24th Air Force STAN/EVAL director retires after nearly three decades of service

Col. Charles Dunn, II, 24th Air Force standardization and evaluation director who grew up 20 minutes from San Antonio, retired in a ceremony here May 11 after more than 27 years of service to the Air Force.

Col. Charles Dunn, II, 24th Air Force standardization and evaluation director who grew up 20 minutes from San Antonio, retired in a ceremony here May 11 after more than 27 years of service to the Air Force.

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO - LACKLAND, Texas -- Col. Charles Dunn, II, 24th Air Force standardization and evaluation director who grew up 20 minutes from San Antonio, retired in a ceremony here May 11 after more than 27 years of service to the Air Force.

After graduating from Texas A&M as an honor student, Dunn worked in the civilian sector as an environmental and civil engineer before joining the military. Dunn started off in the Air Force as a Minuteman Intercontinental Ballistic Missile crew commander. Within a few months he distinguished himself as an instructor - a position he held for seven years.

As a second Lieutenant, Dunn's wing leadership selected him for the mammoth task of overseeing the base's hazardous waste abatement program - specifically to draft the plan and coordinate the product with external agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency.

"I was tasked to help the civil engineers develop the program based on my extensive civilian experience in this area," said Dunn.

Dunn indicated his early success resulted in opportunities for special assignments where he was allowed to flourish through innovation.

"The confidence and trust I built empowered me to innovate early in my career as I developed the first local area network on F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming and the first automated tools to schedule helicopter operations and missile operations standardization/evaluation and training," he said.

Dunn cross-trained from missile operations to communications and information supporting United States Strategic Command operations.

While assigned to United States Strategic Command, Dunn developed several million lines of missile warning code and it was under Dunn's leadership that the command transitioned to an entirely new missile warning architecture. During the transition to the new hardware and software suite, Dunn spearheaded the migration of the software development process, taking STRATCOM from a Level 0 organization on the Capability Maturity Model to a Level 3-plus - a first for the Air Force.

Later in his career while stationed in Alaska, Dunn redesigned a theater battle management system later to become the Air Force system of record. He also served as the Air Force Y2K coordinator.

"In anticipation for the Y2K events, I built a successful action plan to remediate all Y2K errors and built the Air Force - Federal Aviation Administration continuity of operations plan and exercised the joint plan well before the rollover events," Dunn explained. "This flexibiliy to improve my Air Force and make a difference continued throughout my career."

Dunn continued to make a difference as the senior communications officer and responsible official for U.S. forces communication resources throughout the Republic of Turkey. Dunn simultaneously supported Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Northern Watch.

With a myriad of experiences and opportunities throughout his career, Dunn said his wife was very active in his career and he looks forward to spending even more time with her and their children.

"The Air Force experience let her see a bigger world where she was able to volunteer with the Red Cross and other not-for-profit organizations and non-governmental organizations, even traveling to Iraq in 2004 to help women and children with her civil engineering reconstruction efforts," he said. "I'll now have more time for my wife, four children and my parents. As it turned out, the military was a very demanding life choice, but made better with the many friendships developed along the way and the esprit de corps with fellow Airmen, Sailors, Soldiers, Marines and Coastguardsmen."

Capt. Darris Johnson, Dunn's former executive officer, offered an insider look on the leader Dunn was to him.

"The officer and man that Col Dunn is go hand-in-hand," he said. "Prior to joining the Air Force, I know he worked in the civilian sector. I have no doubt that the high standards set and enforced during his uniform service, simply carried over from his natural qualities of who he was in the civilian sector.

"Having had the ability to observe his leadership, receive personal mentorship and learn about his off-duty interests, I can tell you that he is an empowering leader, officer and a gentleman, cool, calm, collected, family oriented and outdoorsman are some of the best phrases and words I would use to describe Col. Dunn," said Johnson. "I have always admired his southern hospitality .... everything from a welcoming handshake and smile in passing to opening his home and making you feel at home during holiday fellowships at his residence with troops and families in his command."