Brigadier General George Robert Dodson
George Robert Dodson was destined to significantly impact aviation in Oregon. Dodson earned his pilot’s license in 1933, and in 1939, he was elected governor of the National Aeronautics Association. That same year, he was appointed to the Oregon State Board of Aeronautics. In 1938, Dodson enlisted in the Army Air Corps Reserve and, within three years, was tasked with organizing an Oregon Air National Guard. He enlisted enough men to form the 123rd Observation Squadron and served as its first commander. With the start of World War II, Dodson took the 123rd to Fort Lewis, Washington, before commanding the 70th Tactical Reconnaissance Group and the 89th Reconnaissance Training Wing. Dodson went overseas in August 1944 as commander of the 1st Liaison Group in Burma and later with the 3rd Combat Cargo Group. During his time in Burma, he amassed 413 hours of combat flying. After the war, Dodson returned to the Oregon National Guard and commanded the newly created 142nd Fighter Group. He was responsible for organizing the Air National Guard program for the state. Later after promotion to Brigadier General, Dodson was named Chief of Staff for Air. Dodson developed a policy for the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve at a national level, advising the Chief of Staff and Secretary of the Air Force. In 1957, he was elected Secretary of the National Guard Association of the United States, becoming the first Air Guardsman to hold such high office. His decorations included the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Bronze Star, the Air Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, and several theater service medals. George Robert Dodson passed away in December 1958, having distinguished himself in service to his country and the state of Oregon as a founding father of today’s Oregon Air National Guard.