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Joseph F. Dunn collection

Identifier: 11.0090

Content Description

This collection contains the official orders and other documents related to the service John F. Dunn who served as a pilot with the U.S. Army Air Force during World War II and his postwar service with Strategic Air Command and in Vietnam. The collection contains little personal correspondence, but does include photographs of Dunn’s career and aerial maps of Japan from 1945. A set of maps of Japan also make up the collection along with a number of medals awarded to Dunn.


  • 1943-1999
  • Other: Date accessioned: 2011-12-06


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to all researchers.

Conditions Governing Use

All requests for permission to quote, publish, broadcast or otherwise reproduce from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Associate Dean for Special Collections & Archives. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Florida State University Libraries as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the researcher.

Biographical / Historical

Joseph F. Dunn was born in Chicago, Illinois on March 4, 1919. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army Air Force on July 28, 1943 after completing pilot training. On February 17, 1944, Dunn was certified as having completed the course of training prescribed by Headquarters Second Air Force. As commander of a B-29, Dunn served with the 313th Bomb Wing, 39th Bombardment Squadron, 6th Combat Group in the Pacific. Dunn and his crew took part in bombing missions against a number of Japanese cities including Nagoya, Tokyo, Kobe, Osaka and Akashi. His crew flew their last mission against Marifu on August 15, 1945. Dunn received the Air Medal with Oak Leaf Clusters for his successful combat missions against Japan.

After returning to the United States, Dunn received a discharge from active-duty on December 8, 1945, but remained in the Army Air Force Reserve and later in the U.S. Air Force Reserves. On March 8, 1951, Dunn returned to active duty serving with the Strategic Air Command and on August 2, 1952, he received authorization to remain in this status indefinitely.

After serving fourteen years as SAC bomber commander, Dunn volunteered for a tour of duty in Vietnam and served with the 315 Air Commando Troop Carrier Group based in Tan Son Hut Airfield reporting in November 1965. Prior to his deployment, Dunn completed at the Air University the Counter Insurgency Course offered by the Warfare Systems School. In a letter to Senator Everett Dirksen, January 16, 1966, Dunn protested that he had been assigned to a staff position at Tan Son Nhut instead of flying the C-123. Dunn noted that the Air Force lacked an adequate number of trained pilots and that it would be a waste of resources for him to learn the intricacies of a staff officer’s job. He also observed that in SAC it “is an accepted thing to make a career of being a crew member.”

Dunn retired from active duty effective February 1, 1967 at the rank of Lt. Colonel. In retirement he took an active role in the Tampa Chapter of the Military Order of the World Wars. He would also be recognized for his volunteer activities with the JROTC program in the Hillsborough County Schools, Florida and the ROTC program at the University of Tampa. Dunn passed away on April 21,1999 and is buried at the Florida National Cemetery in Bushnell, Florida.


1.25 Linear Feet (1 full box, 1 quarter box)

2 folders (Folder 001 contains posters. Folder 002 contains maps.) ; Oversize folders

Language of Materials


Custodial History

Transferred from the Institute on World War II and the Human Experience to FSU Libraries Special Collections & Archives in July 2022.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donation of Don Hilley.

John F. Dunn collection
G. Kurt Piehler
December 18, 2020
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the FSU Special Collections & Archives Repository

116 Honors Way
PO Box 3062047
Tallahassee FL 32306-2047 US