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Ripon JROTC instructor retires after 15 years
Ripons JROTC Instructor Lt. Col. Patrick Dunn, center, greets those in attendance. - photo by HIME ROMERO

A dynamic “Hooah!” literally rocked the walls of the Ripon Community Center by gathered battalion troops – past and present –  of the Ripon High JROTC,  leaving little doubt how they felt about their retiring Lt.Col. Patrick Dunn.

The honor guard marched into the hall Thursday evening with flags held high where some 300 guests witnessed a stone-faced Col. Dunn standing alone and at attention in the center of the room where the flags and armed escorts halted facing their leader in an erect stance for the traditional Flag salute.

Numerous trophies would be handed out by Dunn to his students after dinner during the awards ceremonies. Near the end of the evening some 20 of his students took the microphone and told how the colonel had affected their lives through his leadership while serving in the Ripon High unit. 

Dunn’s military service spanned some 45 years of devotion to his country, his community and to his high school students.  He later noted that he and his wife lived an average of two years at any one duty assignment until he arrived in Ripon where he was welcomed by then RUSD Superintendent Leo Zuber and ended up staying for the past 15 years.

Dunn served the Ripon High School Battalion from 2001 to 2015 as its senior U.S. Army instructor.  During that time he coached the RHS JROTC drill team to the West Coast Regional Championships in both 2012 and 2013.  

During his tenure the retired lieutenant colonel coached and mentored over 50 young men and women positioning them to receive ROTC and Academy Scholarships.

He also coached the Ripon High Drill Team at the national championships where they placed 10th in 2012 and eighth in 2013.   

During the 15 years he coached the Ripon JROTC program they achieved the Honor Unit with Distinction each year – only 10 percent of the JROTC units across the country have achieved that honor.

At Ripon High, Dunn served as the head track coach from 2001 until 2005. He took them to the regional championships all five years.

Dunn was born into a military family in Paris, France in 1949 and has lived in Germany as well as the United States.  He attended six elementary and three high schools, graduating from Killeen High in Texas in 1968.  He attended the University of Maryland, Munich Germany. He graduated from Tennessee technical University in Cookeville, TN, in 1974, with a BS in Marketing.  Dunn received his commission in the U.S. Army as a second lieutenant through the ROTC.  He attained a Masters degree in Military Science from Command and General Staff College in 1990.  

After being commissioned in 1974, Dunn was assigned to the Signal and Aviation branches of the Army.  He served in positions as platoon leader, operations officer, company executive officer, company commander, battalion and squadron executive officer, battalion 53 and brigade 53, air field commander, Army Aviation new helicopters’ testing officer and finally battalion commander for Army recruiting – retiring in 1996.

Early on Dunn had served as a private first class in the Army infantry.  Before arriving in Ripon he was also a senior Army Instructor at the Army Navy Academy, a private Boys High School in Carlsbad, California. 

Dunn participated in a joint Change of Command ceremony with his replacement John Tao along with the leaders of the Ripon JROTC Battalion. 


To contact Glenn Kahl email or call 209.249.3539.