Born in Cordell, Okla., in 1920, Donald F. Dickey was attending college at Oklahoma A&M when Pearl Harbor was attacked. With less than a semester remaining until his graduation, he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1942. Upon assignment to the 1st provisional Rocket Unit, he and his men were instrumental in developing techniques and procedures necessary for the proper employment of fire support rockets in combat.
Dickey's rocket section participated in the June 1944 assault on Saipan, in the Marianas Islands, 1500 miles south of Tokyo. Although the island was heavily contested, the initial employment of rockets was considered a major combat success against the well-entrenched Japanese forces. Lieutenant Dickey later employed rockets during the amphibious assault on Tinian in July 1944. Saipan and Tinian soon were improved with multiple air fields which, for the first time, allowed strategic bombing of the Japanese home islands. In February 1945 Dickey's rocket unit again proved very effective during the assault against the island of Iwo Jima, during which he received several wounds and was evacuated. Capt.
Dickey subsequently was retired by reason of physical disability in May 1946. For his personal actions during the battle of Iwo Jima, he was awarded a Bronze Star Medal for Valor and the Purple Heart Medal. Upon returning to Oklahoma, Dickey was elected as the State's Insurance Commissioner, holding the office from 1946 through 1954. He has been a strong financial supporter of the Boy Scouts of America and the Future Farmers of America. He is an active member of many service and veterans' organizations to include the U.S. Marine Corps Coordinating Council of Oklahoma, the American Legion, the Scottish Rite of Free Masons, and the Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce.