Elliott Dent was born on August 12, 1921, in Saint Winifreds Freehold, Saint Mary's County, Maryland. He enlisted in the Aviation Cadet Program of the U.S. Army Air Forces on January 29, 1942, and was commissioned a 2d Lt and awarded his pilot wings at Napier Field, Alabama, on December 13, 1942. After completing P-40 Warhawk training at Drew Field, Florida, Lt Dent was assigned to the 7th Fighter Squadron of the 49th Fighter Group in New Guinea, from May 1943 to November 1944. During this time, he flew 235 combat missions and was credited with the destruction of 6 enemy aircraft in aerial combat; 3 while flying the P-40, and 3 more after transitioning to the P-38 Lightning. Capt Dent was shot down by antiaircraft fire from a Japanese destroyer on November 1, 1944, and was rescued and returned to his unit on November 14. He then returned to the U.S. where he served as an instructor pilot at Drew Field and Sarasota AAF, Florida, from March 1945 until he left active duty on December 8, 1945. Capt Dent joined the Alabama Air National Guard in 1946, and went into the Air Force Reserve on April 9, 1949, serving until April 6, 1953. After the war, he established the Dent Installation Company in Birmingham, Alabama, and then went into advertising 30 years later. Elliott Dent died on August 28, 1993.
His Distinguished Service Cross Citation reads:
For extraordinary heroism in action over Leyte, Philippine Islands, on 1 November 1944. While on patrol, Captain Dent led his flight of four P-38 aircraft in an attack upon fifteen to twenty enemy fighters protecting a large Japanese convoy. As he was closing in on one of the enemy fighters, four others came out of the clouds and, though he had become separated from the rest of his flight and was alone, he immediately made a head-on pass at them. For fifteen to twenty minutes he battled them fiercely, firing short bursts at each fighter in turn. By skillful maneuvering he escaped their determined attacks and sent two of them crashing into the sea and a third into a mangrove swamp. He was pursuing the fourth enemy fighter when antiaircraft fire from a Japanese destroyer shot out the right engine of his airplane and, with smoke billowing into the cockpit, he was forced to parachute into the water. Though he was in sight of Japanese ships, he managed to escape detection and was rescued that night. Captain Dent displayed outstanding gallantry, skill, and devotion to duty in pressing a lone attack against an enemy force so numerically superior.