Air Force Colonel and Va. Civic Leader Ray Aloysius Dunn Jr.

By Yvonne Shinhoster Lamb
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, October 16, 2006

Ray Aloysius Dunn Jr., 84, a retired Air Force colonel and government consultant who later became a civic leader in Nelson County, Va., died Sept. 15 at his home in Roseland, Va. He had respiratory failure and prostate cancer.

Col. Dunn was born in Washington into a military family. His father, a pilot during World War I, was an Air Force brigadier general.

Col. Dunn attended Georgetown University until his appointment to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1941. After graduating in 1944, he was the first member of his West Point class to go overseas. He joined the Chinese American Composite Wing, flying reconnaissance missions in China until the end of the war.

As a member of the 35th Photo Squadron, he flew mapping missions in a P-38 over the Yunnan and Hunan provinces of China. On one mission, he got lucky, he told the Nelson County Times in 1996. He overshot his target and flew across a lake, where he observed a convoy of boats carrying Japanese troops.

"Fighter planes attacked the boats the next day. It was a failed mission that turned out to be one of the most productive ones," he said.

After the war, then-Capt. Dunn was assigned to the Pentagon, the first of three tours of duty there. He later served as a flight instructor and as an aeronautics instructor with the Air Force ROTC at the University of Maryland and Catholic University. In 1953, he received a master's degree in geography from Catholic.

During the Korean War, he served with the Strategic Air Command. Later in Japan, he was a bomber operations officer and then worked at the newly established Air Force Academy. He was stationed at the U.S. Embassy in Paris during the Vietnam peace talks.

His last tour of duty was at the Pentagon, where he worked on the SALT 1 treaty, biological weapons and the recovery of Vietnam prisoners of war. He retired from the Air Force in 1974.

After retirement, Col. Dunn consulted with the Defense Manpower Commission in Washington and then served for two years as dean of students at Culver Military Academy in Indiana. He also worked in Washington as a consultant with Linton & Co. in governmental and legislative affairs; as a private consultant with the Environmental Protection Agency; and as vice president of the Georgetown & Foggy Bottom Trolley Co. -- researching the viability of reestablishing trolley lines.

He received a master's degree in planning from the School of Architecture at the University of Virginia in 1981.

In 1987, he moved from Fairfax City to his wife's family home in Nelson. He worked with a Nelson citizens committee to rewrite the county's subdivision ordinance and served on the county planning commission and the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission. He served one term on the Nelson County Board of Supervisors in the early 1990s. He also was the county representative to a local community college board, a position he held for seven years.

A son, Ray Aloysius Dunn III, died in 1996.

Survivors include his wife, Roberta Bryant Dunn, whom he married in 1947, of Nelson County; four children, Alicia Dunn Weber of Arlington County, Michael Dunn and Robert Dunn, both of Paris, and Elizabeth Dunn Bailey of Lynchburg, Va.; eight grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

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