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Vale American Legion officials honor World War II veteran

Members of Vale American Legion Post No. 96 recently honored a World War II veteran to commemorate his 50-year membership in the patriotic organization of U.S. war veterans. 

Legion officials presented a plaque to Jack Dunn at his home in Eagle, Idaho, on Saturday, April 13. Dunn served as a machine gun specialist on B-29 bomber planes during the war. He turned 99 this year.

Cory Brockman, department commander of the Oregon American Legion, commended Dunn in a December letter as a part of “the Greatest Generation.” The accolade refers to the demographic that was shaped by the Great Depression and became the primary group enlisting in the military to fight World War II, leaving an indelible mark on history. 

“Your generation demonstrated great resilience in surviving hardship and solving problems,” Brockman wrote. “A generation that possesses the traits and taught future generations of personal responsibility, work ethic, frugality, commitment, self-sacrifice, integrity, and humility.” 

Born in 1925 in Three Creek, Idaho, a ranching area in southeastern Owyhee County about 50 miles south of the Snake River, Dunn enlisted not long after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941. At the time he was attending the University of Montana and intended to become a lawyer. 

While Dunn and his company were set to invade Japan, he didn’t end up seeing combat. 

After the war ended, Dunn became an administrative officer with the Bureau of Land Management and worked at the Vale field office until he retired from the agency. Later, Dunn became a real estate agent with Flying Realty in Vale.

He and his wife Vivian, who died in 1993, raised three kids, Debbie, Rob and Kevin. He is now married and lives with his wife, Wanda, in Eagle. 

World War II is the oldest conflict with veterans who are still living. According to the National World War II Museum, as of 2023, a little more than 119,000 of the more than 16 million who served are still alive today. Many, such as Dunn, are in their late 90s or are over 100 years old.

“You remain a living representative of our nation’s Greatest Generation,” Brockman wrote. “And, as a veteran who served our nation when it was needed most, you are among the Greatest of the Greatest Generation.”

Jack Dunn, a World War II veteran, receives a plaque commemorating 50 years in the American Legion Saturday, April 13. (Contributed photo)

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