Colonel in the Air Force
|Born:||January 4, 1936, Long Island, NY|
|Buried:||Arlington National Cemetery|
• "Colonel John E. Dickson, Jr. initially served with the United States Air Force (USAF) Strategic Air Command. He first qualified as a navigator, then progressed to advanced electronics training. Colonel Dickson flew as an Electronics Warfare Officer on the EB-47 Stratojet, then as the Defensive Systems Operator on the B-58 Hustler, America's first supersonic bomber. From 1966-68, he studied and earned a Masters Degree in Electrical Engineering at the Air Force Institute of Technology, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.
During his tour of duty in Vietnam, Colonel Dickson served as an Electronics Warfare Officer on the EB-66 models C and E aircraft. He flew 100 combat missions out of Takhli RTAFB, Thailand, and is credited with locating the first enemy SAM site in Laos during the war. Colonel Dickson was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for this achievement.
After the war, Colonel Dickson served with the 6514th Test Squadron and played a leadership role with the development of new technologies associated with remotely piloted aircraft. Some of this technology is now common to the many unmanned aerial vehicles now in use by our military.
After being promoted to the rank of Colonel in 1978, John Dickson went on to become the Director of Safety for the Eastern Space and Missile Range at Patrick AFB, Florida. He ensured launch pad and range safety during the first 18 Space Shuttle flights at Kennedy Space Center. Colonel Dickson also oversaw many successful launches of unmanned commercial and military satellites at Cape Canaveral. He participated in developmental test flights of the US Navy Trident and USAF Peacekeeper ICBM's.
Following his retirement from the USAF in 1985, John Dickson played a key role in the engineering of various government-sponsored space projects. He was employed by the defense contractor, SRS Technologies, in the city of Huntsville, Alabama. During this period, John enjoyed such pursuits such as astronomy and gunsmithing. He built an observatory for his telescope, and later a complete workshop to craft muzzle loading arms, his great passion. John was an expert shot, and had won recognition for hitting targets out to 1,000 yards with his prized muzzle-loading Parker-Hale rifle. John had also been building or working with personal computers since the 1970's. He spent many years upgrading these and writing computer programs. The absence of his email traffic is still greatly felt to this day. John is survived by both his family and his very loyal Border Collie, Tara." - Dickson
• Graduated from the US Naval Academy in 1958 however his career was in US Air Force (27 years) - Tributes
• After military retirement he worked SRS Technologies, in Huntsville, Alabama (1985-1998) - Tributes
• Son of John Geoffrey and Tania Anne. - Tributes
• Married Margie Goodwin in 1960 - Tributes
• Father of John Geoffrey and Tania Anne - Tributes
• Accomplished classical pianist (Julliard for 14 years) - Tributes
• Here are some messages offered to Col. Dickenson's family when he passed. We have not included attributions for the sake of privacy, but we wish to include the sentiments to account for the way he will be remembered:
"I met John at Takhli Air Base Thailand in 1968 and we developed a lasting friendship that I will always cherish. I didn't have a blood brother and considered John as a real brother who cared and could be counted on."
"John was a real friend from high school and then via the internet and telephone since re-discovering our locations. We shared many hours of musical performance. John at the piano, Anne his mother on the violin, me the baritone, and his dad "Big John" as we called him directing the entire affair. On occasions John and I entertained for various groups in and around our home town. I well remember once sitting in a front row seat while Johnny played the Grieg Concerto as guest soloist with the Huntington Tristate Symphony Orchestra. He was just a sophomore in high school at the time."
"It was an honor to have been with John in rifle competition."
"It was a pleasure to know, work, and play with John. A real gentleman whose professional abilities, artistic skill, and humor were worthy of emulation."
"We knew John from Oak Ridge Matches. We will miss him very much for I could never tell when he was pulling my leg, until he winked."
"John was a great co-worker and boss at SRS and also a valued friend."
"John was a very special person. I am glad I had a chance to get to know him and share his love for muzzle loaders. He will be missed by all of us." - TributesRelated Links:
• Dickson - Information contributed by Colonel Dickson's son, John Dickson, August 1, 2013.
• Tributes - Obituary