City to mark the 'second death' of seven-time Purple Heart recipient Walter B. Dixon
By KATIE KULL | Springfield News-Leader | Published: February 8, 2020
COLUMBIA, Mo. (Tribune News Service) — Walter Barton Dixon died May 5, 1951.
The soldier was stationed in Korea, playing poker with fellow members of the Army when a bomb went off right where they played, according to a 2018 story on KMOV-TV.
He wrapped his jacket holding letters to his wife around someone's legs to keep the blood from spurting and started fighting.
Several days later back in Grayridge, Missouri, Dixon's family received the news: the 22-year-old was killed in action.
His obituary appeared in The Daily Standard newspaper in Sikeston, and President Harry Truman sent his family a letter of condolence.
His wife remarried.
But there was just one catch: Dixon wasn't actually dead.
He was being held captive in a Korean prison, where he remained for 28 months.
When Dixon was released, he returned to the States and was awarded seven Purple Hearts and two Bronze Stars for his heroism and bravery.
Each year on the date of his "death," he threw a party.
He also remarried and volunteered to serve in Vietnam.
He continued to serve in the Army for more than two decades, helping to found the drill sergeant school at Fort Leonard Wood, according to KMOV.
On Feb. 1, 91-year-old Dixon died (for real this time) at Phelps County Medical Center in Rolla.
The community of Waynesville and Memorial Chapel and Crematory of Waynesville/St. Robert are inviting the public next week to pay a final farewell to the war hero.
At 10 a.m. Tuesday, services will be held at Faith Baptist Church of Waynesville.
Then, a flag-draped, horse-drawn caisson will proceed to the Missouri Veterans Cemetery of Waynesville for a committal service with full military honors at 12:30 p.m. with some of Fort Leonard Wood's higher command leadership.
AMVETS have released a request for maximum participation at the event.
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