This is a short bio of a WW2 vet that I had the honor of knowing back in the 1970's and 80's when working at a large hospital in Florida.
post war photo
Every inch the southern gentleman, he was known to many of us as Colonel Dickerson. I was always eager to hear his stories of his career in the US Army which began in the late 1930’s. In the second world war he was the commanding officer of E Company/325th Glider Infantry/82nd Airborne Division. In September of 1943, during the early stages of the Italian Campaign, his unit was assigned to relieve the 1st Ranger battalion in their positions on Mt. San Angelo outside of the beachhead of Salerno. The Germans launched a series of infantry attacks along with heavy artillery barrages, but E Company held their position for 8 hours until the Germans were unable to mount any further attacks and withdrew. I believe he was awarded a Silver Star for his leadership and bravery in that battle and later figured prominently in the 82nd's written history. As a part the D Day invasion on 6 June 1944, his company rode gliders into the drop zones, which the Germans had flooded. He said that in the dark of night his first steps onto enemy soil were into nose deep water. The shooting war ended for him on D Day +3 which he described as his biggest screw-up. He and his radio operator had stepped out of a concealed position in order to verify their map coordinates. He figured later that there was a German observer watching them, guessed that he was someone in command since the radioman was with him, and then called a mortar mission on their position. A salvo of rounds came crashing down around them, killing the radioman and severely wounding Bob. He was evacuated back to the USA and recovered, continuing his Army career. He was with the 25th Infantry Division in Viet Nam and retired in 1968, as he stated,” fed up with the way the whole war was being run by meathead politicians.”
Bob Dickerson was a friend to so many of us at the hospital in those days when the people working there were sort of a family, the CEO knew everyone’s name, and going into work was not something I dreaded...or at least it seemed that way. I am fortunate that I got to know him and listen to and remember his stories; and most of all that I am able to call him a friend. He died in 1998 and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.