1Lt. Dexter B. Florence
Dexter B. Florence was born into a career Army family and served in the ROTC at Henderson Stare College in Arkadelphia in 1965. While at Henderson, he also got involved in the Aviation program securing his priviate pilots' license. Upon graduating Henderson in 1970, He attended Armor school in Ft. Knox, and was then selected for flight school at Ft. Wolters, Tex and Ft. Rucker, Alabama where he became a rotor wing aviator, and qualified in the OH6 Cayuse-A helicopter which is a small 4 seater crewed by pilot and gunner.
As an aviator, Dexter was assigned to Vietnam, D Troop/17th Cav, where he became the Hunter in a Hunter/Killer team consisting of his OH 6 along with an AH1 Cobra helicopters. Florences' job was to fly low and slow trying to entice the enemy to shoot at them, at which time he would pop smoke, get out quickly, and allow the Cobra to rush in with al the fury it could bring with rockets and mini guns destryoing the enemy placement. This was during a time when America was removing all groung troops, leaving the bulk of fighting to aviation, both fixed and rotoary wing aircraft.
In August, 1972, Florence conducted two separate missions where downed air crews were saved by his bravery. Both times, he was under heavy enemy fire with cover from nearby Cobra gun ships and managed to save downed crew members.
On October, 29, 1972, his bird was downed by a command detonated mine while attempting and extraction. This was withing days of his scheduled rotation back home. He died of burns at an American hospital in German just days later.
The Arkadelphia Airport is named in his honor.
1Lt. Dexter B. Florence, Hometown, Arkladelphia, Arkansas. Deceased, Killed in Action, Republic of Vietnam. His military awards include;Distringuished Flying Cross, Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart Medal, 22 Air Medals, one with Oak Leaf Cluster.
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