Fred Dungan was born on July 27, 1921, in Los Angeles, California. He received his Private Pilot's License through the Civil Pilot's Training Program before enlisting in the Aviation Cadet Program of the U.S. Navy on December 30, 1941. He was commissioned an Ensign in the U.S. Navy and designated a Naval Aviator on Friday, November 13, 1942, and then served with Project Afirm at NAS Quonset Point, Rhode Island, a highly classified night fighter development project, from December 1942 to July 1943. During this time, Ens Dungan made the first Ground Controlled Approach blind landing to a stop in the history of aviation on December 19, 1942. His next assignment was as an F6F-3N Hellcat night fighter pilot with VF(N)-76 in Hawaii from July 1943 to January 1944, and then aboard the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown (CV-10) from January to March 1944. LtJg Dungan then moved with the squadron to the aircraft carrier USS Hornet (CV-12) from March to July 1944, and during this time he was credited with the destruction of 7 enemy aircraft in aerial combat plus 1 probable before being wounded in action on July 4, 1944. He was hospitalized to recover from his injuries at the Naval Hospital in Bremerton, Washington, and then Long Beach, California, from August to November 1944, followed by service as a night fighter instructor pilot with the Night Aircraft Training Unit at NAS Quonset Point from November 1944 to August 1945. His final active duty assignment was with VF(N)-90 at NAS Boca Chica, Florida, from August 1945 until he left active duty and joined the U.S. Naval Reserve on October 27, 1945. LCDR Dungan served at Naval Auxiliary Air Station Los Alamitos, California, from October 1945 until his retired from the Navy on July 1, 1963. After leaving active duty, Fred worked as a Fixed Base Operator at Teterboro Airport in Hackensack, New Jersey, from 1945 to 1947, and then with the 3M Company from 1947 to 1982.
His Navy Cross Citation reads:
For extraordinary heroism as Pilot of a Fighter Plane in Fighting Squadron TWO, attached to the U.S.S. HORNET, during operations against enemy Japanese forces in the vicinity of the Bonin Islands, July 4, 1944. When he was attacked by several enemy float fighter planes while engaged in a mission alone over enemy territory, Lieutenant (then Lieutenant, Junior Grade) Dungan parried the attack until another friendly fighter came to his assistance and, turning into the enemy, succeeded in shooting down four of the hostile planes. Despite serious wounds sustained during this battle, he flew his plane back to the carrier and made a successful landing. His skilled airmanship, courage and devotion to duty upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.