Declared Dead At War, He Returned Alive To Locate His World Had Managed To Move On Without Him
Walter Dixon and his son Russ Dixon at their StoryCorps meeting in Waynesville, Mo. Modupeola Oyebolu/StoryCorps hide caption
Walter Dixon along with his son Russ Dixon ru brides 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 off to Korea for their 2nd war implementation.
About a later, at age 22, he was declared dead year. When their obituary had been posted when you look at the paper that is local their wife back in Waynesville, Mo., had not a way of comprehending that the headlines had been untimely.
The truth is, Dixon ended up being alive behind enemy lines.
In a job interview at StoryCorps final thirty days, Dixon, a 90-year-old veteran of three wars, spoke to their son Russ Dixon exactly how, after an instance of mistaken identity, he came back house to locate that their world had shifted without him.
Dixon ended up being serving into the Army’s 38th Infantry Division when, he claims, he was captured while wanting to help their other troops.
He had been of a half-mile from his post as he saw five males from their device down get shot by the artillery round. “One of ’em’s feet were both broken, therefore I took my industry jacket and wrapped around their feet to hold them together,” he claims.
As he gone back to his gun, Chinese forces giving support to the North Koreans came up behind him.
“When i acquired captured, those dudes for the reason that opening with my industry coat there, they simply got blown all to heck,” Dixon states.
Once the systems had been later found, Dixon’s coat, which carried letters from their spouse into the pouches, had been the piece that mistakenly linked him to a deceased other soldier.
“I am sure that is why they reported me personally dead in place of captured,” Dixon states.
For the following two . 5 years, he had been held prisoner in a north camp that is korean.
It had been an experience that is harrowing Dixon recalls. To keep warm, he’d look around for timber to burn off and, often times, prepared rats as sustenance. 1 day, a guard thought he strayed too much.
“we started initially to make smarter headway and also this guard hollered I didn’t,” he says for me to halt, but. “therefore, he stuck me personally along with his bayonet. Type of a rough time appropriate here.”
Dixon escaped five times, but each right time he had been caught, and penalized. When fighting stumbled on a halt, the Red Cross stumbled on the camp and notified the prisoners of their launch.
Back, because Dixon have been reported killed, their spouse had managed to move on. She remarried together with a young youngster with another guy.
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In the time, Dixon states, he did not have much to express.
“we can not blame her. I became dead. Then she learned I became alive. The actual only real apparent thing to do would be to divorce certainly one of us.”
Dixon and his spouse would divorce. But he could not resent her, he claims.
“Anger do not do you really a bit of good on something similar to that, you cannot do absolutely nothing he says about it. “You simply gotta handle it the simplest way you understand how.”
Despite every thing he experienced, Dixon thought we would remain in the army. It is a choice that their son Russ nevertheless wonders about.
“It ended up being my entire life,” Dixon said. “when you proceed through all that, you ain’t frightened of nothing.”
Russ stated he could be pleased with their dad, whom continued to provide in Vietnam. “we tell many people regarding 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 states he could not care how others remember him. It’s 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 desires or requirements of memory. I simply enjoyed my armed forces solution . We’d try it again. And I also’m happy with it.”
In terms of that regional writer that is obituary? Dixon finished up marrying her and achieving three young ones together, including Russ.
Sound produced for Edition by Kelly Moffitt weekend.