761st Tank Battalion and Allied Veterans Association

CPT Dotson awarded the Army Commendation Medal, 20th Station Army Hospital, Nurnberg Germany, 18 April 1966

My assignment to the 20th Station U.S. Army Hospital Nurnberg, Germany became my greatest challenge and a test of my survival skills in times of strife. When I arrived to the Hospital I felt unwanted and I was mostly tolerated. THIS WAS A TIME when the civil rights movement in the United States was becoming painful and ugly before the world. Usually our military is a microcosm of our society. As a member of this society we embody its traditions, customs, mores, habits, struggles, good fortune, and all that which makes us proud of our Country.
I was responsible for all administration of the Neuropsychiatric clinic. Many military personnel and dependents had problems coping with various types of situational stress and avoided coming to the clinic because there was a stigma attached to anyone being seen at the clinic. Military personnel felt such visits to the clinic had a negative impact upon their military career. Even when martial counseling was severely indicated.
I perform my job very well in spite of lack of support from my superiors and Command. I felt the extra duties that were put upon me were to demoralize me and "break my spirit". The more they oppressed me the harder I worked without complaining. I said to myself "I am not giving up or giving in. Dammit I will not be forced away from here, I'm making my stand here, no matter what."
I refused to focus on the negative atmosphere I had to operate in.
I made time to work with troubled teenagers and the school teachers who had problems coping with them. I worked with the teenagers and teachers in group counseling and group therapy sessions. I wrote a paper regarding the successful outcome of these group session, the paper was published in one of the Army Medical Journals. The Psychiatric Consultant in Europe recommend that other psychiatric facilities use this paper as a model to work with troubled youth.
I was having a great measure of success in my present environment until my daughter 8 years of age was slapped by the Chaplin's son while riding the bus to school. He was acting out the prevalent negative feelings of the community. All the Army Officers who worked at the hospital lived in this community.
I bypass all Chains of Command when I went to Nurnberg Army Headquarters requesting to speak to the General to be relocated from the community where we lived. My request was granted. My Hospital superiors were furious because I did not give them a chance to address the problem, etc. They were embarrassed, and "it didn't look good for the Command".
I later learned I received three very low OER (Officer Evaluation Report), as punishment for what I did. When my tour of duty at Nurnberg was completed, I went to Bailey Crossroads, VA, where all 201 Files were kept. I requested to review my file and saw the low Evaluation Reports (superior officers were not required to let me see what they had written). Now I knew these efficiency reports were punishment for bypassing my Hospital Chain of Command incident.
These unfair evaluation reports impeded my future promotions. I had to find a way to remove them from my personnel file, which I did, four or five years later.
Before I left Nurnberg, Letters of Commendation from numerous people and units I worked close with were sent to me through my Command, praising me for the outstanding work I had done to help them, most of these letters I never saw. Major William "Bill" Mack, a black social work officer assigned to the 4th Armor Division was present when some of the letters came in and he learned of others that had arrived to Command. He went to my immediate supervisor and said "I know you are going to put AARON in for the Green Hornet, i.e. the Army Commendation Medal, after all these wonderful letters have come in about him". To my surprise I later received the Army Commendation Medal.
As I look back upon my military career my Nurnberg experience was one of great value. I experienced and learned so much which help mold and developed my character, as a man and an Officer in the United States Army Medical Service Corp.


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