Ward Dodge was born on March 14, 1929, in Healy, Kansas. He was commissioned through the Air Force ROTC program at Kansas State College on May 27, 1951, and he graduated from Undergraduate Pilot Training and was awarded his pilot wings at Hondo AFB, Texas, on September 13, 1952. Dodge then completed combat crew training at Nellis AFB, Nevada, in January 1953, and served at Suwon AB, South Korea, flying combat missions with the 36th Fighter-Bomber Squadron of the 8th Fighter-Bomber Wing during the last few months of the Korean War. After flying F-86F Sabres in Korea, Dodge began flying F-86D Sabre interceptors as an instructor pilot at Perrin AFB, Texas, where he served from January 1954 to October 1960. His next assignment was as Chief of Combat Operations for the 36th Tactical Fighter Wing at Bitburg AB, West Germany, from October 1960 to August 1963, when he became an instructor at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He served in this position until September 1966, when he began training to go to Southeast Asia. Maj Dodge began flying combat missions with the 357th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Takhli Royal Thai AFB, Thailand, in March 1967, and he was forced to eject over North Vietnam and was taken as a Prisoner of War on July 5, 1967. He died at the hands of the North Vietnamese only seven days later, on July 12, 1967. Col Dodge's remains were returned to the United States on March 13, 1974.
His Silver Star Citation reads:
For gallantry in connection with military operations against an
opposing armed force as an F-105 Pilot in the 357th Tactical Fighter
Squadron, Takhli Royal Thai Air Base, Thailand, PACIFIC Air Force, in
action over North Vietnam, on 5 July 1967. On that date, Major Dodge was
initiating an attack on an important target when he received a direct
hit from anti-aircraft fire. Disregarding his own personal safety, he
heroically continued his bombing run and placed all the ordnance on
target. The condition of his aircraft then deteriorated so rapidly that
he was forced to eject over unfriendly territory. By his gallantry and
devotion to duty, Major Dodge has reflected great credit upon himself
and the United States Air Force.