Fred Clinton Dickey was born in Manchester, New Hampshire, May 29, 1897, son of Arthur B. and Maude Bailey Dickey. He attended Manchester High School and Columbian Preparatory School, Washington, DC, before enlisting in the US Naval Reserve Force on April 17, 1917 as a Quartermaster third class. He was discharged to accept a commission as Ensign in the Naval Reserve Force on July 14, 1918, and subsequently transferred to the regular Navy in the rank of Lieutenant on December 1, 1921. His promotion in grade since that time was as follows: Lieutenant Commander, June 1931; Commander, June 1938; Captain, June 16, 1942. His retirement dates from June 30, 1949 when he was advanced to the rank of Rear Admiral on the basis of combat awards.
Having been called to active duty, he was ordered to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as an aviation cadet for ground school training, and reported in December 1917. That course completed, he reported in February 1918 to the Naval Air Station, Key West, Florida, for flight training, and was a flight instructor at the Naval Air Station, Miami, Florida from March 1918. He was designated a Naval Aviator on November 1, 1918, having received his commission in the Naval Reserve Flying Corps, and thereafter served as Squadron Commander, and later as Executive Officer of the Naval Air Station, Miami until its decommissioning in May 1920.
From June 1920 to May 1922, he was attached to USS Aroostook flagship of the Air Force, Pacific Fleet, and served initially as a pilot of a patrol plane squadron, later as pilot in the original DH observation squadron. His next assignment was at Naval Air Station, Pensacola, as radio and communications officer from June 1922 until October 1925.
He had duty with Aircraft Squadrons, Scouting Fleet, from October 31 until November 23, 1925, after which he was transferred to duty with Observation Plane Squadron Three, Naval Air Station, Hampton Roads, Virginia. He joined USS Marblehead on January 9, 1926 and had duty as Senior Aviator and Executive Officer of the Scouting Squadron Three. During the latter eighteen months of this tour, he participated in the Second Nicaraguan Campaign and later that year transferred to the Asiatic Fleet, participating in the Yangtze River operations. He returned to the Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Florida, on August 25, 1928, and served successively as Aide to the Commandant, from September 1 until November 19, 1928; gunnery officer of that Station until March 21, 1930; and again served as Aide to the Commandant, until July 13, 1931.
From August 14, 1931 until June 5, 1934, he was Executive Officer of Scouting Squadron Ten, based on USS Chicago, and during the last year in that cruiser, he was Commander, Scouting Wing, Scouting Forces, with additional command of Scouting Squadron 10. On June 29, 1934, he attended the Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island, and completed the junior course on May 31, 1935. He commanded Patrol Squadron Three Aircraft Squadrons, based on Coco Solo, Canal Zone, from June 26, 1935, until March 15, 1937, and was gunnery officer on the staff of Commander Aircraft, Base Force, until June 20, 1939. He was executive officer of the Naval Air Station, San Pedro, California, from July 22, 1939, assuming command of that Station on March 29, 1940.
Relieved of command of the Naval Air Station, San Pedro, in March 1941, he served as Executive Officer of USS Wasp until November 10, 1942. During this period that carrier participated in the Neutrality Patrols in the Atlantic. Also operations with the British Fleet in the Mediterranean for the reinforcement of Malta, and in action for the capture and defense of Guadalcanal in the Pacific. For his services in that duty was awarded the Bronze Star Medal with combat “V” for “meritorious service as Executive Officer on board USS Wasp, during operations against enemy Japanese forces in the Tulagi-Guadalcanal Area, from August 7 to September 15, 1942….(he) contributed in large measure to the success of the Wasp and its attached air groups in inflicting extensive damage on the enemy throughout this critical period….”
In October 1942, he was assigned duty in connection with the establishment of the Naval Reserve Aviation Base, Hutchinson, Kansas, and assumed command of that Base upon its commissioning on December 1, 1942. When detached from that command on January 27, 1944, he was in charge of fitting out USS Hancock at the Bethlehem Steel Company, Quincy, Massachusetts, assuming command of this carrier upon her commissioning, April 15, 1944. That carrier then joined the Pacific Fleet; and operated as a unit of TF38 in offensive air operations. He was awarded the Silver Star Medal and is entitled to the ribbon for and a facsimile of the Navy Unit Commendation awarded USS Hancock. The citations state in part: “Silver Star Medal: “For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity as Commanding Officer of USS Hancock, during operations against enemy Japanese forces in the Ryuku Islands and Formosa, October 6 to 20, 1944, and in the Philippine Islands during the occupation of Leyte and the related Fleet action, October 20 to 31, 1944. With his ship the target of two enemy dive bombers which penetrated the formation during a determined enemy air attack on October 14, (he) skillfully maneuvered his vessel to prevent the enemy from scoring hits or inflicting serious damage on his ship….”
Navy Unit Commendation – USS Hancock: “For outstanding heroism in action against enemy Japanese forces in the air, ashore and afloat in the Pacific war area from October 10, 1944, to August 15, 1945. Operating continuously in the most forward areas, the USS Hancock and her groups struck crushing blows toward annihilating Japanese fighting power….”
Detached from USS Hancock in November 1944, he was ordered to duty on the staff of the President of the Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island, and served from January 1945 until May 1947, after which he was ordered to duty on the staff of Commander Fleet Air Western Pacific. On February 18, 1948, he reported as Commanding Officer of the Naval Air Station, Sangley Point, Philippine Islands, with additional duty as Air Officer on the staff of Commander, , US Naval Forces, Philippines, and was so serving when relieved of active duty upon his retirement, effective June 30, 1949.
In addition to the Silver Star Medal, the Bronze Star Medal, and the Navy Unit Commendation Ribbon - USS Hancock, Rear Admiral Dickey has the World War I Victory Medal with one bronze star; Second Nicaraguan Campaign Medal; Yangtze Campaign Medal; American Defense Service Medal; European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with one bronze star; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with three bronze stars; World War II Victory Medal; and the Philippine Defense Ribbon with one bronze star.
He died August 22, 1968.