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William R Dunn

Military

Bill Dunn was born on November 16, 1916, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He enlisted in the U.S. Army on March 19, 1934, and served as an infantryman until receiving an honorable discharge on November 22, 1935. Dunn enlisted in the Canadian Army on September 7, 1939, attaining the rank of Sergeant Major before joining the Royal Air Force on December 13, 1940. After completing RAF Flying School at Tern Hill, England, on April 16, 1941, Pilot Officer Dunn was assigned to the RAF's No. 71 Squadron, also known as the initial Eagle Squadron (so named because it was composed of expatriate American pilots in the RAF prior to the official entry of the United States into World War II) from May to August 1941, during which time he became the first American fighter ace of World War II by destroying 5 German fighters in aerial combat plus a shared probable; all while flying RAF Hawker Hurricane and Supermarine Spitfire fighters. After being wounded in action on August 27, 1941, Dunn was hospitalized for 3 months and then spent another 3 months in the U.S. on leave before serving as an instructor pilot in Canada until he transferred to the U.S. Army Air Forces on June 15, 1943.

Lieutenant Dunn served as a gunnery officer with the 53rd Fighter Group and then joined the 513th Fighter Squadron of the 406th Fighter-Bomber Group, 9th AF, flying the P-47 Thunderbolt, in October 1943, and deployed with the group to England in April 1944. He was credited with the destruction of his 6th and final enemy aircraft in aerial combat in June 1944. Promoted to Captain and then Major, he later completed Command & General Staff College before transferring to China, where he served as commander of Luchien and Luchow Air Bases as a Lieutenant Colonel from May 1945 to 1947, participating in the Chinese Civil War on the side of the Nationalists. His next assignment was as an advisor to the Imperial Iranian Air Force from 1947 to 1949.

Lt Col Dunn resigned his commission on November 3, 1949, and rejoined the Air Force in an enlisted capacity on November 14, 1949, attaining the rank of Master Sergeant before receiving an appointment as an Air Force Warrant Officer on April 17, 1952. During this time, he served as an advisor to the Brazilian Air Force from 1950 to 1952. Promoted to Chief Warrant Officer, CWO Dunn served as a staff officer from 1952 to 1954, and then served as an Aircraft Controller, Interceptor Controller, Air Traffic Controller, and Wing Support Officer for the 33rd Air Division at Tinker AFB, Oklahoma, from May 1954 to February 1958. His next assignment was as a Weapons Controller with the 623rd Aircraft Control & Warning (AC&W) Squadron at Naha AB, Okinawa, from April 1958 to April 1960, and then with the 51st Fighter Interceptor Wing at Naha AB from April 1960 to July 1961. CWO Dunn next served as a staff officer with Headquarters, 29th Air Division at Richards-Gebaur AFB, Missouri, from July 1961 to May 1963, followed by service as a Weapons Controller with the 848th AC&W Squadron at Wallace AS in the Philippines from May 1963 to May 1964. He served as a Weapons Officer on the staff of Headquarters, Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) at Hickam AFB, Hawaii, from May 1964 to May 1967, and then deployed to Southeast Asia, where he served as a Weapons Force Plans Officer with the 6250th Support Squadron at Tan Son Nhut AB, South Vietnam, from May 1967 to June 1968.

CWO Dunn's final assignment was as a Weapons Controller with Headquarters, Aerospace Defense Command at Ent AFB, Colorado, from June 1968 until his retirement from the Air Force on February 1, 1973. He was promoted to Chief Warrant Officer 4 (W-4) in 1963, but retired at his highest rank held of Lieutenant Colonel (O-5).
Bill Dunn died on February 14, 1995, and was buried at the Fort Logan National Cemetery in Denver, Colorado.

Service

Units served with

Aircraft

  • Z3781

    Hurricane
    Hawker Hurricane Mk I XR-A Z3781, part of the fifth production batch produced by Hawker Aircraft Limited at Langley, to contract # 62305/39, between 14th January, 1941 and 28th July, 1941. ...

  • P7308

    Spitfire
    Supermarine Spitfire Mk IIa P7308, built at Castle Bromwich Aircraft Factory. ...

  • 42-26528

    P-47 Thunderbolt
    Republic P-47D Thunderbolt 42-26528, 513th FS 406th FG 9th AF. Suffered take off accident, Ashford/Sta 417, Kent, England, 10 July 1944. Cat 5 damage. Pilot Lt William R Dunn OK.

  • Z3267

    Hurricane
    Hawker Hurricane Mk II Z3267 built at Hawkers, assigned to 71 Eagle Sqn RAF. Bf109F 1/2 destroyed. Merville. Pilot P/O William R Dunn. 6-Jul-41. Bf109E destroyed. Mardyck. Pilot P/O William R Dunn. 9-Aug-41.

