Jefferson Scott Dotson – Captain, United States Air Force

Jefferson Scott Dotson was born on August 6, 1944 and joined the Armed Forces while in Pound, Virginia.

He served in the United States Air Force, COMMANDO SABRE DET 31 TFW, and attained the rank of Captain.

Jefferson Scott Dotson is listed as Missing in Action.

Courtesy of the United States Air Force: 25 October 2002

An Air Force fighter pilot missing in action during the Vietnam War was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery on October 25, 2002.

Captain Jefferson S. Dotson of Pound, Virginia, served during the Vietnam War with the 416th Tactical Fighter Squadron from Tuy Hoa Air Base, Republic of South Vietnam.

Dotson graduated from the Virginia Military Institute in 1966. He entered the Air Force in 1967 and deployed to South Vietnam the following year.

Early August 9, 1969, then-First Lieutenant Dotson and fellow pilot Captain Lee Gourley embarked on a forward air control mission in an F-100F Super Sabre to collect intelligence information along the Ho Chi Minh Trail.

Around 9:30 a.m., Gourley radioed in the aircraft's position, the two pilots' last contact with their unit. Some two hours later, their aircraft was declared missing. Search and rescue operations were conducted for the next two days without success.

Dotson was officially declared dead by the Air Force on April 26, 1976. He had been missing in action for nearly seven years and would have been 31 years old.

In December 2001, the U.S. government returned what were believed to be the remains of Dotson and Goruley. DNA tests confirmed those beliefs.

Dotson is survived by his mother, Margery Lee Dotson; his daughter, Crista Renee Dotson Plikat; his two sisters, Barbara Elkins and Sheila Cantrell; his brother, Otis Edward Dotson; and his former wife, Mary Ann Hollyfield Dotson Goetzel.

The remains of Air Force Captain Jefferson S. Dotson, are carried to his final resting place by members of the Army's Old Guard Caisson Platoon during a full-honors funeral at Arlington National Cemetery, D.C., October 25, 2002. Dotson, an F-100 Super Sabre pilot was declared missing in action 33 years ago when his fighter went down during a mission over the Ho Chi Min trail in central Laos. Dotson's remains were discovered this past spring near his jet's crash site, and were positively identified through DNA testing.
The remains of Air Force Capt. Jefferson S. Dotson, are carried to his final resting place by members of the U.S. Air Force Honor Guard during a full-honors funeral at Arlington National Cemetery. U.S. Air Force Photos

Special Escort for Long-Lost Flier

Air Force First Lieutenant Jefferson Scott “Scotty” Dotson was on a mission in his F-100F Super Sabreall over the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos in August 1969 when his aircraft disappeared.

Dotson and Captain Lee Gourley flew from Tuy Hoa Air Base in South Vietnam n August 9, 1969, on a reconnaissance mission over the supply route. The plane never showed up for a scheduled refueling.

Dotson, a Virginia native and 1966 graduate of Virginia Military Institute, was listed as missing in action until 1976, when he was declared killed in action. Gourley was also declared dead.

Forty-eight of Dotson's “Brother Rats” — VMI graduates from the Class of 1966 — gathered from across the nation last month at Arlington National Cemetery to welcome their classmate home.

Dotson, promoted to captain while he was on MIA status, was laid to rest with full military honors October 25 at Arlington. His family members and VMI classmates followed the horse-drawn caisson to the grave site.

A U.S. military team had found remains in Laos last year, and subsequent DNA testing at a laboratory in Hawaii identified them as belonging to Dotson and Gourley.

When Dotson disappeared, he left a 3-month-old daughter, Christa. She enlisted in the Air Force after graduating from high school.

“I did decide to join the Air Force because of my father,” said Christa Renee Dotson Plikat, who has since left the service but is married to an Air Force sergeant and living on a base in Britain.

Last month, when Dotson's remains were returned to Virginia, his daughter accompanied her father's remains from Hawaii for the trip home.

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