Declared Dead At War, He Returned Alive To Locate Their World Had Managed To Move On Without Him

Declared Dead At War, He Returned Alive To Locate Their World Had Managed To Move On Without Him

Walter Dixon along with his son Russ Dixon at their StoryCorps interview 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 loved ones.

Walter Dixon have been hitched just for five times as he shipped down to Korea for their war that is second implementation.

About a 12 months later on, at age 22, he had been announced dead. Whenever their obituary ended up being published into the regional paper, their wife back in Waynesville, Mo., had absolutely no way of comprehending that the headlines had been premature.

The truth is, Dixon was alive behind enemy lines.

A 90-year-old veteran of three wars, spoke to his son Russ Dixon about how, after a case of mistaken identity, he returned home to find that his world had moved on without him in an interview at StoryCorps last month, Dixon.

Dixon was serving when you look at the Army’s 38th Infantry Division when, he states, he had been captured while attempting to aid his other troops.

He had been about a half-mile from their post as he saw five males from their device down get shot 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 claims.

As he gone back to his tool, 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.

Once the systems had been later discovered, Dixon’s coat, which carried letters from their spouse when you look at the pouches, had been the piece that mistakenly linked him to a deceased other soldier.

“I’m certain that is why they reported me personally dead as opposed to captured,” Dixon claims.

For the next two . 5 years, he ended up being held prisoner in A north korean camp.

It absolutely was a harrowing experience, Dixon recalls. To remain hot, he’d shop around for lumber to burn off and, often times, cooked rats as sustenance. 1 day, a guard thought he strayed too much.

“we began to make smarter headway and also this guard hollered I didn’t,” he says for me to halt, but. “therefore, he stuck me along with his bayonet. Sort of a rough time appropriate here.”

Dixon escaped 5 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 these launch.

Back, because Dixon was indeed reported killed, their wife had managed to move on. She remarried and had kid with another guy.


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During the right time, Dixon says, he don’t have much to express.

“we can not blame her. I became dead. Then she discovered I happened to be alive. The actual only real obvious thing to do would be to divorce certainly one of us.”

Dixon and their wife would divorce. But he could not resent her, he states.

“Anger do not would you any worthwhile on something such as that, you can’t do absolutely absolutely nothing about any of it,” he states. “You simply gotta handle it the simplest way you understand how.”

Despite everything he experienced, Dixon made a decision to stay static in the army. It is a choice that his son Russ still wonders about.

“It ended up being my entire life,” Dixon stated. “you ain’t frightened of absolutely nothing. when you proceed through all that,”

Russ stated he’s happy with his dad, whom went on to provide in Vietnam. “we tell lots of 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 just how other people keep in mind him. It really is sufficient for him alone to understand the sacrifices he made.

“I am able to keep in mind me,” he claims. “I don’t have desires or requirements of memory. I simply enjoyed my army solution . We’d try it again. And I also’m pleased with it.”

In terms of that regional obituary author? Dixon finished up marrying her and achieving russian bridges three kids together, including Russ.

Sound produced for Edition by Kelly Moffitt weekend.