Associated Place

  • Kirton-in-Lindsey

    Military site : airfield
    Used as an RFC and RAF Home Defence landing ground during the First World War, Kirton-in-Lindsey was built during 1938-40 as an RAF fighter station. It had two grass runways, 10 hardstandings, three grouped C hangars and four over-blister hangars....

  • Martlesham Heath

    Military site : airfield
    Opened in 1917 as home to the RFC Aeroplane Experimental Unit, Martlesham Heath became well known during the 1920s-30s as home to the Aircraft and Armament Experimental Establishment. Used as an RAF fighter station from 1939, with only a grass airfield...

Events

Event Location Date
Born Minneapolis, MN, USA 16 November 1916

Born 16th November, 1916, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA.

Enlisted Minnesota, USA 19 March 1934

Enlisted in the U.S. Army on March 19, 1934.

Honorably discharged 22 November 1935

Served as an infantryman until receiving an honorable discharge on 22nd November, 1935.

Enlisted Canada 7 September 1939

Enlisted in the Canadian Army on 7th September, 1939.

Joined RAF England, UK 13 December 1940

Joined the Royal Air Force on 13th December, 1940.

Completed RAF Flying School Ternhill, Market Drayton, Shropshire TF9, UK 16 April 1941

Completed RAF Flying School at Tern Hill, England, on April 16, 1941.

Assigned Debden, Saffron Walden, Essex CB11, UK 17 April 1941 – 27 August 1941

Assigned to the No 71 [Eagle] RAF Squadron. First American fighter ace of WWII by destroying 5 German fighters in aerial combat plus a shared probable.

Wounded in Action WIA Hawkinge, Kent, UK 27 August 1941

Wounded in action on August 27, 1941.

Hospitalized 27 August 1941 – November 1941

Hospitalized for 3 months.

Stateside on leave November 1941 – February 1942

Returned to the states on leave.

Assigned 53rd FG June 1943

Served as a gunnery officer with the 53rd Fighter Group.

Transferred to USAAF 15 June 1943

Served as an instructor pilot in Canada until he transferred to the USAAF on June 15, 1943.

Assigned 406th FG South Carolina, USA October 1943

Joined the 513th Fighter Squadron of the 406th Fighter-Bomber Group, 9th AF, flying the P-47 Thunderbolt, in October 1943. Congree Army Airfield, South Carolina, USA.

Deployed Overseas England, UK April 1944

Deployed with the 406th Fighter Group to England in April 1944.

Take Off Accident TOA Ashford, Ashford, Kent, UK 10 July 1944

Take Off Accident, Ashford/Sta 417, England. Cat 5 damage. P-47D 42-26528 513th FS 406th FG 9th AF.

Landing accident causing ground loop Casper, WY, USA 7 July 1953

Landing accident causing ground loop, Casper, Wyoming, in T-6D, 44-81467 127th FBS 137th FBG, Kansas ANG. Cat 2 damage.

Buried Fort Logan, Denver, CO, USA 1995

Buried Fort Logan National Cemetery in Denver, Colorado, USA.

Died Colorado Springs, CO, USA 14 February 1995

14th February, 1995,
Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA.

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
13 November 2016 10:02:29 Al_Skiff Changes to nickname and events
Sources

http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=606493

Date Contributor Update
25 February 2016 12:37:15 Al_Skiff Changes to unit associations and place associations
Sources

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_R._Dunn Biography Details,
http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/src/dbapi.asp?Pilot=Dunn%2C+William+R Accident record details.
Aces High: A Tribute to the Most Notable Fighter Pilots of the ..., Volume 2 By Christopher Shores, Clive Williams

Date Contributor Update
28 January 2016 11:14:20 Al_Skiff Changes to awards, events and place associations
Sources

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_R._Dunn Biography Details,
http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/src/dbapi.asp?Pilot=Dunn%2C+William+R Accident record details.
Aces High: A Tribute to the Most Notable Fighter Pilots of the ..., Volume 2 By Christopher Shores, Clive Williams

Date Contributor Update
06 August 2015 23:25:12 Al_Skiff Changes to events
Sources

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_R._Dunn Biography Details,
http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/src/dbapi.asp?Pilot=Dunn%2C+William+R Accident record details.

Date Contributor Update
06 August 2015 22:40:48 Al_Skiff Created entry with surname, middlename, firstname, nickname, nationality, highest rank, role, biography, events, unit associations, place associations and aircraft associations
Sources

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_R._Dunn

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