from an Air Force family, Dana entered the Academy right after graduating
from Granger HS in West Valley, UT. He spent his first two years in
5th Squadron, then on to 3rd and when the new squadrons were added,
Dana spent his First Class year in 27th Squadron. Academics did snag
him now and then and his ZI field trip was cut short so he could join
22 of his classmates back at the Academy on R-Flight. Always a gung-ho
warrior, he even tried to study the Vietnam war "on site"
as a Cadet, but the CG of HQ PACAF said No! and ordered
him off the plane taking an Army combat unit into action during one
Cadet summer. I didnt even know he knew I was on that plane!
Dana went to Reese AFB for pilot training, then to Seymour-Johnson AFB
in 1969 where he was a B-52 pilot in the 51st Bomb Squadron there and
with the 307th Strategic Wing at Utapao AB, Thailand. After over 50
B-52 bombing missions in Vietnam, Dana went to Luke AFB in 1971 to transition
to the F-4E after volunteering for another tour in the S.E.Asia War.
In June, 1972, he was assigned to the 421st TFS at DaNang AB Vietnam/Takhli
RTAFB Thailand, which unit lost many of its F4s and personnel shot down.
Dana roomed with Classmate Bill Beekman for a short time until Bill
was shot down and captured. He then moved to Udorn RTAFB Thailand where
he flew as an F-4D/E pilot with the 13th TFS "Panther Pack",
part of the 432nd TRWg, until July, 1973, flying over 165 combat missions
throughout S.E. Asia, including raids to Route Pack VI over Hanoi. He
arrived shortly after 13th TFS member Tony Marshall
was shot down and was present in the same wing when '68er Bill Gaunt
(14th TRS) was shot down--as well as others. All the Air Force Aces
of the Vietnam War were in the 432nd Wing when they made Ace, including
Jeff Feinstein, '68, also a Panther Pack member.
time, he met and became the handler of the famous real black panther
mascot of the 13th, eventually becoming bonded to the big cat, which
he took out on walks and fun play dates every day. During his tour as
an F-4E pilot escorting B-52 missions, coupled with his previous tour
as a B-52 pilot, Dana realized that the B-52 mission planning during
Linebacker II was seriously faulty, resulting in crew and aircraft losses.
With the support of fighter wing commanders in S.E. Asia, he reported
it to SAC commanders, which eventually cost him his Air Force career
when SAC refused to admit it made certain mistakes--a position it maintained
until studies and declassified information vindicating Dana were published
to 1976, Dana was stationed at Homestead AFB, where he was an F-4E Pilot
in the 308th TFS and a Staff Officer with the 31st Tactical Fighter
Wing. During his assignment at Homestead, Dana completed his Master
of Arts degree in guidance and counseling from the University of Northern
Colorado, receiving Air Force awards as a top scholar. In 1976, he was
passed over for permanent captain (clearly a result of his analysis
and reporting of B-52 mission planning) and was discharged. After leaving
the Air Force, Dana embarked on a different path as a "warrior".
working as a military consultant or contractor for different militaries
or countries, seeing more combat in countries/wars such as Libya/Chad,
Rhodesia and El Salvador, among others, where he was both a pilot and
later a sniper and long range reconnaissance patroller behind enemy
lines. He was captured once, held at a firing squad wall, but escaped
with two other Americans, stealing a C-47/DC-3 to cross over 600 miles
of the Sahara Desert to a tiny air strip using only a standby compass,
after the instruments and hydraulics were shot out during the escape.
futility of his career choicenot much money was made during that
period--he went to law school in San Francisco, California, to become
a true mercenary, aka a lawyer. He worked as a successful
trial lawyer throughout the 1980s and 90s in virtually all the
State and Federal courts of Northern California, but remained on call
for military consultation, serving in various countries when needed,
advising among others the indigenous tribes of Nicaragua against the
Sandinista Communist government and the Afghan rebels against the Soviet
Empire during the 1980s, and was involved in the Iran-Contra issues.
Dana was fighting in El Salvador, flying AT-37s, C-47s, UH-1s, and O-2As,
when 68 classmate Buzz Sawyer was shot down over Nicaragua in
a civilian C-123Ktheir paths had crossed earlier in Libya, though
they didn't see each other there.
was recruited in the late 1980s to be a Judge Advocate General lawyer
for the US Army Reserves, working weekends as an Army JAG and weekdays
as a civil trial lawyer. His claim to fame was that he won every single
verdict in every one of over 60 trials. His secret, as he told friends,
settle the losers long before they get to the trial phase.
working part time in the 1990s as a volunteer with the California Marine
Mammal Center in Sausalito, CA, saving seals, sea lions and even whales
when necessary. He takes particular pride in being one of four members
of a team that rescued a giant humpback whale nicknamed Humphrey
by the world press when it beached itself in San Francisco Bayan
operation that took over four days. He wore a USAFA Class of 68
hat during the work, which was featured in photos of the rescue in various
the 9/11 attacks, Dana volunteered for active military duty with the
Army and was accepted, but not for work as a JAG, nor ultimately directly
with the Army. Due to his unusual backgroundas one
operative described it-- he began working in counter-terror intelligence
work, at one point working for NORAD-USNORTHCOM out of Fort Leavenworth,
KS, when Ed Eberhart was the Commanding General. He received training
from several "three letter agencies" during this period, officially
becoming a DIA asset in joint commands. He volunteered again for combat
operations and was sent to work a tour in Iraq, becoming Chief of Political
and Military Intelligence for Iraq, working from Camp Slayer near Baghdad
and going out when off duty on patrols throughout that beleaguered city,
providing an "extra gun" on up to nine man patrol teams trolling
for trouble in two or three humveesand wisely taking orders
from the senior sergeant on each team. He found himself one of the oldest
active duty soldiers on combat duty in Iraq, being over the mandatory
retirement age of 60. Dana returned to Washington, DC, where he worked
in both the Pentagon and DIA headquarters until he finally retired,
as of 2007.
a job as a prosecutor for the San Joaquin County District Attorneys
Office, where he continued his successful trial record with no lost
verdicts, bench or jury trial. Working in Stockton, CA, he said, was
rather like working in Baghdada bankrupt and dysfunctional city,
with empty buildings and houses, dirty streets, with crime everywhere
and lots of shootings. He himself was less than 50 yards away during
a bank robbery in which three people died. He was still working for
the DA as of 2015, when this was written.
another "unusual" part-time career, Dana also became heavily
involved in volunteer civil rights work during his latter Air Force
days and through the mid-1980s, being elected President of several of
the largest chapters of the National Organization for Women and Vice
Chair of the Miami Chapter of the National Womens Political Caucus,
serving also as Member of the Board of Directors of both the Florida
and Colorado-Intermountain NOW regional boards. He also donated much
time and effort to civil rights legal actions, both for groups and for
individuals after he became a lawyer.
and published a novel from which, to paraphrase Yogi Berra, the buyers
stayed away in droves, though it was on the shelves in the major bookstore
chains for over six months and the subject of numerous media interviews
and stories. He also published scores of articles in various military
and civilian magazines and scholarly/peer-reviewed journals, including
two pieces on the Operation Linebacker II issues, which received international
attention (some of it unwanted, as Dana says).
never married, describing himself as the Original Bachelor: Someone
whos never made the same mistake once! Having said that,
he admires his classmates who've had successful marriages for decades
and have raised great children who are now contributing to societyhe
is impressed at how many of those offspring went to USAFA and had Air
Force careers. Seeing that, he believes it might be time now for a family.
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