Wapello County

Richard Warner Dunlap



Richard Warner Dunlap was born in Ollie, Iowa, on 26 May 1919, to Charles Warner and Nettie Francis (Reed) Dunlap. Richard graduated from Ottumwa, Iowa High School in 1938. His siblings are a brother, Charles and a sister, Rosemary.

Richard entered the service 11 June 1942, Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas. He trained in Aerial gunnery school at Harlingen, Texas. He then went to flexible gunnery school at Fort Mead, Florida. Sent overseas, 13 April 1943/AMETO. Stationed in North Africa with the 99th Bomber Group, he saw action in Tunisia, Sicily, Naples-Foggia, Rome-Arno and the Air Offensive European campaign.

Son, Richard, writes ‘My father was a door gunner/bombardier on the B17 Bomber. I have no letters but I remember the stories of the war he used to tell my brothers and myself. The missions were long to reach the target; they would be attacked by enemy fighter planes and Anti Aircraft guns whom protecting the target. The exploding shells from the guns would create much flak and the blasts would rock the plane. My dad said they were always cold because the plane flew so high and they were always thirsty.

My father’s plane was never shot down, but they did have some harrowing landings, and they always had to be ready for survival in case of being shot down behind enemy lines. My father was wounded during one of the missions by a German pilot who was flying a messersmit. He said he saw the fighter pilot’s face, and he would recognize him if he ever saw him on the street until the day he died. My father had pieces of the bullets and fragments of the blue flight suit he was wearing in his arm, and the scars left by the bullets ripping into him. Even after he died in 1995, you could still see the bits of the blue flight suit in his arm and the scars left by the bullets. He was awarded the Purple Heart, but didn’t have to wear it to be reminded of the wounds of the war. He was much luckier than other members of the 99th who didn’t survive the missions. On the lighter side, he said he saw Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman on the street while they were filming Casablanca.

Richard was credited with 50 combat missions and 342.15 combat hours by November 1943. On 19 February 1944, he returned to the USA and taught Air Gunnery at the Sioux City Airbase until the end of WWII.

My father married Dorothy Jean (Hammerstrom), 20 January 1945, in St. Ambrose rectory at Sibley, Iowa. To this union were born: Margie, Richard, Daniel, Randy, Mark, Greg, Robert, and Andrew.

Son, Richard, remembers Richard as a wonderful father, hardworking, and a good citizen who loved his country. He was very proud of his service to his country and his contribution to winning WWII. He lived a full life and died of a heart attack, 20th June 1995, in Sioux City. He is buried in Calvary Cemetery, in Sioux City.

Richard received 5 Bronze Stars, a Purple Heart, and the Air Medal with 9 oak leaf cluster.

Submitted by Richard (Jeff) Dunlap, his son.