Graveside services with full military honors will be held for First Lieutenant Robert Franklin Dees at 1:00 p.m., Saturday, January 22, 2011, at Longstreet Historical Cemetery also known as (Ebenezer Baptist Church Cemetery), at the intersection of County Road 233 and County Road 36 West (Marley Mill Rd. becomes County Rd. 36 West), Ozark, Alabama with a U.S. Air Force Chaplain and Reverend Joe Underwood officiating. A POW/MIA table ceremony will be at 5 p.m., Friday, January 21, 2011, at Fuqua-Bankston Funeral Home. The DAV Chapter #94, Ozark, Alabama will preside over the ceremony. The family will receive friends following the...
Graveside services with full military honors will be held for First Lieutenant Robert Franklin Dees at 1:00 p.m., Saturday, January 22, 2011, at Longstreet Historical Cemetery also known as (Ebenezer Baptist Church Cemetery), at the intersection of County Road 233 and County Road 36 West (Marley Mill Rd. becomes County Rd. 36 West), Ozark, Alabama with a U.S. Air Force Chaplain and Reverend Joe Underwood officiating. A POW/MIA table ceremony will be at 5 p.m., Friday, January 21, 2011, at Fuqua-Bankston Funeral Home. The DAV Chapter #94, Ozark, Alabama will preside over the ceremony. The family will receive friends following the ceremony until 7 p.m. Fuqua-Bankston Funeral Home, Ozark, Alabama, will direct the burial rites assisted by the United States Air Force and the Disabled American Veteran Chapters.
First Lieutenant Dees, the son of the late Charles Clayton and Ola Land Dees, was born October 16, 1928 in Moultrie, Georgia. He was of the Baptist faith and attended Mount Olive Baptist Church in Moultrie, Georgia.
First Lieutenant Dees graduated from Colquitt County High School in 1945. While at Colquitt County High School, he was active in academics, athletics and Future Farmers of America.
Upon graduation, First Lieutenant Dees was awarded the Margaret Pidcock Citizenship Award and a scholarship to Georgia Military Academy in College Park, Georgia. After graduating from Georgia Military Academy, First Lieutenant Dees enlisted into the United States Air Force. First Lieutenant Dees was assigned officer candidate school and flight training at Lackland Air Force Base, Randolph Field, and Williams Air Force Base.
First Lieutenant Dees was sent to North Korea where he became a member of the 430th Fighter Bomber Squadron (196th FBS) 474th Fighter Bomber Group. He was a pilot of an F-84E Thunderjet fighter. On October 9, 1952, while in North Korea on a combat mission, his aircraft received a direct hit by anti-aircraft fire. On December 31, 1953, First Lieutenant Dees was listed as missing in action and presumed dead.
From September to November in 1954, following the armistice, the North Korean government repatriated remains of U.S. and allied soldiers during Operation Glory. On November 9, 1954, remains designated as N-17120 were turned over to United Nation officials.
On April 22, 1955, the remains were analyzed at the U.S. Army's Central Identification Unit in Kokura, Japan. The Central Identification Unit concluded that the remains likely were those of a pilot (or aircrew) due to the presence of portions of a flight suit and a pneumatic life preserver; however, they were unable to associate them to a specific individual. On September 29, 1955, the remains were reanalyzed and again found to be unidentifiable.
In 1956, the remains were re-designated as X-17120 and were buried as Unknown Remains in Section U, Grave No. 901, at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, in Hawaii.
Beginning in the late 1990's, a review of the Central Identification Units files pertaining to the unknown graves at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific was undertaken. The file for X-17120 was examined, and a tentative association to Robert Franklin Dees was established.
In 1999, DNA material was requested from a family member.
On June 3, 2010, Grave No. 901 was exhumed. On June 29, 2010, a tooth sample was submitted to the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory for mitochondrial DNA analysis. On July 7, 2010, three bone samples were sent for analysis. Although the remains did not yield usable mitochondrial DNA sequence data, a reevaluation of the skeletal and dental remains and the circumstantial evidence led to association to First Lieutenant Robert Dees to the exclusion of other reasonable candidates.
The identifying evidence was presented to a surviving niece and his three nephews December 21, 2010 by the Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operation Center. The evidence was accepted by his family and the remains of this war hero will be returned to his family and comrades January 21, 2011.
First Lieutenant Robert Dees remains will be escorted by a fellow U.S. Air Force Comrade from Pearl Harbor-Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii to Pensacola, Florida and thereafter until services are concluded at Longstreet Historical Cemetery (Ebenezer Baptist Church Cemetery). In addition to his parents other deceased immediate family members include two brothers, John Sumner Dees, Derby, KS, and Charles Harry Dees, Sr., Ozark, AL; sister-in-law, Margie Lewis Dees, Ozark, AL; and niece Donna Elizabeth Dees, Derby, KS.
Survivors include a niece, Linda K. Dees, Ozark, AL; and nephews, Charles Harry Dees, Jr., Ozark, AL, Robert Charles Dees, Huntsville, AL, and Douglas Hardy Dees, Wichita, KS., a sister-in-law, Barbara Hill Dees, Derby, KS.
Autobiographical History by Robert Franklin Dees
I was born October 16, 1928 and reared in a small town five miles from Moultrie, Georgia. I attended Moultrie High School where I was a member of Hi-Y, FFA and X-Club. I played on the school basketball and baseball teams, as well as intramural football and track.
As a junior, I was president of my class and treasurer of my senior class. I was secretary of the Moultrie Chapter FFA while a junior and president of the chapter as a senior, and also president of the Georgia Association of FFA. While in high school, I worked odd jobs and on the farm. In my senior year I entered a public speaking contest and won second place. My senior class elected me "the one most likely to succeed" of 174 seniors. Upon graduation, I received a citizenship award, as well as a two year scholarship to Georgia Military Academy Junior College.
At GMA I studied general subjects, with intentions of attending the University later. While at GMA I played varsity football, basketball and baseball, and was sports editor of the school paper, a member of the glee club and participated in the intramural boxing. I was a member of the Eagle Roll, the Honor Roll Society of GMA.
After graduation from GMA I worked as a lifeguard and assistant camp director of a summer camp during the summer of 1947. After that very enjoyable episode, due to lack of funds for more college, I went home and started work for Swift and Company as a suggestion analysis man for the suggestion department.
In September 1948 I entered in the U.S.A.F. and had basic training at Sheppard AFB, Texas. From there I went to weather observer school at Chanute AIF. After completion of the school, I worked as a weather observer at Goodman AFB, Kentucky, for two months. In July 1949, I was transferred to Lackland AFB to attend AFOCS. I was graduated and commissioned a Second Lieutenant December 16, 1949. As a distinguished graduate of OCS I went on a competitive tour of duty for a regular commission at Lackland AFB. I received the regular commission after meeting the board in June 1950.
In August, I entered the pilot training program at Randolph AFB with Class 51-F. I was transferred to Williams AFB for advanced training in April 1951. I was eliminated from flying on June 28. Until being reinstated in Class 52-B, I remained at Williams and played baseball with the Williams Jets and assisted in instructing the cadet functional swimming classes. I was promoted to First Lieutenant September 7, 1951.
My father is a grade foreman for Colquitt County. I have two brothers, one who is twenty and now in the US Army, and one who is 18, now in college. My mother died in January 1950.
As for hobbies, I like fishing and hunting. I also like swimming as well as most sports. I'm quite normal, so I like girls, and enjoy good parties like all true AF men. My greatest ambition at present is to become a good fighter pilot. Someday I expect to marry and have a large family.