Namesake of Dyess Air Force Base honored in documentary

Namesake of Dyess Air Force Base honored in documentary

ABILENE, Texas - Most people in Abilene are familiar with Dyess Air Force Base, but many probably don't know who the base is named after.

"Everybody from Abilene and Albany and in West Texas should know the story of Col. William Edwin Dyess," said Courtney Vletas of the Community Foundation of Abilene.

Lt. Col. Dyess was a fighter pilot who fought in the air and on the ground. He was born in Albany.

Dyess was among the troops captured when the Japanese overran the Philippines during World War II and was one of the lucky ones to survive the Bataan Death March.

Not only did he survive, he escaped from a prisoner of war camp and eventually made his way back to join US forces.

"I guess one of the things that makes Lieut. Col. William Edwin Dyess' story so important is there wasn't a whole lot known about the atrocities committed by the Japanese on American POWs in World War II until he came back to the states and told the story," said Vletas.

Col. Dyess did not survive the war. He died during the crash of his aircraft during a training mission in 1943.

Thursday night the premiere of a documentary about Lt. Col William Edwin Dyess' life will be shown at the Paramount Theatre.

Lt. Col. William Edwin Dyess and the Greatest Story of the War in the Pacific will start at 7 p.m., however, it is advised that you get there early.

There is a presentation prior to the film. Doors open at 6 p.m. and admission is free. The entire film lasts about an hour.

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