In Memorium

Published in the Northwest Florida Daily News on 7/27/2008

C/MSGT Dennis R. Counley

Dennis R. Counley, CMSgt, U.S.A.F. Retired, of Shalimar, FL, passed away peacefully on July 26, 2008. Dennis was born in Chicago, Ill., on Nov. 3, 1943. He was the son of Leo and Viola Counley.

Dennis enlisted in the Air Force when he was 17 years old and proudly served his country for 27 years. Dennis was assigned to the 600th Photo Squadron as an aerial combat photographer. He took the "back seat" in a variety of planes that included such special missions aircraft as the small 0-1 Bird Dog scouter and the aerial spraying UC-123 Provider transport. He also flew aboard war planes that ranged from propeller-driven A-1E Skyraider and supersonic F-100 Super Sabre fighters to B-57 jet bombers.He was also an aerial photographer on RC-130A's with the 1370th PMW/ACGS at Forbes AFB, KS, and Brazil

He received numerous Air Medals for out-standing aerial achievement and the Air Force Commendation Medal for meritorious accomplishment. His proudest achievement was receiving the Distinguished Flying Cross after completing his 200th mission in Vietnam. After his retirement from the military, he completed a second career and retired from the Okaloosa County Department of Corrections where he served as a Corrections Officer for 10 years.

Dennis is survived by his wife, Diane; daughters, Sally Rush and her husband David of Middleburg, FL and Kristi Valencia and her husband Jim of Ft. Walton Beach, FL; his sister, Linda Solsrud and brother-in-law, Don of Forest Lake, MN; his step-father, Harlan Meland, and six grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents and his daughter, Bonnie.

A funeral service will be held at 11:30 a.m., Monday, July 28, 2008 at the Emerald Coast Funeral Home with Duane Keck officiating. The family will receive friends at 10:30 a.m. Dennis will be laid to rest at the Beal Memorial Cemetery, Fort Walton Beach, immediately thereafter.

The family would like to extend a special thanks to Covenant Hospice for all they have done. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Covenant Hospice, 101 Hart St., Niceville, FL 32578.

Submitted By Julian Higgins

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