Reminger attorney John Dunn sat down with Attorney at Law Magazine Cleveland publisher Jim Shultz to discuss his career both in the military and in the law for the 2018 Veterans in Law Special Issue.
AALM: In which branch of the Armed Forces did you serve and what was your highest rank achieved?
Dunn: I am currently serving in the U.S. Army Reserve. I am a lieutenant colonel (promotable). After graduating from Xavier, I served on active duty for nearly five years as a military police officer. While in law school, I joined the Army Reserve and have served in the Reserves since then. I remain in the Military Police Corps Regiment.
AALM: Briefly describe your most interesting tours of duty or duty stations. What was your main job?
Dunn: National War College (2017-2018). In 2017, I was fortunate enough to be selected to attend the National War College, a one year master program in National Security Strategy. The program brings military officers from all service branches, senior federal government agency employees and foreign military officers to study, collaborate, and develop strategy pertaining to international affairs. The opportunity to interact with some of the best minds in our government, as well as those of other nations, broadened my scope and view of the role of our government, and our nation’s military, in establishing and seeking solutions to global security matters.
AALM: When did you first know you wanted to become an attorney? What drew you to this career?
Dunn: In my family, service was a part of life. My grandfather, a WWII veteran, modeled service in his career, his volunteerism and community involvement. From my earliest days, I was drawn to military service. As a child, my great uncle was served as a judge on the Kentucky Court of Appeals. After he retired, he was assigned as a special judge to preside over the trial of the Carroll County, Kentucky bus crash involving the safety and design of school busses. Listening to tales of the proceedings and the issues formed the basis for choosing the law.
AALM: What was the greatest lesson you learned in the military or law school?
Dunn: Preparation is crucial to success. As a new platoon leader in Korea, near the DMZ, our unit would routinely conduct no-notice drills to ready the unit, physically and mentally, for any contingency. Success of plans and swiftness in execution were obtained through attention to detail and preparing each member of the unit. Through my military service and in practice I have always returned to this fundamental lesson. Prepare, train, execute, and repeat! Success will not be achieved through luck. Luck favors the prepared.
AALM: What experiences have taught you the most?
Dunn: Difficult and challenging circumstances in life create the opportunities for growth. Service in combat and my personal struggle with cancer offered insights into my own self as well as those closest to me. Both combat and cancer are unfortunate, but both are excellent educators in humanity. They each, in their own unique way offer glimpses into our own mortality and at the same time allow the best in those who surround us to shine.
AALM: What do you find particularly rewarding about your military service or law practice?
Dunn: Serving as a leader in the military and practicing law provide opportunities to interact with others and engage positively in the lives of those I serve. Our clients and my soldiers come from all over the nation and from varied backgrounds. Interacting with these diverse cultural experiences and expectations affords chances to learn from each person, while also attempting to provide positive leadership, representation and experiences for each of them. For me, each of these people offer unique perspectives that I am able to learn from and grow as a person.
AALM: How would you describe the culture of the firm?
Dunn: Reminger has provided unwavering support of my military service. From my earliest days as a law clerk, who a month after working left for Iraq to supporting and encouraging a yearlong sabbatical to attend the National War College, Reminger has stood with me. In the years in between, weeks away for training, all members of Reminger have met regular days out of the office for military duties with appreciation. It would have been impossible for me to dedicate myself to service to our Nation without the continued support of the people that make up Reminger.
AALM: Are there any changes coming in the future that you’re excited about?
Dunn: In 2019, I expect to be promoted to Colonel and assume command of an Army Reserve Brigade. This command will be geographically dispersed over five states with over 2000 soldiers. I am excited for the opportunity to meet new soldiers, face new challenges and continuing to make a positive impact for our nation’s defense.
AALM: What accomplishment are you most proud of achieving?
Dunn: In 2003, the Mechanized Combat Engineer Battalion which I served as the logistics officer for was the first such large reserve unit to deploy to Iraq. Our unit was able to successfully prepare, deploy and engage in combat operations from Northern Kentucky while working in a system that simply was not designed, at the time, for the operational support by the reserve component. This was a catalyst for the transformation of our Army Reserve from a strategic ready reserve force to an operational force multiplier.
AALM: What do you enjoy doing outside of work? Hobbies? Sports?
Dunn: I often tell people that my hobby is serving in the Army Reserve. I remain passionate about my service and am grateful for the opportunity to continue to serve.