Dale Dye

Dale Adam Dye Jr. (born October 8, 1944) is an American actor, technical advisor, radio personality and writer. A decorated Marine veteran of the Vietnam War, Dye is the founder and head of Warriors, Inc., a technical advisory company specializing in portraying realistic military action in Hollywood films. Dye has also offered his expertise to television, such as the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers and The Pacific, and video games, including the Medal of Honor series.

Dale Dye
Dye in 2008
Dale Adam Dye Jr.

(1944-10-08) October 8, 1944
EducationMissouri Military Academy
Alma materUniversity of Maryland University College (BA)
OccupationActor, technical advisor, radio personality, writer
Years active1986–present
  • Dale Adam Dye Sr.
  • Della Grace Koehler
AwardsOrder of Saint Maurice
Military career
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Marine Corps
Years of service1964–84
Rank Captain
Battles/warsVietnam War Lebanese Civil War

Early life and education

Dye was born on October 8, 1944, in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, to Dale Adam and Della Grace (née Koehler) Dye.[1] 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 Pacific Theater piqued Dale's attention. He looked up the Battle of Iwo Jima that night and made up his mind to join the U.S. Marines. Dye was educated at St. Joseph's Military Academy in Chicago and the Missouri Military Academy in Mexico, Missouri.[2]

Military career

Dye had hoped to attend the U.S. Naval Academy, but after failing the entrance exam three times – "my math and science skills were weak, and my English skills were huge" – and having exhausted his family's meager funds getting through military academy, he enlisted in the U.S. Marines in January 1964.[2] His unit was among the first to deploy to Vietnam in 1965. Officers in the 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.[3] As a correspondent, he saw more battles than many low-ranking infantrymen. Dye developed an immense respect for the grunts who took the brunt of any action.[2]

Dye was wounded during the Tet Offensive in 1968. While recuperating in a rear area, the 2nd Battalion 3rd Marines, the unit he had traveled with, was preparing for Operation Ford. Dye persuaded the battalion commander to let him accompany the battalion as a war correspondent. During the next week, the battalion engaged in a number of fire fights with units of the North Vietnamese People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN). On March 18, 1968, Dye replaced an assistant machine gunner who had been killed. The machine gun position was isolated forward of the remainder of the battalion. Although he was wounded, Dye exposed himself to "intense enemy fire" to retrieve ammunition for the machine gun to help hold off PAVN soldiers during an all-night firefight. During other engagements, he exposed himself to enemy fire to rescue several wounded Marines and a Navy corpsman. As a result of his actions, he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal with Combat "V" for heroism.[4]

"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 South Vietnam, he participated in 31 combat operations. During his 1967 to 1968 and 1969 to 1970 tours of duty, he was attached to two different battalions of the 1st Marine Division. 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. Afterwards he entered into the Limited Duty Program and became commissioned as a captain. He is considered a "mustang" (an enlisted man who receives a commission as an officer). While he was a captain, he was deployed to Beirut for duty with the Multinational Force in Lebanon in 1982 and 1983. Shortly after his return, the Marine barracks were attacked, killing 241 Americans.

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.[3]

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:[5]

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.

Later career

Dye retired from the Marine Corps 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. His company is the top military consultant to Hollywood.[3] While on active duty, Dye was a combat correspondent and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Maryland University College. After retiring, 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.[6]

Dye has written several novels, including Run Between The Raindrops in 1985 (also published as Citadel) and Conduct Unbecoming (1992), and the novelization of the film Platoon. Along with wife Julia and comic book artist Gerry Kissell, Dye created the critically acclaimed and best-selling graphic novel Code Word: Geronimo (IDW Publishing, 2011), which tells the story of the Navy SEAL raid on Osama bin Laden's compound.

Dye was determined to make Hollywood's depictions of battle more realistic. After unsuccessfully offering his services to a number of directors, he pitched fellow Vietnam War 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 received; when the actors slept, he fired blanks to keep the tired actors awake.[3] Dye, who had a small role in the movie as Captain Harris, also wrote the novelization based on Stone's screenplay. After Platoon's critical success, Dye played a role in another Vietnam War movie, Casualties of War, and also played Colonel Robert Sink in the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers, on which his company also worked. 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.

