Name: Joseph Patrick Dunn
Rank/Branch: O2/US Navy
Unit: Attack Squadron 25, USS CORAL SEA
Date of Birth: 17 September 1942 (Boston MA)
Home City of Record: Hull MA
Date of Loss: 14 February 1968
Country of Loss: China
Loss Coordinates: 185500N 1103800E (DL614917)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Category: 3
Acft/Vehicle/Ground: A1H
Other Personnel In Incident: (none missing)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 01 April 1990 from one or more of
the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence
with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews. Updated by the P.O.W.
SYNOPSIS: LTJG Joseph P. Dunn joined the Navy in 1964. He received orders
for Vietnam in July 1967, where he was assigned to Attack Squadron 25
onboard the USS CORAL SEA. On February 14, 1968, Dunn launched in his A1H
Skyraider attack aircraft from Cubi Point Naval Air Station, Republic of the
Philippines, to relieve another aircraft from his squadron. The flight was a
ferry flight, returning a repaired A1 aircraft to the USS CORAL SEA,
accompanied by a second unarmed radar plane.
During the flight to the aircraft carrier on station in the Gulf of Tonkin,
both Dunn and his wingman drifted north of their proposed flight route and
wound up off the east coast of Hainan Island, China. The Chinese, having
tracked the aircraft on radar, sent MiG 17 aircraft to turn the intruders
away. Fire from one of them struck Dunn's aircraft.
The pilot of the second plane, along with three other crewmen, saw Dunn
descend with a fully opened parachute and heard the manual UHF emergency
beeper sound for two to three minutes, but then they were forced evade the
attacking MiG aircraft and flew toward the security of South Vietnam. The
wingman immediately reported the shootdown and U.S. aircraft responded
within minutes of the call. Unfortunately, due to the wingman's perception
that he was off the coast of North Vietnam and not China, the U.S. aircraft
searched the wrong area for hours. Upon his landing in South Vietnam, the
mistake was discovered and other aircraft were correctly deployed, but
without success.
Eight hours after the shootdown, an electronic surveillance plane picked up
a beeper signal for 20 minutes from the vicinity of Hainan Island. It is
believed that Dunn would take approximately 8 hours to reach the island in
his emergency life raft. There were a number of junks in the region which
might have picked him up. Had he drowned, his body would have reached the
island and probably have been seen by villagers.
The Chinese reported the shootdown in their radio broadcasts. Numerous
newspapers related the incident, and U.S. State Department efforts were
initiated to try to get more information. Despite the evidence that Dunn
could have been captured, the Chinese will say nothing about his fate.
American envoys to China have raised the question of Dunn's fate to no
Dunn's wife and son have been very active since he disappeared in the effort
to secure information on the men still missing in Indochina. They know that
Joe Dunn would want them to press for answers. Joe himself was very
concerned about friends who had been shot down, and for the crew of the
ill-fated Pueblo illegallly siezed by North Korea in 1968. They continually
work to remind the American public and the government of the United States
that the fate of those nearly 2500 Americans remains unresolved and is of
utmost importance.
Joseph P. Dunn was promoted to the rank of Commander during the period he
was maintained missing.
In 1997, Monika Jensen-Stevensen wrote "SPITE HOUSE" and in it notes she
spoke to Maureen Dunn. The author writes "Ms. Dunn also obtained documents
through the Freedom of Information Act that VERIFY that the decision to
ABANDON her husband, and other pilots who were shot down near Hainan Island,
were made at the highest levels....high-level group had made the decison to
abort her husband's rescue in the same way.....[as the] abandoning of the
pilot in October of the same year. She asked McNamara for an apology....He
told her, "I'm not just sorry, I'm horrified..."
[see page 199-200 of Spite House]
The Search for Canasta 404: Love, Loss, and the POW/MIA Movement,  a new
book by Melissa B. Robinson and Maureen Dunn.
Information about The Search for Canasta 404 (hardback at $24.95) is
available at http://www.upne.com/1-58465-486-4.html.
The Search for Canasta 404: Love, Loss, and the POW/MIA Movement
The true story of a personal tragedy that helped spark the POW/MIA movement
The whirlwind romance of Joe and Maureen Dunn began in the spring of 1963.
Each the youngest child of a working-class Irish Boston family, they quickly
fell in love and were married soon after they met. Joe subsequently enlisted
in the Navy, attended flight school, and volunteered for Vietnam. On
Valentine's Day 1968--eleven days after his first tour of duty was
extended--Joe was ferrying an unarmed plane, call sign "Canasta 404," when
he drifted into Chinese airspace and was shot down.
That tragedy helped to ignite one of the most important social movements of
recent decades. Eyewitness accounts suggested Joe might have survived the
initial attack, but Maureen, determined to prove her husband was still
alive, met with resistance rather than answers from a stonewalling U.S.
government. In response, she organized the "Where is Lt. Joe Dunn?"
committee, one of the first POW/MIA activist organizations in the country.
Part love story, part inside account of the growth of a movement, The Search
for Canasta 404 is a deeply personal narrative of private tragedy and public
September 25, 2006
A missing pilot and lasting love
HYANNIS - Behind the bar at The Island Merchant is a photograph of Navy Lt.
Joseph P. Dunn, of Hull, whose unarmed plane was shot down off the coast of
China on Feb. 14, 1968.....
Gwenn Friss can be reached at gfriss@capecodonline.com.


40 years of questions for widow of pilot who was a Hull native

Wicked Local Hull - Quincy,MA,USA

- It was 40 years ago today when a deliveryman showed up at Maureen Dunn's
Oak Street home in Randolph with a bouquet of red roses from her Navy pilot
husband, Hull native Joseph Dunn...




Maureen Dunn, POW and MIA activist, dies at age 72

Dunn dedicated life to military personnel captured, missing in action

 UPDATED 1:13 PM EDT May 11, 2013

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Maureen Dunn, advocate for POW/MIA families
Maureen Dunn, advocate for POW/MIA families Maureen Dunn lost her husband on Feb. 14, 1968. She did not lose him the way thousands of other American ...