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What's in a name?: Busy road, daring hero

© St. Petersburg Times
published January 25, 2002

Tampa's own Dale Mabry was a hero of World War I who died at 30 when his airship crashed on a quiet country road.

The next time you are woefully, hopelessly, stuck in traffic on Dale Mabry Highway and that catchy song comes on the radio, just nod your head in resignation. Isn't it ironic. Why, yes it is.

Dale Mabry Highway is named for Tampa's dashing, daring U.S. Army Capt. Dale Mabry, who was a hero in World War I. He survived the war but died while testing a dirigible. On Feb. 21, 1922, his airship Roma crashed and burned in Norfolk, Va., on a sleepy country road that bears little resemblance to one of Tampa's busiest streets. He was 30.

During World War II, Dale Mabry Highway was built to link MacDill and Drew airfields. It was named in his honor.

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