Dye appeared in Outbreak portraying Lieutenant Colonel Briggs, a U.S. Army officer. He played Theodore Roosevelt's superior officer, Colonel Leonard Wood, in the TNT miniseries Rough Riders. He appeared in Saving Private Ryan as an aide to General George Marshall; in Under Siege and Under Siege 2: Dark Territory as Captain Garza, an admiral's aide; in Spy Game as Commander Wiley during the rescue sequence; in Mission Impossible as Frank Barnes of the 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, making a brief appearance as a fictionalized, police-lieutenant version of himself. 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.[3]

During the Iraq War, Dye was hired as a military commentator by radio station KFI AM 640 in Los Angeles and given a two-hour radio show. He hosted the History Channel's documentary series The Conquerors. Dye consulted during development of the Medal of Honor video games series. He was featured in two tracks on Hoobastank's CD Every Man for Himself.[7] Dye voiced Colonel Robert Sink in the Brothers in Arms video game series. Dye had a cameo appearance as New Founding Father Donald Talbott in the 2014 film The Purge: Anarchy.


  • Dye, Captain Dale & Dye, Dr. Julia (2011). Code Word: Geronimo. San Diego, California: IDW Publishing. ISBN 978-1613770979.
  • Dye, Dale (1992). Conduct Unbecoming (paperback ed.). New York: Berkley Publishing Group. ISBN 0425132366.
  • Dye, Dale A. (2013). Beirut File. Shake Davis Series (paperback ed.). North Hills, California: Warriors Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0989798303.
  • Dye, Dale A. (2012). Chosin File. Shake Davis Series (paperback ed.). North Hills, California: Warriors Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0985338800.
  • Dye, Dale A. (2014). Contra File. Shake Davis Series (paperback ed.). North Hills, California: Warriors Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0989798341.
  • Dye, Dale A. (2008). Laos File. Shake Davis Series (paperback ed.). North Hills, California: Warriors Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0982167007.
  • Dye, Dale A. (2013). Outrage: Author’s Preferred Edition (paperback ed.). North Hills, California: Warriors Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0985338855.
  • Dye, Dale A. (2010). Peleliu File. Shake Davis Series (paperback ed.). North Hills, California: Warriors Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0982167014.
  • Dye, Dale A. (1986). Platoon. New York: Charter Books. ISBN 1121560644.
  • Dye, Dale A. (1985). Run Between the Raindrops (paperback ed.). North Hills, California: Warriors Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0989798372.
  • Dye, Dale A. & Laemlein, Tom (2015). Small Arms of the Vietnam War: A Photographic Study. North Hills, California: Warriors Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0986195518.



Year Film Role Notes
1986 Platoon Captain Harris
1986 Invaders from Mars Squad Leader
1989 Always Don
1989 Born on the Fourth of July Infantry Col.
1989 Casualties of War Capt. Hill
1989 The Favorite French Officer
1990 Kid Garvey
1990 Fire Birds A.K. McNeil
1990 The Fourth War Sgt. Maj.
1990 Spontaneous Combustion General
1991 JFK Gen. "Y"
1991 Servants of Twilight Police Officer
1992 Under Siege Capt. Nick Garza
1993 Heaven & Earth Larry
1993 Cover Story Jack
1994 Endangered Ricky
1994 Guarding Tess Charles Ivy
1994 Natural Born Killers Dale Wrigley
1994 Blue Sky Col. Mike Anwalt
1994 The Puppet Masters Brande
1995 Outbreak Lt. Col. Briggs
1995 Under Siege 2: Dark Territory Capt. Nick Garza
1996 Sgt. Bilko First Engineer
1996 Mission: Impossible Frank Barnes
1997 Trial and Error Dr. Stone
1997 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
2011 Larry Crowne Cox
2014 Planes: Fire & Rescue Cabbie (voice)
2014 The Purge: Anarchy New Founding Father – Donald Talbott
2016 Sniper: Special Ops Lieutenant Colonel Jackson
2016 Range 15 President Mattis
2020 The Last Full Measure Holt


