WWII Army Veteran Inducted into Ala. Military Hall of Honor on MMI campus
Pleasant Grove WWII Veteran, 1LT Douglas Dickerson Inducted into Alabama Military Hall of Honor
MARION, AL - Marion Military Institute (MMI) had the pleasure of hosting four generations of the Dickerson family on its historic college campus on Friday, October 30. On a crisp fall day, guests, veterans, MMI staff and members of the Corps of Cadets gathered outdoors to remember Pleasant Grove’s 1Lt Douglas Dickerson (1924-2015), the Alabama Military Hall of Honor 2015 Inductee. In military fashion, the ceremony included posting of the colors, Band Company’s rendition of the national anthem, and remarks on 1LT Dickerson’s heroic efforts during WWII’s Italian Campaign:
Born in Falkville, raised in Edgewater and a graduate of Minor High School, Dickerson was drafted into service at age 18. He entered the Army on July 27, 1943, spent 17 weeks in basic training, and arrived in Naples, Italy in the spring of that same year. He was assigned to C Company, 135th Infantry Regiment, and his first combat was on the beachhead at Anzio, Italy, one of the bloodiest battles of WWII.
In the summer of 1944, as a sergeant, he would perform heroic deeds that earned him two Silver Stars for Gallantry in Action: On June 3, Dickerson’s platoon was advancing in the assault when they came under heavy enemy fire. Dickerson crawled forward 75 yards and fired a grenade at the German machine gun nest, knocking it out. On July 4, after his platoon leader and platoon sergeant were attacked, he rushed in front of his men and wounded several of the enemy. As enemy entered the company area, he took careful aim and killed both of them. After receiving a battlefield commission at age 20, he was appointed the Military Governor of Gavi, Italy and all surrounding cities.
After the war ended in 1945, Dickerson married his wife of 68 years, Jean, and began a 43-year career with U.S. Steel Company at the Fairfield Works. A longtime member and deacon at Wylam Baptist Church, he was an active member of First Baptist Church of Pleasant Grove and the Woodward Golf and Country Club until the time of his death. READ HIS 1941-45 COMBAT MEMOIRS
In his remarks to the audience, MMI President Col. David J. Mollahan, USMC (Ret) called 1LT Dickerson a true American hero, praising this soldier who “served during a dark time in our history, a time of global upheaval, a time that helped forge what is now referred to as our Greatest Generation… World War II was an event that catapulted America into the role as the pre-eminent global leader for the latter half of the 20th century, and into the 21st century, right up to this very day.”
Wayne Dickerson of Birmingham was then called forward to unveil a bronze relief plaque in his father’s image. 1LT Dickerson’s plaque will now be permanently displayed inside the Hall of Honor museum, memorializing Alabama’s servicemen who fought in every U.S. conflict from the Civil War to Operation Iraqi Freedom.
After taking photos, the Dickerson family proceeded to MMI’s Parade Field for a full-dress pass in review by the MMI Corps of Cadets. There, Wayne and Don Dickerson were asked to take the reviewing stand to honor their father. A celebratory luncheon followed in the William R. Ireland Athletic Center.
Those wishing to nominate someone, living or dead, for the Alabama Military Hall of Honor should contact Director COL John Gibler, USA (Ret) or 334-683-2346.