Young Man Killed in WWII Honored by Stockton Springs 69 Years Later
American Legion Post 157 is named after the first young man from Stockton Springs to be killed in World War II. Shortly after his death, Sgt. Jerry Dobbins was forever commemorated within the building.Dobbins’ niece Chris Wheaton said, “He loved his family. He loved Stockton Springs. He was just a small town Maine boy.”But it wasn’t until last year, that the town learned just how much of a hero he was. “He saved my life and I’ll always owe him that,” said WWII veteran Charles Roth.Several American Legion members had a phone call with Roth, the sole living survivor of the B-17 plane crash that took Dobbins’ life. He explained how their plane called “Beats Me!” was flying a mission near France when their plane was hit with a bomb.”When the plane got hit it turned upside down and people fell out of the airplane. I took over the left hand waist gunner position,” explained Roth.They were flying at an altitude that required crewmembers to wear oxygen tubes. In the last moments before the plane went down, Dobbins gave an oxygen tube to Roth so he could parachute to safety, instead of grabbing his own parachute and exiting the plane himself.”So I put that hose in my mouth and I think that’s why I credit Jerry Dobbins for saving my life,” said Roth.69 years later, Roth travelled from Colorado to Stockton Springs to join in a service on Saturday commemorating Dobbins’ heroism. But he’s not the only one who travelled far to be at the event. Dobbins siblings have passed, but their children, from all over the US, came to honor him.”Most of our cousins are here representing their families and they’ve travelled from California, Arizona, Wisconsin, Florida, South Carolina, so you can see how important it is after all these years. He’s our hero,” said Wheaton.With Roth’s help, American Legion members have filled out the necessary documents and submitted them to the Department of Defense so that Dobbins might receive a posthumous award of the Distinguished Flying Cross.Roth said, “I really admire him for what part he played in our service.”They hope with this award and this commemoration ceremony, his service won’t be forgotten.