On 11 November 2015, the lost Purple Heart of WWII and Korean War hero 1st Lieutenant John Michael Dunne was presented for permanent display to the University of Connecticut. The presentation occurred as part of the university’s Veterans Day Ceremony on campus in Storrs, CT at the Ultimate Sacrifice Memorial, which is located in front of Wilbur Cross, on the Great Lawn.

1st Lieutenant John Michael Dunne (SN: 0-41182) was born 08 January 1919 in Hartford, CT to Matthew and Elsie Dunne. He attended the University of Connecticut and graduated in 1942. As a student, he was an active member of Alpha Phi Fraternity and served as the Editor of the Nutmeg Yearbook. Dunne commissioned into the United States Marine Corps on 03 July 1943. He went on to serve in the Pacific Theater during WWII. After the war, he taught English for a time at the University of Connecticut and then went on to Dublin, Ireland, where he finished work to obtain his doctor of philosophy degree. He later returned to the United States and was planning to teach at Duquesne University in Pittsburg, PA, when, as a member of the Marine Reserve, he was called to service in Korea. He served with Headquarters and Service Company, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division. During combat operations on 06 December 1950, he was Killed in Action on Hill 902 in the Chosin Reservoir, Korea. 1LT Dunne is buried in Arlington National Cemetery, Section 2, Site 3746.

His awards and decorations consist of the Purple Heart, National Defense Medal, WWII Victory Medal, Korean Service Medal, Republic of Korea War Service Medal, and United Nations Service Medal.

1LT Dunne’s posthumous Purple Heart was discovered by Dom Narducci, who quickly reached out to Purple Hearts Reunited to find 1LT Dunne’s family. Through research, PHR discovered that 1LT Dunne’s direct family is no longer living. 1LT Dunne’s medal was donated to the University of Connecticut for permanent display to serve as a reminder to present and future students of one of their past Alumni who sacrificed his life so that we could be a free nation.

This medal return was sponsored by a grant from the Purple Heart Foundation and a generous donation from the Orleans New York Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.