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  • Writer's pictureSamantha Alcaraz

Jack E. Dodson - Regent Court Senior Living

Jack E. Dodson from Regent Court Senior Living

Jack E. Dodson - Jack and His Wife

Interviewer: How did you meet Jack?

Betty (Jack’s wife): Well I’ve known him since he was like this.

Interviewer: You met as children?

Betty: Yeah

Jack: Yeah we graduated from a little high school in the Ozarks of Missouri.

Betty: We graduated from high school. Same class, Same school. He married somebody else and I married somebody else. But when I became a widow and he was single then, we got married. So we’ve been married almost thirty years. 

Jack: Well the war separated us. There was only thirty three people in that high school graduating class and within four months I was out of the area in Grand Island, Nebraska working for the Federal Communications Commission: Intelligence Division. I was seventeen when they hired me.

Jack E. Dodson - In Talks

"The things that were being talked about in intelligence and operations, these were the things I was hearing. Particularly, the discussions on the ferocity of the Japanese. I kept hearing they will never surrender because it’s a dishonor. They would rather die than surrender and they will die if they can take somebody with them. I did learn from them also that there was talk about invading Kyosho, Japan in November of 1945 but they had no idea how many lives would be lost and they thought it could extend the war by another sixteen months and that came into play on the decisions."

Jack E. Dodson - Working for the FCC

Well we had two duties: sitting in a cubicle with six Hallicrafter radios and a list of the frequencies we were supposed to be monitoring, trying to pick up illegal transmissions and so on and so forth and recording those that were in code. And then we had a direction finding shack and you did your duty. We all took turns and in the radio shack we could monitor all across America. Emergency, SOS calls, radio calls, aircraft ships, everything else. And we not only could record them, we had a screen we could locate and we could call intelligence on a phone we had there and tell them where the SOS was coming from.

Jack E. Dodson - Family and Education

“From the time I started to school in the first grade until I got out of high school we had moved seven times into rented homes. Five dollar a month rent, no running water, a well, outdoor privy (toilet). No electricity, no radio and moved with a horse drawn wagon. My dad worked in the lead and zinc mines in that area and the work was not steady so the government came in and we got government food. And twelve miles away in the forty thousand population city of Joplin, I got into a government school for radio and I got an amateur license. I got a license for aeronautics, for communicating with aircraft. I got a license, oh I got five different communications licenses. On paper they look good and I learned how to send and receive international Morse code over twenty five words a minute and that’s what got me into Grand Island Nebraska.”

Interviewer: That’s why the FCC wanted to hire a seventeen year old!

Jack: Yeah

Jack E. Dodson - Jack’s Secret Copies

“Here is something I wasn’t supposed to do. Copies of every mission we flew. I made notes. We were told that the only record of these were to be made in intelligence and operations but they couldn’t take away your pencil.”

Interview: Why did you do that?

Jack: I was twenty years old, I was seemingly protected. I saw death around me. I just wanted a record of what was going on and I felt that if I didn’t keep a record then all of this will be lost.

Interviewer: what would have happened to you if you would have gotten caught? 

Jack: They probably would’ve reprimanded me but made me continue service and maybe give me a dishonorable release.

Jack E. Dodson - Jack’s Unit

Interviewer: Is this your unit crest?

Jack: That was the symbol representing our bomb group. Our commander was Colonel Kelly and we were called Kelly’s Cobras. So you’ve got a striking snake, Seventh Air Force. In Latin it says “The last shall be first.” That was his idea cause when I’d look at a mission I always thought I don’t want to be first.

Transcription and Audio Edit by Ileana Chavez.

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