Dean DeTar was born on November 18, 1932. He was commissioned through the Air Force ROTC program on July 21, 1954, and went on active duty beginning April 12, 1955. After completing Undergraduate Pilot Training and All-Weather Fighter training, Lt DeTar was assigned as an F-102 Delta Dagger pilot to the 2nd Fighter Intercepter Squadron at Suffolk County AFB, New York, from November 1956 to February 1959. He then completed Weapons Controller training and was assigned to Lake City AFS, Tennessee, from March 1959 to February 1960, and then to Hofn, Iceland, from February to September 1960. Capt DeTar then served as a Weapons Controller at Keflavik, Iceland, until January 1961, when he was transferred to Sioux City AFB, Iowa, where he served until August 1963. Capt DeTar then served with Headquarters 5th Air Force at Fuchu AS, Japan, from August 1963 to August 1966, followed by service with Headquarters Air Defense Command at Ent AFB, Colorado, until early 1969. After completing A-1 Skyraider Combat Crew Training, Maj DeTar served with the 6th Special Operations Squadron at Pleiku AB in the Republic of Vietnam from May to November 1969, and then as the Commander of Detachment 2 and then as Deputy Wing Commander, 56th Special Operations Wing, at Nakhon Phanom Royal Thai AFB, Thailand, from November 1969 to June 1970. During this time, Col DeTar flew 264 combat missions in Southeast Asia. His next assignment was with the 4407th Combat Crew Training Squadron at Eglin AFB, Florida, where he served from June 1970 to April 1971. Col DeTar's final assignment was at Headquarters U.S. Air Force in the Pentagon from April 1971 until his retirement from the Air Force on July 31, 1980.
His Air Force Cross Citation reads:
The President of the United States of America, authorized by Section 8742, Title 10, United States Code, awards the Air Force Cross to Major Dean E. DeTar, for extraordinary heroism in military operations against an opposing armed force as the Commander of a Search and Rescue Force in Southeast Asia on 21 March 1970. On that date, Major DeTar led a force of twenty-nine aircraft against one of the most heavily defended locations in Southeast Asia to rescue an American airman. In spite of heavy opposing fire which inflicted severe losses on this and earlier rescue attempts, Major DeTar remained under constant attack while he led and inspired his forces to execute a successful rescue which saved the life of a fellow airman. Through his extraordinary heroism, superb airmanship, and aggressiveness in the face of the opposing armed force, Major DeTar has reflected the highest credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.