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Charles Randall Dotson

"It follows then as certain as that night succeeds the day, that without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive, and with it, everything honorable and glorious."

George Washington

Navy Seaman Second Class Charles Randall Dotson was born July 15, 1916, in Mt. Lookout, Fayette County, West Virginia, to Oscar Vincent and Myrtle McClung Dotson. Charles was the oldest child in a family that came to include brothers Randolph and Billy Burke and sisters Dixie (married name: Mrs. Fred Lair) and Patsy. Prior to residing in Fayette County, the Dotsons had lived in Nicholas County, where Oscar and Myrtle were married in 1915 in Summersville. Oscar was apparently a coal miner or loader, and, according to the 1940 Federal Census, the family was by that time firmly established in Jodie, where the children received their education.

On December 10, 1938, Charles Randall Dotson married Ina Vivian Boles, daughter of Roy Taylor and Daisy Steele Boles, with J. N. Varnell presiding. West Virginia marriage records show that he was 22 and she 20 at the time of their marriage, and he stated that he was a miner by occupation; however, a death notice in the Montgomery News (February 23, 1944) indicates he was employed by the Electrometallurgical Corporation at Alloy at the time of his registration for naval service. To the union of Charles and Ina was born one son, Charles Randolph ("Randy") Dotson.

At the age of 27, in 1943 Charles enlisted in the Navy, received his training at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center, and was sent to the South Pacific, where, according to his son, he served on a tanker. It was there he lost his life on January 21, 1944.

Gravestone of S2c Charles Randall Dotson in Arlington National Cemetery. Courtesy of Anne Cady,

Gravestone of S2c Charles Randall Dotson in Arlington National Cemetery. Courtesy of Anne Cady, "Charles R. Dotson," Find A Grave, accessed November 22, 2013, http://www.findagrave.com.

Charles Randall Dotson's remains were returned with the World War II Dead Program from Overseas, and on June 23, 1948, he was interred in Plot 12, Grave 4676, at Arlington National Cemetery. Randy Dotson recalls that he first saw his father's gravestone in Arlington when he was a youngster. He says his father's name was misspelled, but at the time he didn't think much about it. At a later date his son-in-law, an Army major, was able to help him make the connections to get the grave marker corrected -- and a new stone was set in place. Mr. Dotson says that a number of other markers had misspellings and were corrected, quite possibly because of the inquiry process he began. It makes him feel good that other survivors benefited from his diligence, and he cautions families to make sure their family members are correctly identified.

Remaining in Fayette County, Ina would outlive him by 69 years, and in her later years married Glen Hartman, according to her obituary in the Charleston Daily Mail (May 8, 2013).

Family information provided by son, Charles Randolph "Randy" Dotson. Article prepared by Patricia Richards McClure
August 2021


Charles Randall Dotson

West Virginia Archives and History welcomes any additional information that can be provided about these veterans, including photographs, family names, letters and other relevant personal history.

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