Flier Gets 'Heart' for Chute Jump

Reprint from June 30, 1945 newspaper included in original Caterpillar Club application.

An 8th Air Force Fighter Station in England, June 30 (Special)—

1st Lt. Philip H. Dunn, son of Mrs. Cora I. Dunn, has been decorated with the Purple Heart for injuries received in parachuting from his P-51 Mustang fighter on March 3, 1945. The award was made after he was liberated from a German prison camp at Barth, on the Baltic coast, and returned to his station in Essex county, England.

Lt. Dunn began his combat career against the Germans as a fighter pilot in the famous Eagle squadron of the Royal Air Force, was transferred to the American 8th Air Force in October, 1942 and was forced to jump from his Mustang fighter in southern France for lack of gasoline, after a fierce encounter between nine Americans and 60-odd German planes. He had shot down two German craft before he hit the silk.

Lt.-Dunn-letter.jpgHe had but eight miles to go to Spain and freedom when he engaged a four-motored German bomber, using his last fuel to send the craft flaming into a tree. Although his head was injured as he jumped, Lt. Dunn returned to his station completely recovered as a result of correct medical treatment by the Germans.


In addition to the Purple Heart he has been awarded the Distinguished Three Oak Leaf Clusters. 

In his Caterpillar Club Application, Lt. Dunn described his life-saving jump in more detail.

 "I must add that the parachute operated perfectly and with an amazing speed. I rolled my aircraft at 1200 feet in rainy weather and allowed myself to fall clear of the aircraft. I then opened the chute which gave me only a minor jolt and floated gently down. Not having previously jumped I did only as I had been previously instructed which was to make myself quite limber and not stiffen my legs when I hit the ground. This I did as in jumping off a high wall and landed very easily without even overbalancing myself and remaining on my feet. A pop on the quick release dropped my chute and I was free and gone in a matter of seconds. However, I must add that the German troops discovered me in hiding within one hour so I was soon taken prisoner. However, 'C' est la guerre'.  I do feel I definitely owe my life to the excellent functioning of this chute and I assure that my future flying will definitely be only with a chute."

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