Marine reservist’s lost Korean War Purple Heart donated to UConn

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STORRS — The lost Purple Heart medal of a Marine reservist killed in the Korean War was presented to the University of Connecticut during the school’s Veterans Day ceremony.

UConn officials accepted 1st Lt. John Dunne’s medal Wednesday and will display it permanently on campus in the Arjona Building in the Office of Veterans Affairs and Military Programs.

Dunne was born in Hartford and was a 1942 UConn graduate, according to UConn Today. After serving in the Marines during World War II, Dunne taught English at the school. Dunne remained in the Marine Reserves, but went to Ireland to get his doctorate in philosophy. He was set to teach at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh when he was called to serve with the Marine Corps Reserve in Korea.

Dunne was killed in the Battle of Chosin Reservoir on December 6, 1950. Besides the Purple Heart, Dunne was also awarded the National Defense Medal, WWII Victory Medal, Korean Service Medal, Republic of Korea War Service Medal and the United Nations Service Medal. He was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

Dom Narducci of Southbury presented the medal to UConn in collaboration with the nonprofit group Purple Hearts Reunited, after they couldn’t find living relatives of Dunne. Narducci found the medal in his late uncle’s belongings in 2012, but how it got there is a mystery.