of war at the peak of German resistance. So efficient were the German fighter planes and flak against the suicidal daylight bombing tactics employed by the American air commanders, that the 95th, within the first 60 days of combat deployment, lost 31 of the original complement of 36 B-17 Flying Fortress aircraft to enemy action.
Written by a gunner crew member of one of the 5 surviving aircraft, the poem, “Ribbons We Wear” was presented to the parents of First Lieutenant James M. Dodson, A.C. ’36, navigator of one of the 31 lost planes; it depicts conditions comparable to those in which their son spent the last few minutes of his life on July 26th, 1943.
In connection with the establishment of a memorial to James Meredith Dodson, Arkansas College honors him, the unknown gunner, and all their valiant comrades in arms, by exhibiting the poem.
The 1945 "Arkansas College Index" lists Dodson in their list of 250 "Highland Warriors" as they were called, our college students who withdrew from college and joined the armed forces. The Index gave a rousing tribute to our students: "We salute you, our true Highlander Warriors who once sought truth within these walls, for the courage and determination with which you are serving on the battle fronts of the world."
B-17s taking flak - 1944-45.
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Updated 05-07- 2021
2300 Highland Road
Batesville, AR 72501
2300 HIGHLAND ROAD • BATESVILLE, ARKANSAS 72501 • PHONE: (870-307-7205) • FAX: (870) 307-7279