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First Name: Robert

Last Name: Dixon

Birthplace: New York City, NY, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Air Force (1947 - present)



Home of Record: New York, NY
Middle Name: James



Date of Birth: 09 April 1920

Date of Death: 21 March 2003

Rank: General

Years Served: 1943-1978
Robert James Dixon

   
Engagements:
•  World War II (1941 - 1945)
•  Korean War (1950 - 1953)
•  Vietnam War (1960 - 1973)

Biography:

Robert James Dixon
General, U.S. Air Force

Robert James Dixon was born on 9 April 1920 in New York City, NY. He graduated from Dartmouth College in June 1941 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Literature.

Military Career

In 1941, Dixon entered pilot training in the Royal Canadian Air Force and in November 1942 was commissioned a pilot officer (Second Lieutenant). He then graduated with a navigator rating from the RCAF Astro Navigation School. After completing Spitfire training at Dyce, Scotland, he was assigned to the 541st Squadron Royal Air Force, a Photo Reconnaissance Squadron at RAF Benson, England.

In September 1943 Dixon transferred to the U.S. Army Air Forces and assigned to the 7th Photographic Group, Eighth Air Force, European Theater of Operations. In 1944 Dixon assumed command of the 14th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron, 7th Photographic Group, which had Mark XI Spitfires, P-38s and P-51s.

On 14 February 1945, then-Captain Dixon was piloting a Spitfire aircraft on a mission to photograph heavily-defended oil refineries at Merseburg, Germany. CPT Dixon flew alone below the clouds to 15,000 feet where his single engine plane was hit by flak and set on fire. CPT Dixon stayed with the smoking aircraft and, despite the eminent danger of explosion, radioed important observations to his fighter cover. CPT Dixon remained with the critically damaged aircraft until he was able to give his fighter escort a corrected flight course to home base, then bailed out. By his heroic action, the military operation was successfully accomplished, changing the priority of a vitally important target, thereby saving the lives of Allied airmen. CPT Dixon's courageous actions and extraordinary heroism that day earned him the U.S. Army's second highest award for valor, the Distinguished Service Cross.

After parachuting from his plane, CPT Dixon was captured by German forces and retained as a Prisoner of War until released to U.S. Forces in May 1945.

During World War II, he flew missions in 4 different types of aircraft for a total of 235 combat flying hours in 65 missions.

After hospitalization, Dixon served at Will Rogers Field, Oklahoma City, OK, and Rapid City, SD. He was an instructor at the West Point Preparatory School in 1947 and then was assigned as Group and Wing Personnel Officer for the 82nd Fighter Wing, Grenier Field, NH.

From November 1948 to 1953, Dixon served in the Directorate of Personnel, Headquarters Strategic Air Command. He next served 11 months in Korea with the 4th Fighter-Interceptor Wing as Wing Inspector and then as Commander of the 335th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron. He completed 28 combat missions before the Korean armistice.

Dixon returned to the U.S. in 1954. He was assigned to Headquarters U.S. Air Force and subsequently served as Assistant to the Deputy Chief of staff, Plans and Operations, for National Security Council affairs. In this capacity he was Air Force Action Officer with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the State Department and the National Security Council.

He graduated from the Air War College in 1959 and was assigned to Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, Paris, France, as Staff Missile Planner. Reassigned to the Pentagon in 1962, he served as Assistant Deputy Director for War Plans and later as Assistant for Joint and National Security Council Matters, Deputy Chief of Staff, Plans and Operations. In this latter capacity, Dixon was the Air Force Planner for Joint Chiefs of Staff matters.

In September 1965, Dixon was assigned to the 45th Air Division, Strategic Air Command, at Loring Air Force Base, ME, as Division Commander with B-52/KC-135 units at Loring and Dow Air Force bases, Harmon and Goose air bases. From July 1967 until July 1969, he was assigned as Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff, Personnel for Military Personnel, and Commander, U.S. Air Force Military Personnel Center, Randolph Air Force Base, TX. While in this assignment, he received the 1969 Eugene M. Zuckert Management Award.

Dixon was transferred to the Republic of Vietnam in July 1969 as Vice Commander, Seventh Air Force. He flew 36 combat missions during this tour in Southeast Asia. On 1 August 1970, he was promoted to Lieutenant General and assumed the duties of Deputy Chief of Staff, Personnel, Headquarters U.S. Air Force. He served in that position until 1 October 1973, at which time he was promoted to General and assumed Command of Tactical Air Command.

General Dixon retired from the Air Force on 1 May 1978.

Medals, Awards and Badges

Army Distinguished Service Cross
Air Force Distinguished Service Medal with 3 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters
Legion of Merit with Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster
Distinguished Flying Cross
Bronze Star Medal (Merit)
Purple Heart
Air Medal with 2 Silver & 1 Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster
Presidential Unit Citation
American Campaign Medal
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal
World War II Victory Medal
National Defense Service Medal with Bronze Star
Korean Service Medal
Vietnam Service Medal
Air Force Longevity Service Award with Silver and 3 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters
Vietnam Cross of Gallantry Medal
Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation Medal
Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation Medal
United Nations Service Medal
Vietnam Campaign Medal
Republic of Korea War Service Medal
Command Pilot Badge

He also received the British Distinguished Flying Cross and the French Croix d'Officier de la L├ęgion d'honneur.

He was rated a Command Pilot and accumulated over 6,000 flying hours. Dixon flew 65 combat missions in WWII; 28 combat missions in Korea; and 36 combat missions in Vietnam

Distinguished Service Cross Citation

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to Captain (Air Corps) Robert James Dixon (ASN: 0-886100), United States Army Air Forces, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy while serving as a Pilot of a Spitfire aircraft of the 14th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron, 7th Photographic Group, EIGHTH Air Force, photographing heavily defended oil refineries as Merseburg, Germany, on 14 February 1945. Captain Dixon went down alone below the clouds to 15,000 feet where his single engine aircraft was hit by flak and set on fire. Completely disregarding his personal safety, Captain Dixon stayed with the smoking aircraft and despite the eminent danger of explosion, radioed important observations to his fighter cover. Captain Dixon remained with the critically damaged aircraft until he was able to give his fighter escort a corrected flight course to home base, then bailed out. By this heroic act, the military operation was successfully accomplished, changing the priority of a vitally important target, thereby saving the lives of allied airmen. Captain Dixon's heroism and his determination to complete this mission in complete disregard of the odds against him exemplifies the highest traditions of the Armed Forces of the United States.

General Orders: Headquarters, U.S. Army Air Forces in Europe, General Orders No. 134 (October 14, 1945)

Death and Burial

General Robert James Dixon died on 21 March 2003 at Fair Oaks Ranch, Bexar County, TX. He is buried at the United States Air Force Academy Cemetery in Colorado Springs, CO.



Honoree ID: 705   Created by: MHOH

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