Declared Dead At War, He Returned Alive To Get Their World Had Managed To Move On Without Him
Walter Dixon along with his son Russ Dixon at their StoryCorps meeting in Waynesville, Mo. Modupeola Oyebolu/StoryCorps hide caption
Walter Dixon and their son Russ Dixon at their StoryCorps meeting in Waynesville, Mo.
StoryCorps’ Military Voices Initiative documents tales from people in the U.S. military and their own families.
Walter Dixon was indeed hitched just for five times as he shipped down to Korea for their 2nd war implementation.
About a 12 months later on, at age 22, he had been announced dead. Whenever their obituary ended up being posted within the neighborhood paper, their spouse home in Waynesville, Mo., had not a way of understanding that the news headlines had been untimely.
The truth is, Dixon ended up being alive behind enemy lines.
In an meeting at StoryCorps final month, Dixon, a 90-year-old veteran of three wars, spoke to their son Russ Dixon on how, after an instance of mistaken identity, he came back house to locate that their globe had managed to move on without him.
Dixon had been serving into the Army’s 38th Infantry Division when, he claims, he had been captured while wanting to help their other troops.
He had been about a half-mile from their post as he saw five males from their unit get shot down by an artillery round. “One of ’em’s feet were both broken, therefore I took my industry jacket and covered around their feet to together hold them,” he states.
As he came back to their gun, Chinese forces giving support to the North Koreans came up behind him.
“When i acquired captured, those dudes for the reason that gap with my industry coat here, they simply got blown all to heck,” Dixon states.
As soon as the figures had been later discovered, Dixon’s coat, which carried letters from their spouse within the pouches, had been the piece that mistakenly linked him to a deceased soldier that is fellow.
“I am sure this is exactly why they reported me personally dead rather than captured,” Dixon claims.
For the following two . 5 years, he had been held prisoner in a north camp that is korean.
It absolutely was a harrowing experience, Dixon recalls. To keep hot, he’d shop around for lumber to burn off and, in some instances, prepared rats as sustenance. 1 day, a guard thought he strayed too much.
“we began to make smarter headway and also this guard hollered for me personally to prevent, but i did not,” he states. “therefore, he stuck me together with bayonet. Sorts of a rough time appropriate here.”
Dixon escaped five times, but each time he had been caught, and punished. Whenever fighting stumbled on a halt, the Red Cross stumbled on the camp and notified the prisoners of these launch.
Back, because Dixon have been reported killed, their spouse had managed to move on. She remarried along with a young kid with another guy.
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During the right time, Dixon states, he did not have much to express.
“we can not blame her. I became dead. Then she discovered I happened to be alive. The sole thing that is obvious do would be to divorce certainly one of us.”
Dixon along with his spouse would divorce. But he could not resent her, he claims.
“Anger do not do you realy a bit of good on something such as that, you cannot do absolutely nothing he says about it. “You simply gotta handle it the easiest way you understand how.”
Despite every thing he experienced, Dixon decided to stay static in the armed forces. It is a determination that their son Russ still wonders about.
“It had been my life,” Dixon stated. “you ain’t afraid of absolutely nothing. once you proceed through all that,”
Russ stated he could be happy with their dad, whom continued to serve in Vietnam. “we tell lots of people about your seven Purple Hearts and all that, and I also brag he told his father about it just about every day.
In terms of Dixon himself, he claims he could not care exactly exactly just how other people keep in mind him. It is sufficient for him alone to learn the sacrifices he made.
“I am able to keep in mind me personally,” he states. “I do not have wants or requirements of memory. I simply enjoyed my armed forces solution . I would try it again. And I also’m happy with it.”
In terms of that neighborhood obituary journalist? Dixon wound up marrying her and achieving three kiddies together, including Russ.
Sound produced for sunday Edition by Kelly Moffitt.