In 1944, Charles Frederick “Fred” Dickerson graduated from Centennial High School, Pueblo, CO, and enlisted in the Army, serving stateside until receiving his appointment to West Point in 1946. Commissioned in the Infantry, upon graduation Fred married Virginia King of New York before leaving for the Far East with the 24th Infantry Division. Serving on the line at the Pusan Perimeter, he sustained a bullet wound. Upon his return from the hospital, he found his unit advancing into North Korea. Fred continued to serve there another 15 months and was awarded the Silver Star and Purple Heart.
From 1952 to 1956, Fred was assigned to the Infantry School at Ft. Benning, GA, where two of his children, Richard and Elizabeth, were born. He next served at Schofield Barracks, HI, first with USAR Hawaii, then as a company commander in the 25th Infantry Division.
In the late 1950s, Fred became an assistant professor of military science in ROTC at City College of New York, Bronx, NY, where the family welcomed another daughter, Dianne. In 1963, Korea called again, and Fred shipped out to serve as the executive officer, lst Battalion, 5th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division. He returned a year later to attend Command and General Staff College, followed by two years at HQ, Fourth Army, Ft. Sam Houston, TX.
After studying Italian at the Language Institute in Washington, DC, the family traveled to Rome, where Fred worked with the Military Assistance Advisory Group, earning a Commendation Medal. The 1970s opened with Fred with the Military Assistance Command, Viet Nam, working to expedite U.S. withdrawal. His final duty was at Ft. Monroe, VA, with Training and Doctrine Command. He retired in May 1973 to Aurora, CO, and studied business at Denver’s Metro State College.
Throughout the next two decades, he helped raise four grandchildren and enjoyed gardening, home improvement, and financial investment. He also became quite a chef (surely inspired by his time in Italy) and kept regular contact with many of his military comrades. His only sibling, Don Dickerson, SFC U.S. Army (Retired), passed away 15 Sep 2005.
Fred's family and friends mourn his passing and hold his memory in highest regard. We all miss him and will never forget him.
We wish him peace.
-Son Richard F. Dickerson
Reminiscences submitted by classmates and friends:
Fred was a superb [ROTC] instructor, whose witticisms and overall good nature gained the attention and respect of the cadets, who understood the underlying seriousness of his teaching because it was backed by his personal combat experiences...In field training exercises, Fred was in his element, planning realistic maneuvers and providing detailed and constructive critiques of each cadet’s performance...My family had become very close to Fred, Ginny, and their fine family, and we kept in touch over the years. I shall always remember Fred as one of my closest friends.
—COL (Ret.) Robert E. Crowley ’46
Like a first girlfriend, first kiss, or first car, I will never forget my first company commander, CPT Charles Dickerson, Company C, 2-21st Infantry, 25th Infantry Division. From the day I reported in, his calm demeanor and military bearing served as a warm welcome to my new family: my military family. He took this second lieutenant under his wing, teaching me things I had not been taught in IOLC, things that later I passed on to young officers under my command. He taught me that the Army takes care of its people...CPT Dickerson was a father figure, mentor, and a great example of what leadership is all about. Although he was the “old man,” I knew he would be a true friend.
—COL (Ret.) Joe DiGiacinto
...Our first encounter after graduation was memorable. In late August 1950, five Class of ’50 second lieutenants (DeGraf, Dreisonstok, Warner, Ufner, and Pritchett) were on their way to join the 21st Infantry Regiment “Gimlets” just west of Pohang, Korea. As we rode in the back of the 2 V ton truck, John Ufner, Fred’s roommate at West Point, provided us with bravado comments all the way from Taegu. Suddenly John said, “Here comes the meat wagon (a litter jeep).” As our truck pulled over to the side of the narrow road to let the litter jeep pass, we all looked down to see Fred on the stretcher, covered in blood and in obvious pain. Fred had preceded us to Korea by a couple of weeks. At that moment, the war became very personal, and it was the last comment John Ufner made for some time!
In 1959, Fred and I crossed paths again when we both commanded rifle companies at Schofield Barracks. There, I got to know and respect Fred’s leadership abilities. Regardless of the situation, his great sense of humor shone. His dedication, professionalism, and dependability were displayed in the training and field exercises we conducted together at Kahuku and Pohakaloa, and the soldiers of Company C were outwardly proud of their commander!
Fred and I were in the same CGSC class.
...We renewed our friendship through class parties and social events. Fred still had his great sense of humor. In the computer age, Fred and I kept in touch via e-mail. When Fred became ill, Ginny kept us apprised of each other’s activities and passed along our many e-mail jokes.
God saw you were getting tired and
a cure was not to be.
With tearful eyes, we watched you
suffer and saw you fade away.
Although we loved you dearly, we could not ask you to stay.
A Golden Heart stopped beating,
working hands put to rest.
God broke our hearts to prove to us
that He only takes the best.
—Author unknown Fred was a great soldier and friend.
—Bud Pritchett '50
- Mrs. Charles F. Dickerson