Elsmore native pays tribute

Jerry Dodson grew up in Elsmore. He's now a command sergeant major in the U.S. Army stationed in Japan, and was invited to take part in a wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery.



October 21, 2021 - 10:00 AM

Jerry Dodson, far left, lays a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery earlier this month. Courtesy photo

Jerry Dodson, who grew up in Elsmore, was selected to participate in a wreath laying ceremony earlier this month at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C.

Dodson, a command sergeant major in the U.S. Army stationed in Japan, was in Washington as part of the Association of United States Army (AUSA) Conference, and was offered the opportunity to take part in the ceremony, along with Warrant Officer Nemoto, a Japan native.

Jerry Dodson, far right, salutes the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.Courtesy photo

The pair have known each other since Dodson and his family arrived in Japan about a year ago. Dodson and Nemoto “spend a lot of time continuing to strengthen our bilateral relationship between the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force and U.S. Army Japan” Dodson explained in an email to the Register. “We were both extremely honored and it meant a lot to be able to participate in the ceremony with one of our strongest allies in the Indo-Pacific region.”

Dodson is based at Camp Zama in Japan — about 20 miles outside Tokyo — with his wife, Kimberly. They have two daughters, Kyley, who attends college, and Katy, who is attending school at Camp Zama.

Dodson has served for more than 26 years, and hopes to serve “for several more.”

“My family and I enjoy being overseas, and being in the Army has provided me a lot of different opportunities to travel around the world,” Dodson said. “Being able to travel around the globe and spend time immersed in other cultures and experience food from our travels is just one of the things that I like about being in the Army.

“To be honest, that wasn’t my original plan when I started this journey a few weeks out of high school,” he continued. “I think this came as a surprise to not only me, but my family as well. I only joined for three years, I was convinced that this would allow me to earn college money and figure out what I wanted to do with my life.

“It just so happens that I found my niche and I can’t imagine ever doing anything else.

“Being in the Army has provided me the opportunity to serve with some of the most patriotic Americans this country has to offer,” he said. “And I have been entrusted to lead our nation’s sons and daughters in combat. There is no higher honor in my opinion.”