By Julie Ann Madden
The year 2013 has been an eventful year for a Hawarden family.
Dick and Patricia Dunn of Hawarden have plenty to be proud of: their son, Chief Petty Officer Steven Dunn retired from the U.S. Navy; and their son-in-law Brently White just received his first star, earning the rank of Brigadier General.
“We’re basically a military family,” said Dick, adding he would have also served his country if it wasn’t for a case of high blood pressure but both of his brothers, Micheal and John served. Dick worked at Scanada Inc. in Akron for 48 years.
The family’s military history goes way back, he said. “My grandfather, who was also named Steven Dunn, died from mustard gas in World War I. All my uncles and aunts had different careers in different wars. They were split up between the Army and the Navy.”
His father, Harold Dunn, was a ship yard worker, and Patricia’s father, Angelo Ceglia, worked in an airplane manufacturing plant. Since both had jobs supplying equipment for the military, they weren’t required to enlist.
When our three children graduated from West Sioux High School, we gave them a choice: go to college, join the military or get a job.
Specialist Jennifer Dunn
Their daughter, Jennifer, chose to join the U.S. Army in 1986. She became an operating room technician and earned the rank of Specialist. She served one year in Seoul, Korea, but spent most of her military service stateside. She finished her military career serving overseas at Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, during the first Gulf War. She completed her military service in 1991.
For another year, she was a civilian contractor hired to teach Army Reserve and National Guard units everything they’d need to know to set up and operate a field hospital.
Then she married U.S. Army Reservist Brently White whose orders took them to Germany. Jennifer became a stay-at-home mother with their two children: Brittany and Brian.
Chief Petty Officer
Her brother, Steven Dunn, enlisted in the U.S. Navy on June 19, 1989. After completing military schools, he reported to Naval Ocean Processing Facility Ford Island, Hawaii, where he was designated as an IUSS Specialist. His assignments included Naval Facility Whidbey Island, Wash.; NAS Keflavik, Iceland Security Detachment; Naval Ocean Processing Facility Whidbey Island, Wash.; IUSS Sea Components East and West; Commander Undersea Surveillance Dam Neck, Va. (two tours); Fleet Ocean Surveillance Information Center Support Detachment Gibraltar; and Joint Maritime Facility St. Mawgan, United Kingdom.
In 2003, while stationed at IUSS Sea Component East, Dunn was designated as an IUSS Master Analyst and became one of the first individuals within IUSS to qualify as an Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist onboard a SURTASS ship.
In 2006, Dunn advanced to the rank of Chief Petty Officer. His duties were as chief sonar technician.
He and his wife, Joni, have two children: Tyler and Hollie.
At his retirement ceremony on May 17, Dunn’s retiring officer was his uncle, Retired Lt. Col. Micheal Dunn of the U.S. Army.
Dick and Patricia Dunn’s youngest son chose not to go into the military but entered the workforce.
Jason Dunn is a computer trouble shooter with Avera, a health network of hospitals and clinics in Sioux Falls, SD.
He and his wife, Stephanie, have two children: Angelina and Jeremiah.
“We’re proud of all our kids,” said Dick, noting all three are West Sioux High School graduates.
Lt. Col. Micheal Dunn
Lt. Col. Micheal Dunn’s military career spanned 29 years between active duty, Army Reserve, Army National Guard and the Department of Homeland Security.
His service included deployments to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iraq. Dunn is a combat veteran of Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm as Artillery Battery Commander and Special Weapons Officer.
Their son-in-law, Brently White, just returned home from Korea Sept. 1.
While in Seoul, Korea, he was promoted to Brigadier General, earning his first star.
On Aug. 14, it was presented to him by U.S. Army General James Thurman who is currently the commander of United Nations Command, Republic of Korea – United States Combined Forces Command, and United States Forces Korea.
General Thurman was Brent’s battalion commander when he was assigned to the 3rd Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division in Schweinfurt, Germany, 21 years ago.
In March of this year, White was assigned as Deputy Commanding General of the 75th Training Command, Houston, Texas.
White entered the U.S. Army through his high school’s ROTC program. He was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in 1984 and has continued his military education, most recently earning a Masters of Strategic Studies at the Army War College in 2010.
As a First Lieutenant, White served as Platoon Leader and Company XO for the 442nd Signal Battalion, Fort Gordon, Ga., from 1987 – 1990. He was then assigned as a Battalion Signal Officer for the 1/503rd Light Infantry, 2nd Brigade, 2ID, Camp Hovey, Korea in 1990. After Korea, White served as the DISCOM Signal Officer for 5th Infantry Division, Fort Polk, LA. From 1992 to 1995, he served as a Squadron Signal Officer for the ¾ Calvary Squadron, 3ID, Schwienfurt, Germany, and Company Commander, D Company, 123rd Signal Battalion, 3ID, Kitzengen, Germany.
White joined the United States Army Reserves in 1995 where his initial assignment was Simulation Coach for the Battalion Projection Group, 1st Brigade, 85th Division, Arlington Heights, Ill. Later he was assigned as the Signal Team Chief with the Battle Projection Group. White was then mobilized in 2002 with the 1/338 Battalion, 2nd Brigade, 85th Division as the S-3 Plans Officer, Fort McCoy, Wis. After that assignment, he was assigned as the Observer/Controller for the G6 section, Indiana National Guard, Camp Atterbury, Ind.
His next mobilization assignment was with the Multi-National Security Transition Command – Iraq where he served as the J-3, Chief of Operations in 2003.
Following this mobilization, White served as Battalion Commander 3/339 Battalion, 9th Brigade, 100th Division, Neenah, Wis. In 2006, he was mobilized once again and selected to serve as the Battalion Commander, Warrior Transition Unit, Fort Hood, Texas. In 2008, White served as the Brigade Commander for the 4th Brigade, 95th Training Division, Beaver Dam, Wis. He was selected to serve as the Assistant Division Commander and Chief of Staff for the 95th Training Division, Fort Sill, OK.
Being promoted to General was a total shock, White told The Akron Hometowner, explaining less than 1 or 2 percent of the soldiers who are eligible for promotion to General make it.
“What I did I’ve done right,” said White, “and I’ve been recognized for that but the promotion isn’t about me.”
“It’s about my superiors, subordinates and my peers in the military,” he said, adding in leadership you are only as good as the people around you. If you achieve such an honor, then your performance is reflected from those around you.
In my 31 years in the service, those people have just been the most professional soldiers — they are the ones who got me where I am today, said White, giving credit to four-star General General Thurman who was my superior 20 years ago that I could emulate.
“We’re probably the only family like this in Iowa right now,” said Dick Dunn. “It’s rare that a girl from a small town like ours marries someone who becomes a General.”