Saturday, June 2, 2012

Time with Mickey

We feel hesitant to even use the word “excited” due to the severity of the material that we will be exploring on this trip. We believe the overarching theme of this trip is one of humility. We are extremely humbled already by the willingness of the Veterans and Survivors to share their stories with us, students that they have just met. It was a shock to see how open and willing Mickey, as well as the other honored guests are to talk about these events and horrors.

Our Veteran is Mr. Mason “Mickey” Dorsey. Mickey grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina and now resides in Seabrook Island, South Carolina. Mickey was born with only one finger on his left hand and therefore encountered trouble when he went to volunteer for the service. Mickey volunteered for the Air Corps (now the Air Force) and was rejected, he volunteered for the Navy, and was rejected. He also volunteered for the Marines and to be a paratrooper in the Army and was rejected from both. Finally, Mickey was allowed to serve but in a limited capacity. He was to be stationed solely in the United States and was for 17 weeks in Camp Blandon in Florida. Only after he scored the highest among all the men in a marksmanship competition, did the United States Army decide that he could be used overseas after all. Mickey referred to his unit in the military as the “Eyes and Ears” as he was often behind enemy lines communicating artillery, troop numbers, and other information via CW radio to other American troops. He was one of the first Americans to see Gunskirchen concentration camp and helped to liberate the 11,000-12,000 still living among the 3,500 dead bodies scattered throughout the camp. A Survivor on our trip, Mr. Gershon Ron was a held at Gunskirchen and was liberated by Mickey and the rest of his unit. This trip is the first time for Gershon and Mickey to meet with each other after their first meeting almost 70 years ago.

When we arrived in Springfield, we met Kyle and Glenda Barnard, a couple from Springfield that travel the world. They could not believe that College of the Ozarks would take students, faculty, staff, WWII Veterans, and Holocaust Survivors on a ten day tour of Europe at no cost to them. We feel that this will be the common denominator on this trip: disbelief. When we told people about the trip we were to embark on it was a common reaction to hear that it would be horrible. They might even ask why we wanted to go. Even with that being partially true, it is the fact that people need to know about the Holocaust and it is not something that needs to be forgotten. This trip is a first hand experience in learning and hopefully preventing an injustice like this from happening again.

In Chicago, we met our Veterans before we boarded the plane. We first met Mickey Dorsey in the Chicago O'Hare airport. He greeted us with open arms and was very personable even from the beginning. Mickey Dorsey was so excited to meet us. Mickey didn't let his disability stop him from serving in the Army, and actually performed at the top of his Regiment. Mickey has a worn hat that has the words “Purple Heart, Combat Wounded” across the front. This man sacrificed so much for all of us, and we are in disbelief of his sacrifice. We have already learned so much from Mickey, and can't wait to learn even more.

The view of the countryside from the plane was gorgeous as we landed early on Friday morning. Today has been a relaxation day as Germany is seven hours ahead of Branson. We had free time to walk around in Munich as our hotel is very close to a shopping center. A delicious lunch and dinner buffet were served in our hotel and it gave students a first chance to sit down across from their Veteran or Survivor and have great conversations. As interested as each student is in the life of their Veteran or Survivor, they are equally interested in student lives. Munich is a beautiful city, with an interesting culture. Most people speak German, but the songs that play in the stores and restaurants are in English. Veterans were the first Americans over here, and their influence is still strong today. Tomorrow we all will travel into downtown Munich for much more of an historic tour of the area.

John Withrow, junior
Ashton Phillips, junior
Alexis Schields, senior


  1. Thanks for Sharing. Great pics, Paul Baker.

  2. The Holocost did happen and these men were part of it. It should never be forgotten or allowed to happen again. Thanks to all the veterans.