Wednesday, January 04, 2006

William A. Dickson "Old Soldiers Never Die, They Just Fade Away"

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William A. Dickson
September 2, 1923 - January 2, 2006

Dedicated to the memory of the sacrifices of the men of the 35th Infantry Divison, WWII, who fought and died to preserve the justness of our cause as a nation:

First Sergeant Bill Dickson of the Intelligence & Reconnaissance Platoon (I&R Plat) of Hq Co, 320th Inf Regt, 35th Inf Div (Sante Fe Division,) served under Captain Orval Eugene Faubus (later Governor Faubus of Arkansas) and 1LT Sid Silverman from January 9, 1943 to November 1, 1945.

Beginning with the Allied invasion at Omaha Beach, Dickson's unit fought in the bloody battles of St. Lo, Normandy, Alsace-Loraine, Mortain, Rhein-Marne, The Ardennes, was part of General Patton's 3rd Army that freed the 101st Airborne Division in Bastogne (Gen. McAuliff's "Battered Bastards of Bastogne") aka "The Battle of the Buldge."

Of particular note, from Normandy until the final defeat of Germany, Sgt. Dickson's platoon suffered nearly a 320% turn-over due to casualties (nearly as many casualties from one single Platoon as Americans suffered thus far in the entire Iraqi War.)

Dickson was also Past President of the 35th Division Association, a distinction shared with Governor Faubus and former President Harry S. Truman (Captain Truman was an Artillery Officer in the 35th Divison durning WWI.)

Awards and Medals:

Combat Infanty Badge (C.I.B.)
2 Bronze Stars (one with "V" Device for "Valor Under Fire")
Good Conduct Medal
American Campaign medal
European African Middle Eastern Campaign Medal (With 4 Bronze Stars)
World War II Victory Medal

One of the greatest priviledges of my life was during a telephone conversation I had with former Governor Faubus just two months before his death in 1994. He had mentioned my father several times in his book, "In This Far Away Land." On this particular day, however, I was never prouder when the Governor told me that my father was "one heroic son-of-a-bitch!" but I already knew that.



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