Dale Dye

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Dale Dye
Dale Dye.jpg
Born Dale Adam Dye, Jr.
(1944-10-08) October 8, 1944 (age 71)
Cape Girardeau, Missouri, U.S.
Occupation Marine, actor, technical adviser, radio host
Years active 1964 – 84
Spouse(s) GySgt Margaret Chavez (?-1979) (divorced) (3 sons)
Kathryn Clayton (1983-?) (divorced) (1 daughter)
Julia Dye (2006-present)
Children Adrienne Dye
Christopher Dye
Military career
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch  United States Marine Corps
Years of service 1964 – 1984
Rank US-O3 insignia.svg Captain
Unit 1st Marine Division:
1-5 battalion insignia.png 1st Battalion 5th Marines
2nd Battalion, 5th Marines
2nd Battalion, 1st Marines

Vietnam War
Lebanese Civil War (MNF)

Awards Bronze Star Medal with Combat "V"
Purple Heart Medal (3)
Meritorious Service Medal
Joint Service Commendation Medal
Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (2) with Combat "V"
Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with Combat "V"
Combat Action Ribbon (2)

Dale Adam Dye, Jr. (born October 8, 1944) is an American author, actor, technical adviser, presenter, businessman, and retired United States Marine Corps captain who served in combat during the Vietnam War. Dye enlisted in the Marine Corps after graduating from high school. He became a combat correspondent and while recuperating from a wound accompanied 2nd Battalion 3rd Marines on an operation. During the mission he rescued several individuals while under fire and was awarded the Bronze Star. After 13 years he was made a Warrant Officer and later received an officer's commission.

After retiring, Dye moved to Los Angeles with the goal of helping Hollywood films depict battle more accurately. He has served as a technical adviser for a number of films and acted in many movies as well. His company is the top technical adviser to Hollywood. He has also contributed his expertise and voice to video games.

Early life and Marine service[edit]

Dye was born in Cape Girardeau, Missouri[1] and is the son of Della Grace (Koehler) and Dale Adam Dye, Sr.[2] His father was a liquor salesman in and around St. Louis and took Dale with him as he visited working-class taverns. There he heard war stories from World War II veterans. One particular story about man-to-man fighting told by a Marine who said he had fought in the South Pacific arrested Dale's attention. He looked up the Battle of Iwo Jima that night and made up his mind to become a Marine.[3]

But his father committed suicide when he was 13. His mother couldn't take care of him and he was shuttled from relative to relative. In the fifth grade he attended St. Joseph's Military Academy in Chicago and then attended high school at Missouri Military Academy in Missouri, graduating as a cadet officer. Dye wanted to attend Annapolis, but he failed the entrance exam three times. While he scored high on his English skills, his math and science skills were weak. Lacking the money to attend college, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in January 1964.[3]

Service in Vietnam[edit]

Dye's unit was among the first to deploy to Vietnam. Officers in his unit noticed his keen observational skills and literary interest and encouraged him to reclassify as a combat correspondent. He became one of a very few Marine combat correspondents. He sent stories to military publications and to the home town newspapers of fellow Marines.[4] As a correspondent, he saw more battle than many low-ranking infantrymen. Dye developed an immense respect for the grunts who took the brunt of any action.[3]

Dye was wounded during the Tet Offensive in 1968. While recuperating in a rear area, the 2nd Battalion 3rd Marines, a unit he had traveled with previously, was preparing for Operation Ford. Dye persuaded them to let him accompany them as a war correspondent. During the next week, the unit engaged in a number of fire fights with NVA units. On 18 March 1968, Dye replaced an assistant machine gunner who had been killed. The position was isolated forward of the remainder of the unit. Although wounded, Dye exposed himself to "intense enemy fire" and retrieved ammunition to supply the machine gun, and helped hold off a superior enemy force throughout a night-long battle. During other engagements, he exposed himself to enemy fire and rescued several wounded soldiers, including a medical corpsman. As a result of his actions, he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal with Combat "V" for heroism.[5]

"Dye's heart is with the grunts," says Bob Rea, who worked with Dye as a combat correspondent during the worst of Tet. "He feels like he owes something to those people. He is a grunt wannabe."

During three tours of duty in Vietnam, he participated in 31 combat operations. During his 1967 to 1968 and 1969 to 1970 tours of duty, he was attached to different battalions of the 1st Marine Division.[6]

Promotion and later service[edit]

Dye spent a total of 13 years as an enlisted Marine, rising to the rank of Master Sergeant before being appointed a Warrant Officer in 1976. This led to Dye receiving a commission as an officer, also known as being a "mustang." (An individual who is promoted from enlisted ranks to an officer is known as a mustang.) While he was Captain he was deployed to Beirut for duty with the Multinational Force in Lebanon in 1982 and 1983.[6] Shortly after his return, the Marine barracks were attacked and 241 Americans died.

