S/SGT ROBERT A. DODSON
At 0230hrs on 6 June 1944, Sergeant Dodson jumped with Force "A" of the 82nd Airborne Division commanded by Brigadier General James M. Gavin. The sky was moonlit and practically clear when he landed about a mile northeast of St. Mere Eglise, France in a field where cattle were grazing. One other man had landed in the same field with him and the two of them set out at once toward the head of the stick, in spite of a knee injury Sergeant Dodson sustained during the jump. As they proceeded they picked up eight other members of their outfit one at a time. Things were progressing according to schedule and they had yet to make contact with the enemy. They found three injured men along the way, gave them first aid, and continued on. Along the way they recovered their equipment which they unpacked, selected a VHF radio, and camouflaged the rest of the equipment in a hedgerow before finally linking up with the command post which had relocated to St. Mere Eglise.
counterattacked, and during thirty-six hours all members of the Air
Support Party acted as riflemen. When the siege was lifted,
Sergeant Dodson began his weather observing duties. Each hour he
sent by radio the present weather, wind direction and speed, visibility,
ceiling and cloud heights, temperature, and dew point. For the
last elements he was equipped with a shielded psychrometer and
psychometric tables, while all other elements were determined visually.
This work continued until 21 June, when Sergeant Dodson was evacuated to
the hospital at Bouteville for treatment on the knee he injured during
the jump. He later returned to his unit, which returned to England
when it was relieved on 13 July. Sergeant Dodson, who made his
first trip to France during the war with a parachute as a weather
observer with the 82nd Airborne Division, returned to France with the
headquarters of Ninth Air Force and the 21st Weather Squadron, serving
out the rest of the war as chief dispatcher at the motor pool. He
left the service in September 1945.
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