Richard J. Dunn Jr.



Col. Richard James Dunn Jr., U.S. Army, Ret. 97, of Alexandria passed away Monday, May 8, 2017 at INOVA Alexandria.

Richard J. Dunn, Jr., the son of Richard and Mabel Dunn was born in Granite Falls, Minnesota, on November 19, 1919 one year, one week, and one day after the end of World War I. He stood his last post on May 8, 2017 fittingly the seventy-second anniversary of the World War II victory in Europe, VE Day.

Colonel Dunn served his country as an Army Signal Corps officer for more than 35 years. Advancing with the 87th Infantry Division into Germany in early 1945, he was awarded the Silver Star at the direction of General George S. Patton’s Third Army for cutting the main German communications cable in the strongly fortified Siegfried Line while under heavy fire. That March he was badly wounded in a German ambush.

Still recovering from his wounds, Colonel Dunn married Frances Elisabeth Amorelli whom he had met in New York just before his unit deployed to Europe. He was still on convalescent status when he was assigned to the U.S. Military Advisory Group in Nanking, China where son Richard was born. He left just before the country fell to the communists.

After a few years of stateside duty during which son Owen was born, he was deployed to Korea where he served with Eighth U.S. Army during the Korean War. After that war he was assigned to Fort Huachuca, Arizona, virtually the “Wild West” in the early 1950s.

Colonel Dunn was then transferred to Vicenza, Italy where he served as the signal battalion commander with First Missile Command. Returning to the States just as the Berlin Wall was going up, he was assigned to the Joint Staff at the Pentagon. During the Cuban Missile Crisis he supervised preparation of briefing books for President Kennedy.

His Pentagon duty was followed by a choice assignment with NATO in Paris. When de Gaulle removed France from the Alliance, he moved to the new headquarters in Brussels.

He returned from Brussels to serve in his third war, Vietnam, as the XXIVth Corps Signal Officer. After a yearlong tour of duty, he moved back to the Washington area to serve as the signal officer for the Military District of Washington, retiring in June of 1974 having served more than 36 years of service, eleven tours overseas.

After his retirement he continued to contribute to national defense by providing his significant expertise in military communications to various civilian firms supporting Armed Forces communications requirements. He worked until the age of 74.

Colonel Dunn was preceded in death by his wife, Frances Elisabeth Dunn; son Owen Dunn; and daughter-in-law Deborah Dunn.

Survivors include his son, Richard J. Dunn, III, Colonel, U.S. Army Retired; and daughter-in-law Linda Dunn of Fredericksburg; sister Shirley Grabowski of Oakdale, Minnesota; four grandchildren Christine Dunn, James Dunn, Michael Dunn and Jessica Tennant; and two great grandchildren Gianna and Braydon Tennant.

Colonel Dunn will be interred with full military honors at 1 p.m. on September 14, in Arlington National Cemetery with a memorial reception to follow at 2:30 p.m. in Patton Hall, formerly the Ft. Myer Officers Club.