Fellow Marine correspondent Gustav Hasford dubbed him "Daddy D.A" (as he was among the oldest of the correspondents) and included him as a character in his first semi-autobiographical Vietnam novel, The Short-Timers, and more extensively in his second, The Phantom Blooper. The movie based on Hasford's first novel, Full Metal Jacket, included the "Daddy D.A" character (played by Keith Hodiak), though neither the character nor Dye's name is explicitly mentioned in the dialogue.[4]

In his book Dispatches, journalist Michael Herr provides a vivid picture of Dye during the chaos of the Tet Offensive and the Battle of Huế:[7]

And there was a Marine correspondent, Sergeant Dale Dye, who sat with a tall yellow flower sticking out of his helmet cover, a really outstanding target. He was rolling his eyes around and saying, 'Oh yes, oh yes, Charlie's got his shit together here, this will be bad," and smiling happily. It was the same smile I saw a week later when a sniper's bullet tore up a wall two inches above his head, odd cause for amusement in anyone but a grunt.

Post-military career[edit]

Dye retired from the Marines in 1984 and founded Warriors, Inc. The company specializes in training actors in war films to portray their roles realistically and provides research, planning, staging, and on-set consultation for directors and other film production personnel.[1] His company is the top military consultant to Hollywood.[4]

Writing career[edit]

While on active duty, Dye was a combat correspondent and earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Maryland. After retiring from the Marine Corps in 1984, Dye became a correspondent for Soldier of Fortune Magazine. He worked for the magazine for one year during which he worked in Central America, providing guerrilla warfare training to troops in El Salvador and Nicaragua while reporting on conflicts in the region.[8]

Dye has written a number of novels, including Run Between The Raindrops (1985, also published as Citadel) and Conduct Unbecoming (1992). In addition he wrote the novelization of the film Platoon. Dye, along with wife Julia and comic book artist Gerry Kissell created one of 2011's critically acclaimed and best-selling graphic novels, Code Word: Geronimo, for publisher IDW Publishing, that tells the story of the Navy SEAL raid on Osama bin Laden's compound.[citation needed]

Published works[edit]

  • Dye, Dale. Run Between the Raindrops (paperback ed.). Warriors Publishing Group. p. 254. ISBN 0989798372. 
  • Dye, Dale. Contra File. Warriors Publishing Group. p. 302. ISBN 978-0989798341. 

Film work[edit]

Dye was determined to improve the realism in how Hollywood depicted battle. He offered his services to a number of directors but was only successful when he pitched to fellow Vietnam veteran Oliver Stone a plan to put actors through a mock boot camp before production of the movie Platoon. Dye put the principal actors—including Charlie Sheen, Willem Dafoe, Johnny Depp and Forest Whitaker—through an immersive 30-day military-style training regimen. He limited how much food and water they could drink and eat and when the actors slept, fired blanks to keep the tired actors awake.[4] Dye also had a small role as Captain Harris. He also wrote the novelization based on Oliver Stone's screenplay.

After Platoons‍ '​ critical success, Dye played a role in the movie Casualties of War and also played Colonel Robert F. Sink in the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers, on which his company also worked.[1] Dye also worked as a military technical adviser on the HBO companion piece to Band of Brothers, the ten-part mini-series The Pacific, which was shot in Australia.[9]

He appeared in Outbreak portraying Lieutenant Colonel Briggs, a US Army officer. He plays Theodore Roosevelt's superior officer, Colonel Leonard Wood, in the TNT miniseries Rough Riders. He has a small role in Saving Private Ryan as an aide to General George Catlett Marshall as well as a role playing the Admiral's aide, Captain Garza, in Under Siege and Under Siege 2: Dark Territory. He had another small role in Spy Game as Commander Wiley during the rescue sequence, in Mission Impossible as Frank Barnes of CIA, in JFK as General Y, and in Starship Troopers as a high-ranking officer in the aftermath of the Brain Bug capture. Dye played himself in Entourage, teaching Vince to scuba dive in preparation for his role in Aquaman. He appeared in the 2011 Tom Hanks film Larry Crowne. He was the technical adviser for the 1994 Oliver Stone movie Natural Born Killers.[1]

Dye played Col. Porter in the TNT science fiction series Falling Skies from 2011 to 2013. As of 2015 he was preparing to direct two films, No Better Place to Die, which he wrote, and Citizen Soldiers.[4][1]

Voice work[edit]

During the Second Gulf War, Dye was hired as a military commentator by radio station KFI AM 640 in Los Angeles and given a two-hour radio show.[1] He hosted The History Channel's documentary series The Conquerors.[10] Dye consulted during development of the Medal of Honor video games series.[11] He was featured in two tracks on Hoobastank's CD Every Man for Himself.[12]

Military decorations and awards[edit]

Dye's military awards include:

