Lynn Beens was born in 1946 in Detroit, Michigan. After completing his bachelor's degree at Weber State College in Ogden, Utah, he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force Reserve to attend Officer Training School on June 18, 1968, and entered active duty for OTS on August 8, 1968. He completed OTS and was commissioned a 2d Lt in the Air Force on November 6, 1968, and then attended Undergraduate Pilot Training at Vance AFB, Oklahoma, from December 1968 to December 1969. Lt Beens then completed Undergraduate Navigator Training and was awarded his navigator wings at Mather AFB, California, in September 1970, followed by Navigator/Bombardier training and B-52 Stratofortress Combat Crew Training from September 1970 to August 1971. His first assignment was as a B-52 navigator with the 325th Bomb Squadron at Fairchild AFB, Washington, from August 1971 to April 1972, and then deployed to Southeast Asia from April 1972 until he was forced to eject over North Vietnam and was taken as a Prisoner of War on December 21, 1972. After spending 99 days in captivity, Capt Beens was released during Operation Homecoming on March 29, 1973, and was then briefly hospitalized to recover from his injuries at March AFB, California. His next assignment was as an instructor navigator with the 449th Flying Training Squadron at Mather AFB from August 1973 to July 1977, followed by service as an instructor radar navigator, T-10 Simulator Section Commander, and Wing Missile Officer with the 92nd Bomb Wing at Fairchild AFB, Washington, from November 1977 to June 1984. His final assignment was as a B-52 radar navigator, as an instructor radar navigator, as Wing Missile Officer, and finally as Chief of the Strategic Mission Data Preparation System Section with the 28th Bomb Wing at Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota, from July 1984 until his retirement from the Air Force on October 1, 1989.
His Distinguished Flying Cross w/Valor Citation reads:
Captain Lynn R. Beens distinguished himself by heroism while participating in aerial flight as a B-52G Navigator near Hanoi, North Vietnam, on 20 December 1972. On that date, Captain Beens flew in the lead aircraft of a strike force directed to attack a vital military target defended by a most prolific air defense system. Captain Beens displayed superb airmanship and courage while accomplishing the critical precise navigation and timing control required to insure the outstanding results obtained, even though his aircraft was lost as the result of hostile fire. The outstanding heroism and selfless devotion to duty displayed by Captain Beens reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.