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War-movie groundbreaker honored by Legion

Dale Dye receives The National Commander’s Public Relations Award for having brought the realities of combat to the big screen.

Dale Dye came back from the Vietnam War

with three Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star and the experience of having survived no fewer than 31 major combat operations. T at was 1970. Forty- two years later, the retired U.S. Marine Corps captain and top military adviser for such block- buster movies as “Saving Private Ryan,” “Platoon” and “T e Pacifi c” has received the prestigious National Commander’s Public Relations Award for his eff orts to bring realism to Hollywood war fi lms. “I’ll just presume that this great award …

means that in some way I have made a little bit of accomplishment in my mission, which is to burnish, to polish and to expose to the public the true nature of America’s military people, and of our veterans,” Dye told about 1,000 gathered in Washington Feb. 29 for the annual ceremony that closed T e American Legion’s 52nd Washington Conference. Dye, who worked on the editorial staff of

Soldier of Fortune magazine following his 1984 retirement from the Marine Corps, took his wealth of battlefi eld experience to Hollywood in the mid-1980s and launched a boot camp called Warriors, Inc., to provide actors an understanding of the real warrior spirit. American Legion National Commander Fang

A. Wong told the crowd that Dye’s work “has provided a needed perspective in the art and entertainment industry.” In a short fi lm clip that was presented as part of the ceremony, “Saving Private Ryan” star

INTEGRITY from Page 1

with a B.S. in agricultural extension. He went on to teach school for several years before becoming the owner-operator of a 320-acre cattle and pork farm in Nebraska. He joined Post 159 in 1950 and was voted post

commander three years later. During his tenure, he led a program that established a $26,000 Legion-owned medical clinic; the town had been without a doctor for 12 years. Nine years later, Galbraith was elected department

commander, during which he off ered the department’s full support to the state’s education eff orts. Nebraska’s governor named Galbraith co-chairman of a three-year series of state regional conferences on education. Galbraith also served on the state’s 15-man Centennial Celebration Commission – an experience that later served Galbraith when he was helping plan the Legion’s 50th anniversary in 1969. For his work in planning Nebraska’s centennial, Galbraith was named honorary parade chairman for the event. “I was very impressed with his background,” said

Department of New York Adjutant Dick Pedro, who fi rst met Galbraith when the future national command- er was campaigning through New York. “He had quite a professional background. And he came up very fast within the ranks of T e American Legion.” Aſt er serving on the NEC and as a national vice

commander, Galbraith was elected national command- er on Aug. 31, 1967, at age 41. He was the fi rst national commander from Nebraska. During his tenure leading the Legion, Galbraith had

a chance to visit South Vietnam. Upon his return, he wrote how those wanting to abandon the war eff orts there hadn’t had a chance to visit the country. “On all

sides I was surprised to see a nation with an enormous future,” he wrote in T e American Legion Magazine. “(It’s) a rich land, ripe for development, inhabited by a people with the native talent to develop it.” He emphasized that when talking about U.S. involvement in Vietnam, the future needed to be considered – not just the present. As 1968 was an election year, Galbraith also warned

against using Vietnam for political gains – especially when it came to discussing negotiations to end the war. “T e negotiations are no game for amateurs,” he wrote, “nor should any true American having no responsibil- ity in them, invite himself in the swim to muddy the waters.” Galbraith launched the Stitch-In-Time program,

with the goal of sending 100 sewing machines – along with textiles – to South Vietnam to provide occupa- tional training and employment for war widows, orphans and other war refugees. Looking toward the future, Galbraith created T e

American Legion Task Force for the Future. T e mission of the task force, Galbraith said, was to examine the posture of the United States in areas of education, health and welfare, the condition of the economy and the conservation of natural resources. At the same time, the task force was to examine the programs and goals of the Legion to determine their conformance with current patterns of American life, and to come up with new ways the Legion could make signifi cant contributions to the nation. T e end result of the task force was to provide the Legion with a strategy for the future. Galbraith appeared before the House Committee on Veterans’ Aff airs in March of 1968, calling for increases

in compensation payments for 100-percent service- connected disabled veterans and for the monthly dependency indemnity compensation for widows, and for the then-Veterans Administration to take over leadership and maintenance of all national cemeteries. Membership in the organization climbed by more

than 36,000 during Galbraith’s tenure, which also included the launching of S.S. American Legion, a $17 million container liner. Galbraith’s wife christened the ship under her husband’s eye on Feb. 27, 1968. And as one of his fi nal acts as national commander,

Galbraith presented Secretary of the Army Stanley Resor with $50,000 on Aug. 16, 1968. T e money was a down payment on T e American Legion’s Giſt to the Nation – a permanent lighting system for the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery. A trust also was set up to cover the cost of perpetual maintenance to the system. In addition to his Legion work, Galbraith was a

member of other veterans service and civic organiza- tions, and was given several appointments through the U.S. Department of Agriculture, including deputy administrator for state and county operations for Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Services. “He really worked long and hard for T e American

Legion and for the farmers back in his home state,” Bacon said. “If you’re looking for an individual who was dedicated for his entire life to veterans, that man was Bill Galbraith.” Galbraith is survived by his wife, daughter Clau-

dia, and son Billy. Condolences should be sent to Billy Galbraith and family, 4905 Long Branch Lane, Edmond, OK 73034.

Tom Hanks credited Dye for capturing the essence of what it’s like to play the part of a combat soldier at war. “You have to understand we are essentially playing guys who are tired and miserable and want to go home, of whom great physical things are being demanded constantly,” Hanks said in the clip. “We couldn’t have done that without having gone through something like what Dale Dye put us through.” “I’m truly humbled when people tell me that I

may have changed the way Hollywood makes military movies,” Dye said, a member of Ameri- can Legion Post 40 in North Carolina. “If I ever had an epitaph, it would be that … I believe that America, our America, deserves a little fact with its fi ction when it comes to motion pictures and television. If ever there has been a time with young Americans, this is it, to use popular media to tell them, to teach them, where we came from, what our ideals are, and what we believe in.” Dye joins such national fi gures as Tom Brokaw,

Lee Greenwood, Red Skelton, Paul “Bear” Bryant, Karl Malden and Lou Dobbs on a list of National Commander’s Public Relations Award recipients, dating back to 1961. To see a video of Dye’s accep- tance speech, go to

Above right: National Commander Fang Wong and his wife, Barbara, stand with Public Relations Award recipient Dale Dye in Washington. Right: Dye thanks Legionnaires for his award. American Legion photo

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