Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, VA – A Marine heavy helicopter pilot has landed as the new deputy commander at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall.
Lt. Col. John Dexter took the helm as deputy joint base commander in early September.
Supporting the joint base
Dexter holds the distinction of being the only Marine deputy joint base commander.
With 12 joint bases in the Department of Defense, Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall is the only one with the Marine Corps.
Dexter says his primary duty will be to support the commanding officer and looks forward to applying his energy and talents where needed.
“I will focus on the installation itself,” said Dexter. “Facilities, barracks, the Child Development Center and ensuring the tenants have what they need to succeed.”
This new role is a stark contrast to his time as a Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron executive officer.
Choosing a life of service
Growing up in Norfolk, Virginia, home of the largest U.S. naval station, and with a father who retired from the Navy, military life surrounded Dexter.
“I always thought military service was a good way to give back to the country I live in,” said Dexter.
September 11th also influenced that decision when he graduated high school in 2002, the first graduating class following the terrorist attacks.
“Coming from a highly military town and a military family created the perfect storm for me to join,” Dexter reflected.
It wasn’t the Navy that a young John Dexter wanted to join; it was the United States Marine Corps.
“The Marines have always been the branch of service that is always in the thick of things,” said Dexter. “Their mission was aligned with what I want to contribute back to this nation.”
Dexter said when he joined the military, he wanted to be a Marine first and would be happy with any job he was good at, which happened to be aviation.
When he joined, it just so happened there was a need for pilots in the Marine Corps: A fitting job for someone who grew up hearing the sounds of jet planes and helicopters at Naval Station Norfolk, which conducts an average of 275 air operations each day.
Ultimately Dexter became a CH-53E Super Stallion pilot, flying the largest helicopter in the military’s inventory and completing 3,000 flight hours throughout his aviation career.
While Dexter did serve in combat in Afghanistan, providing assault support and transporting troops, his most impactful mission as a Marine happened here at home.
In 2013-2014 Dexter flew helicopters supporting fire crews battling wildfires in southern California.
“It was one of the more fulfilling things I have done as an aviator,” he said.
Importance of community
While nothing has surprised him yet at JBM-HH, Dexter is looking at installation operations with a new lens and realizing just how important something like a CDC is to any installation.
“The CDC is a huge asset to the base and isn’t necessarily the thing people think of as critical infrastructure to the installation,” said Dexter. “Getting a peek behind the curtain and seeing how vital it is to keep the joint base up and running; If the CDC shuts down, many people will not be able to get to work.”
The deputy commander spends a lot of time building relations with the local community and Arlington County, both of which have a long history with the joint base.
That includes building the relationship between the Army and the Marine Corps.
Dexter will take up finalizing a Memorandum of Agreement between the two branches to refine the relationship as a joint base and to maximize resources to support the mission and the service members who live and work here.
His answer was easy when asked what he looks forward to most as deputy joint base commander.
“I am excited to be a part of the team.”
To read Lt. Col. Dexter’s full bio, go to the joint base website at home.army.mil/jbmhh and click on the leadership tab in the menu.