Year Film Role Notes
1987 Billionaire Boys Club Defense Attorney Uncredited
1988 Supercarrier Capt. Henry K. 'Hank' Madigan
1988 Tales from the Hollywood Hills: Closed Set Assistant Director TV movie
1989 The Neon Empire Chief Bates TV movie
1990 The Court-Martial of Jackie Robinson TV movie
1991 Mission of the Shark: The Saga of the U.S.S. Indianapolis Maj. Green TV movie
1991 L.A. Law President Colonel Kenners Episode: "Rest in Pieces"
1992 Raven Col. Paul David Mackay Episode: "Is Someone Crazy in Here or Is It Me"
1992 Dead On: Relentless II Capt. Rivers
1995–1998 JAG Sgt. Maj. Hollis, Col. Bill Cobb 2 episodes
1996 Space: Above and Beyond Maj. Jack Colquitt Episode: "Who Monitors the Birds? "
1996 Within the Rock General Hurst TV movie
1997 Rough Riders Col. Leonard Wood TV miniseries
1998 Seven Days Gen. Cole Episode: "Doppleganger: Part 1"
1998 Operation Delta Force 2: Mayday Capt. Halsey Lang TV movie
1999 Air America Capt. Gage Episode: "The Court-Martial of Rio Arnett"
1999 Rocket Power' Tice Ryan (voice) TV movie
1999 Mutiny TV movie
2000 The Others Capt. Ken Radley Episode: "Souls on Board"
2001 Band of Brothers Col. Robert Sink 7 episodes
2003 44 Minutes: The North Hollywood Shoot-Out SWAT Lt. TV movie
2005–10 Entourage Firearms Instructor, Scuba Instructor, Himself 3 episodes
2006 Las Vegas Sgt. Burn Episode: "And Here's Mike with the Weather"
2006 Commander in Chief Gen. Peter Allyson 3 episodes
2007 The Loop Ralph Somkin Episode: "The Stranger"
2007 Chuck Gen. Stanfield Episode: "Pilot"
2010 Cold Case Al Wasserlauf Episode: "Free Love"
2011–2013 Falling Skies General Porter

Video games

Year Film Role Notes
1999 Medal of Honor Opening Movie Narrator (voice)
2003 Medal of Honor: Rising Sun Sgt. Jack "Gunny" Lauton (voice)
2005 Medal of Honor: European Assault OSS Handler/Multiplayer Narrator
2005 Battlefield 2: Modern Combat Lt. Col. Robert "Bob" Scott (voice)
2007 Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway Col. Robert Sink (voice)
2017 Call of Duty: WWII Col. Davis Mo-Cap Visualization only

Military awards

Dye's military decorations and awards include:[8]

Bronze Star Medal w/ Combat "V"
Purple Heart w/ two 516" Gold Stars
Meritorious Service Medal
Joint Service Commendation Medal
Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal w/ Combat "V" and one 516" Gold Star
Air Force Commendation Medal
Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal w/ Combat "V"
Combat Action Ribbon w/ one 516" Gold Star
Navy Presidential Unit Citation w/ three 316" bronze stars
Navy Unit Commendation w/ one 316" bronze star
Meritorious Unit Commendation w/ one 316" bronze star
Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal w/ three 316" bronze stars
Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal
National Defense Service Medal
Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
Vietnam Service Medal w/ three 316" bronze stars
Humanitarian Service Medal
Sea Service Deployment Ribbon w/ two 316" bronze stars
Navy and Marine Corps Overseas Service Ribbon
Republic of Vietnam Staff Service Medal (2nd Class)
Republic of Vietnam Meritorious Unit Citation (Gallantry Cross) w/ Palm
Republic of Vietnam Meritorious Unit Citation (Civil Actions) w/ Palm
Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal w/ 1960– Device

See also


  1. "Dale Dye Biography (1944–)". filmreference.com. Retrieved September 26, 2014.
  2. DE JONGE, PETER (November 13, 2005). "Dale Dye Will Make a Man Out of You". The New York Times.
  3. "Dale Dye Is Hollywood's Drill Sergeant". Retrieved April 8, 2015.
  4. Szoldra, Paul (March 26, 2015). "Here's how Hollywood legend Dale Dye earned the Bronze Star for heroism in Vietnamm". Archived from the original on July 7, 2015. Retrieved April 8, 2015.
  5. Herr, Michael (1991). Dispatches (1st Vintage International ed.). New York: Vintage Books. pp. 73–74. ISBN 978-0679735250.
  6. "Dale Dye Biography". daledye.com. Retrieved September 26, 2014.
  7. Rierson, Richard (March 14, 2013). "26 – Dale Dye: Author, Actor, Founder of Warriors, Inc". Dose of Leadership. Retrieved April 8, 2015.
  8. photo: 22 ribbons

Further reading

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