Speaking service: Lee Dotson

Lee Dotson

Lee Dotson


Age: 94

Occupation: Retired auto mechanic

Service: Four years, World War II

Branch: Air Force

“I was in the 8th Air Force overseas. I was in the 445th bomb group and that’s B24s and I was a gunner.

“I did 30 missions, which was a tour at the time and I returned to the United States. At that time the war was starting to be over anyway.

“I ended up teaching in ... Boise, Idaho and I was an instructor on gunnery and engineering for B24 men, those who want to be crew members.

“Yes, I was (wounded). We had a mission and we got shot up pretty badly by enemy fighters. A 20 millimeter exploded against my gun mount and the shrapnel sprayed all over me, my stomach and everything else. 

“Of course I had a flack vest on so it put creases in the manganese steel of that flack vest.

“The rest of the projectile went up into the cockpit I think.

“We were bombing an airfield there in Osnabruck, Germany.

“It all brings back memories.

“It was difficult on one hand (after the war) but I raised a family and so forth and so on. I lived quite a busy life. I was in automotive stuff.

“(Veterans Day) sort of celebrates my service, which makes me feel good. I think about all that went on during the war, all the wonderful people that I met when I was in the service and were companions and buddies of mine in the service. It was good.

“Some of them were wonderful soldiers that I met during my tour of service. I enjoy reviewing them in my mind.

“I think the general public should think about the things we all did in order to keep the United States independent so the people here could go on with their business and families could grow up.

“I know some of these (new veterans) went through a heck of a lot more than I ever did because the war they are fighting is a different war entirely than the one I was in.

“World War II wasn’t the type of war we have now.

“We used to call them ‘ground-pounders,’ so we didn’t go through some of the misery they went through, which I was sort of thankful for too. I could fall a long ways if something happened, but on the other hand it is pretty nasty on the ground.

“Those guys coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan ... they have had to face a lot of different things than we had to. We never had to worry about stepping outside ... of our base and ... running into one of those street bombs and so forth.

“They have got it pretty tough that way.”


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