William Dyess

William E. Dyess

General Information

Education

John Tarleton Agricultural College

Tarleton State University

Recent News  

The Bataan Death March, 1942

Captain William Dyess was a fighter pilot stationed on Luzon when the Japanese invaded.
Captured when the American forces on Bataan surrendered, he joined the Death March and was interned by the Japanese. In April 1943, Captain Dyess was one of three prisoners able to escape from their captors. Captain Dyess eventually made his way back to America where his story was published. We join his story as he encounters his first atrocity of the March: Lt. Colonel William Dyess, 1943 'He held these out, ducking his head and sucking in his breath to attract notice. The big Jap looked at the money. Without a word he grabbed the captain by the shoulder and shoved him down to his knees. He pulled the sword out of the scabbard and raised it high over his head, holding it with both hands. This eyewitness account appears in: Dyess, William E., The Dyess Story (1943); . How To Cite This Article: "The Bataan Death March, 1942," EyeWitness to History, www.eyewitnesstohistory.com (2009). Captain William Dyess, the author of this eyewitness account returned to the US in July 1943. He was promoted to Lt. Colonel and began training in a P-38 fighter plane in anticipation of returning to combat. On December 23, 1943, he was killed in an air crash while attempting to steer his burning plane to a vacant field near Los Angeles. Lt. Colonel, Dyess told his story to a correspondent from The Chicago Tribune from a hospital bed.

Read More
People and Places: WORLD WAR II BATAAN DEATH MARCH -

Col. William E. Dyess, Air Corps, of Albany, Tex. Dyess is dead-killed in a fighter plane crash at Burbank, Calif., recently while preparing to return to duty in the Pacific.
What was in store for them was to begin with "the march of death" - and Dyess reported that, beaten and hopeless as they were, they never would have surrendered if they had guessed what lay ahead. About June 1, the Americans were removed from Camp O'Donnell to Cabanatuan, where Dyess joined Mellnik and McCoy, who had come in from Corregidor. Conditions there were a little better. There was adequate drinking water, it was possible to bathe in muddy water; but the diet did not improve. And the brutality continued - men were beaten with shovels and golf clubs, "men were literally worked to death." Three officers who tried to escape were caught, stripped to their shorts, their hands tied behind them and pulled up by ropes fastened overhead, and kept in this position in the blazing sun for two days; periodically the Japs beat them with a two-by-four; finally one was beheaded and the others shot. By Oct. 26, when Dyess, McCoy and Mellnik left Cabanatuan, 3,000 of the American prisoners had died. Red Cross Salvation The three officers were taken with 966 other prisoners, to a penal camp at Davao, Mindanao and put to hard labor. Food was slightly better there, but "the salvation of the American prisoners of war," Dyess reported, was the American and British Red Cross supplies, both clothing and food, that finally began to arrive months late. The beatings, the murder, the studied mistreatment and humiliation continued. By April 1943, there were 1,100 of the 2,000 prisoners at Davao still able to work. This was the life from which McCoy, Dyess and Mellnik escaped April 4, 1943. Captain William Dyess was a fighter pilot stationed on Luzon when the Japanese invaded. Captured when the American forces on Bataan surrendered, he joined the Death March and was interned by the Japanese. In April 1943, Captain Dyess was one of three prisoners able to escape from their captors. Captain Dyess eventually made his way back to America where his story was published. We join his story as he encounters his first atrocity of the March:

Read More
Operation PLUM - Photo Gallery

Capt. William Dyess, Commanding Officer of the 21st Pursuit Squadron, Bataan Field, March 3, 1942.

Read More

Browse ZoomInfo’s Directories