The Truman Foundation will award the Philip Pistilli Silver Veteran’s Medal to brothers William H. Dunn, Sr. and the late John Ernest Dunn, Jr. at the 66th Annual Truman Good Neighbor Award Foundation Luncheon on Friday, May 4, 2018.
The awards are in recognition of their distinguished service during World War II as members of the United States Navy and United States Marine Corps, respectively.
Bill Dunn, Sr., Chairman Emeritus of J.E. Dunn Construction Company, joined the Navy Air Corps as an ensign and reported for active duty in September 1943. He conducted surveillance flights over the Gulf of Mexico, searching for enemy submarines. In 1945 reported to the battleship USS Wisconsin where he served as a catapult pilot, flying single-engine seaplanes. Ensign Dunn was stationed at the Alameda Naval Base in California when President Truman’s decision to drop atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki ended World War II.
Captain Ernie Dunn served as a Marine Corps aviator, deploying to the Marshall Islands in the Northern Pacific. He led dive bomber squadrons on 118 combat missions and was decorated on numerous occasions as a member of the Ace of Spades Squadron. When not flying missions, Captain Dunn worked closely with the Seabees, the Navy’s construction battalions, to build landing strips and other critical island infrastructure. Before he died in 2008, Ernie Dunn hosted a 50-year reunion of his squadron that inspired his comrades to renew the bonds they forged during the war.
Upon their return to civilian life in Kansas City, Bill Dunn, Sr. and Ernie Dunn Jr. served the community in their own construction and contracting businesses, as well as in leadership roles with many charitable and civic organizations.