Bronze Star Medal with Combat "V"
Gold star
Gold star
Purple Heart Medal with two 5/16" gold stars
Meritorious Service Medal
Joint Service Commendation Medal
Gold star
Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with one 5/16" gold star and Combat "V"
Vietnam and Beirut
Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with Combat "V"
Gold star
Combat Action Ribbon with one 5/16" gold star
Vietnam and Beirut
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Presidential Unit Citation with three 3/16" bronze stars
Bronze star
Navy Unit Commendation with one 3/16" bronze star
Bronze star
Meritorious Unit Commendation with one 3/16" bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal with three 3/16" bronze stars
Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal
National Defense Service Medal
Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Vietnam Service Medal with three 3/16" bronze stars
Humanitarian Service Medal
Bronze star
Bronze star
Sea Service Deployment Ribbon with two 3/16" bronze stars
Navy and Marine Corps Overseas Service Ribbon
RVN Staff Service Medal (2nd Class)
RVN Meritorious Unit Citation (Gallantry Cross)
(Gallantry Cross Color with Palm and Frame)
RVN Meritorious Unit Citation (Civil Actions Medal)
(Civil Actions First Class Color with Palm and Frame)
Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal with 1960- Device


Year Film Role
1986 Platoon Captain Harris
Invaders from Mars Squad Leader
1989 Always Don
Born on the Fourth of July Infantry Col.
Casualties of War Capt. Hill
The Favorite French officer
1990 Kid Garvey
Fire Birds A.K. McNeil
The Fourth War Sgt. Ma.
Spontaneous Combustion General
1991 JFK Gen. "Y"
Servants of Twilight Police officer
1992 Under Siege Capt. Nick Garza
1993 Heaven & Earth Larry
Cover Story Jack
1994 Endangered
Guarding Tess Charles Ivy
Natural Born Killers Dale Wrigley
Blue Sky Col. Mike Anwalt
The Puppet Masters Brande
1995 Outbreak Lt. Col. Briggs
Under Siege 2: Dark Territory Capt. Nick Garza
1996 Sgt. Bilko First Engineer
Mission: Impossible Frank Barnes
1997 Trial and Error Dr. Stone
Starship Troopers General
1998 Saving Private Ryan War Dept. Colonel
1999 A Table for One Vernon Harpwood
2000 Rules of Engagement Gen. Perry
2001 Spy Game Cdr. Wiley
2003 Missing Brendan Gen. Temekin
2005 The Great Raid Gen. Kreuger
2007 Music Within Capt. Ruzicka
2010 Knight and Day Frank Jenkins
2011 Naked Run Harry
Larry Crowne Cox
2014 Planes: Fire & Rescue Cabbie (voice)
2016 Range 15 President Mattis
Year Title Role
1987 Billionaire Boys Club Defense attorney
1988 Supercarrier Capt. Henry K. 'Hank' Madigan
Tales from the Hollywood Hills: Closed Set Assistant Director
1989 The Neon Empire Chief Bates
1990 The Court-Martial of Jackie Robinson Supporting role in TV movie
1991 Mission of the Shark: The Saga of the U.S.S. Indianapolis Maj. Green
L.A. Law Guest star on Episode 5.11 Rest in Pieces
1992 Raven Col. Paul David Mackay
Dead On: Relentless II Capt. Rivers
1995 JAG Sgt. Maj. Hollis
1996 Space: Above and Beyond Maj. Jack Colquitt
Within the Rock General Hurst
1997 Rough Riders Col. Leonard Wood
1998 Seven Days Gen. Cole
Operation Delta Force 2: Mayday Capt. Halsey Lang
JAG Col. Bill Cobb
1999 Air America Capt. Gage
Mutiny Supporting role in TV movie
2000 The Others Capt. Ken Radley
2001 Band of Brothers Col. Robert Sink
2003 44 Minutes: The North Hollywood Shoot-Out SWAT Lt.
2005 Entourage Dale Dye
2006 Las Vegas Sgt. Burn
Commander in Chief Gen. Peter Allyson
2007 The Loop Ralph Somkin
Chuck Gen. Stanfield
2010 Cold Case Al Wasserlauf
Entourage Firearms Instructor / Scuba Instructor
2011 – 2013 Falling Skies General Porter


  1. ^ a b c d e f Dale Dye at the Internet Movie Database
  2. ^ "Dale Dye Biography (1944-)". filmreference.com. Retrieved September 26, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c DE JONGE, PETER (November 13, 2005). "Dale Dye Will Make a Man Out of You". New York Times. 
  4. ^ a b c d e "Dale Dye Is Hollywood’s Drill Sergeant". Retrieved 8 April 2015. 
  5. ^ Szoldra, Paul (March 26, 2015). "Here’s how Hollywood legend Dale Dye earned the Bronze Star for heroism in Vietnamm". Retrieved 8 April 2015. 
  6. ^ a b Dale Dye Biography at the Internet Movie Database
  7. ^ Herr, Michael (1991). Dispatches (1st Vintage International ed.). New York: Vintage Books. pp. 73–74. ISBN 978-0679735250. 
  8. ^ "Dale Dye Biography". daledye.com. Retrieved September 26, 2014. 
  9. ^ The Pacific at the Internet Movie Database
  10. ^ The Conquerors at the Internet Movie Database
  11. ^ Medal of Honor at the Internet Movie Database
  12. ^ Rierson, Richard (March 14, 2013). "26 – Dale Dye: Author, Actor, Founder of Warriors, Inc.". Dose of Leadership. Retrieved 8 April 2015. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Herr, Michael (1977). "Chapter 2: Hell Sucks". Dispatches. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. pp. 70–85. 

External links[edit]