SSGT James Vernon Dorsey was killed in action on 5 February 1969, when the EC-47 aircraft, callsign CAP 72, on which he was serving as an Airborne Morse Systems Operator, was downed by enemy fire over Laos.
SSGT Dorsey was born on 1 December 1945, in Washington, D.C., and graduated from Archbishop Catholic High School in 1963. SSGT Dorsey enlisted in the U.S. Air Force on 4 November 1965. He completed basic training at Lackland AFB, TX and Morse Code training at Keesler AFB, MS. SSGT Dorsey was then assigned to the 6918th Security Squadron, Hakata Air Station, Japan. On 30 October 1968, he was assigned to Det 2, 6994th Security Squadron, Pleiku AB, Vietnam.
SSGT Dorsey was posthumously promoted to the grade of Staff Sergeant on 1 June 1969. His awards and decorations include the Distinguished Flying Cross, Purple Heart (Posthumously), Air Medal, and Vietnam Service Medal.
SSGT Dorsey was initially interred in a communal grave at the Jefferson Barracks Cemetery, but DNA testing allowed for a positive identification of his remains and he was formally interred in Section 62, Site 353, Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, VA. His name is engraved on the Vietnam Veteran Memorial Wall on Panel 33W, line 61.
In November 1987, building 1522 on Misawa AB, Japan was renamed Dorsey Memorial Hall in SSGT Dorsey’s honor.