He was Chief of the United States Naval Reserve from October 1982 until November 1983. As a vice admiral, Dunn also served as Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic Fleet from 1983 to 1986, and as Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Air Warfare from 1987 to his retirement in 1989. Other commands he held include Commander Carrier Group Eight, Commander Naval Military Personnel Command, and of Mount Whitney (LCC-20) and Saratoga (CV-60).
Born in Chicago, he is a 1951 graduate of the United States Naval Academy in which he served as class president
In retirement, Dunn served a stint as president of the Naval Historical Foundation.