Dan was born on February 24, 1925 in Parks, TX. He started flying in Houston, TX at age fifteen, soloing on his sixteenth birthday in 1941. He entered the Army Air Corps in 1943 as an aviation cadet; graduated in February 1944 as a single engine pilot and was assigned to the 118th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, 23rd Fighter Group at Liuchow, where he flew missions in P-40s and P-51s out of Liuchow, Chengkung, Suichwan, and Loahwangping.
Two memorable incidents that stand out in his mind are the hurried evacuation of Liuchow because of the Japanese takeover in very inclement weather, causing the loss of five fighter pilots, and a mission out of Suichwan, China to Canton on which he was shot down (MACR 11637) by ground fire while strafing White Cloud Aerodrome. After bailing out of his P-51, the Chinese underground smuggled him out of Japanese territory and subsequently brought him back to Chengkung, because Suichwan had been taken over by the Japanese in his absence. Click to view his walkout story.
He was separated from the service in January 1946 and flew as a corporate pilot for a major oil company for forty years, retiring in 1986. His hobbies included raising cutting horses and flying his Beechcraft Bonanza.