Father and son flew the same F-111s — 20 years apart
By KATIE SHORT | Moscow-Pullman Daily News, Moscow, Idaho | Published: September 25, 2017
MOSCOW, Idaho (Tribune News Service) — The dining room of the Kindred Nursing and Rehabilitation center was packed full of people who came to honor father and son veterans, Kent and Andy Dunnam, as they were awarded Quilts of Valor on Saturday for their service in the military.
After they were awarded their quilts, Andy, 54, addressed his family and friends who had come from Troy to celebrate the occasion with them. He said what makes their story so unique is that he and his father flew the exact same planes, 20 years apart.
Andy said when he joined the Air Force, he started comparing his flight logs with his father's and noticed that three of the planes they both flew had the same tail numbers.
"We sat in the exact same seat," Andy said. "He sat in them in the 1970s, and I did in the 1990s."
Kent, now 81, had commissioned a squadron of new F-111s in the 1970s when he was a navigator and weapons systems officer. His son retired the same planes to the "boneyard" in the 1990s.
"Kent was in the U.S. Air Force from 1960 to 1979," Barbara Crossler, a member of the Troy Historical Society, said, as she helped present the Dunnam family their quilts. "Andy was in the Air Force from 1988 to 2012. He was navigator and weapons system officer like his dad."
Combined, the father and son duo has nearly 50 years of service with the Air Force.
Crossler said Kent served three tours in Vietnam, flew 38 combat missions and was awarded the Air Force Air Medal two times. His son Andy served in both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, including Desert Storm and operation Enduring Freedom-Afghanistan and was awarded the Purple Heart, and the Air Force Air Medal five times.
Andy retired from the Air Force five years ago, and he and his family now live in Colorado Springs. They made a special trip to Moscow this year so that he and his father could receive their quilts together.
The Dunnam family moved to Troy in 1975, recalled Kent's wife, Linda. She said after Kent retired from the Air Force, he continued his military career with the University of Idaho and Washington State University ROTC programs.
Their long-time friend and neighbor, Janet O'Connor, also helped get Kent and Andy their quilts. She said she got to know the Dunnam family because their boys are the same age.
Andy said he already has a spot in their home where they are going to display the quilt. The tag on Andy's quilt shows it was made by a woman in Vancouver, Wash., and his fathers' was made locally in Troy by a woman they know from church.
"On behalf of my dad, myself and family, thank you for making this special," Andy told the group that had gathered for the celebration.
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