Friday, January 13, 2012

Interview with Actor/Author Dale Dye: By S. B. Newman

Army and Author friend of mine S. B. Newman just completed an excellent interview with Actor/Author Dale Dye.  An excellent read to find out more about Dale Dye, who always seems to pop up in movies like Platoon, Saving Private Ryan and others.  
Interview with Actor/Author Dale Dye!

First allow me to say thank you Mr. Dye for participating in this series of Author Interviews for my Local Voices segment on the  It is a great honor!  Most of my readers will know you from your acting career with such credits under your belt as “Saving Private Ryan” and “Band of Brothers.”
What many of them may not know is that you are also a prolific writer with several published titles to your name.  That is what I am most interested in, learning about you as not only an actor but also as a writer.
1.  What is your full name and please tell us a little about yourself.  I know you are a veteran, a combat veteran?  What books you’ve written?
DALE ADAM DYE was born October 8, 1944 in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. He graduated as a cadet officer from Missouri Military Academy but there was no money for college so he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in January 1964. He served in Vietnam in 1965 and 1967 through 1970 surviving 31 major combat operations. He emerged from Southeast Asia highly decorated including the Bronze Star with V for Valor and three Purple Hearts for wounds suffered in combat. He spent 13 years as an enlisted Marine, rising to the rank of Master Sergeant before he was chosen to attend Officer Candidate School. Appointed a Warrant Officer in 1976, he later converted his commission and was a Captain when he was sent to Beirut, Lebanon with the Multinational Peacekeeping Force in 1982-83. He served in a variety of assignments around the world and along the way managed to graduate with a BA degree in English Literature from the University of Maryland.
DYE worked for a year at “Soldier of Fortune” Magazine when he finally decided to retire in 1984. He spent time in Central America, reporting and training troops in guerrilla warfare techniques in El Salvador, Honduras and Costa Rica before leaving the magazine in 1985 and heading for Hollywood.  He founded the leading military consultancy to motion pictures and television shortly thereafter and his WARRIORS, INC. firm has worked on more than fifty movies and TV shows including several Academy Award and Emmy winning productions.  DYE is a published novelist, screenwriter and director.  He is also a consummate character actor with appearances in many films and television productions.
His published novels include “Run Between The Raindrops,” “Platoon” (novelization of Oliver Stone’s film script), “Outrage,” “Conduct Unbecoming,” “Duty and Dishonor,” “Code Word: Geronimo” (a graphic novel), “Laos File,” (Military Writers Society of America Gold Medal winner), and “Peleliu File.”
2.  Please tell us about the body of your work and how does that relate to your writing?  Has being an actor helped you in your writing?
We’ve just listed my books. If by “body of work” you mean my film and TV work as a screenwriter, director, consultant and actor, there’s just too much at this point to mention here.  Interested folks can look it all up on or go to my website at for a full run-down.
I’m not sure if being an actor has helped my writing or the other way around.  As an actor, I’ve certainly gained some valuable insights about things like dramatic structure; pacing, character development and voice that have all improved my writing.  As a writer I’ve been blessed with a vivid imagination, a glib hand with language and an eye for detail.  In the end it’s all about being a good, enticing and captivating story-teller. Whether you’re doing that through the written word or performance on screen, the business of telling or interpreting an interesting, engaging story is the same.
3. What is one thing you would like your readers to know about you?
Well, two things, I guess.  My stories are mostly military-oriented and they are based on real-world experiences of one kind or another.  Secondly, I have an agenda in my work whether it’s writing, filmmaking or acting and that’s to shine some long overdue positive light on our men and women in uniform.  I’m out to correct some misconceptions about professional military people and destroy some of the negative stereotypes that have hung around in popular media since Vietnam. 
4. When did you know that you wanted to become a writer, or that you had become a writer?
I come from a family of great story-tellers and the first fascinating things I can remember hearing as a kid were bawdy jokes or booze-fueled war stories from World War II and Korea vets.  There was something about listening to those guys swap lies and compare experiences that just fired some sort of genetic trigger in me.  I knew I wanted to tell stories.  I didn’t know how to do that but I was convinced I should and would one day.  I’ve also always been an avid reader; one of those guys who can easily and willingly completely immerse himself in a good book by a captivating author.  I love language and get a real kick out of playing with it, so writing was a natural creative pursuit for me.
5. In your writing style and methods, what is your greatest strength?
I have a genuine, no-nonsense work ethic when it comes to writing. Once I decide to write, whether it’s a screenplay, a book, an article or anything else in that vein, I look at it as a mission and I work at it regularly without fail.  Even if it’s only a sentence or two or a single paragraph, I write on the project religiously at least once a day.  I’m told one of my greatest strengths as a writer is dialogue.  I know my character’s voice and I write in that voice using appropriate grammar and vocabulary which makes my dialogue ring true to readers or listeners.
6. How would you describe your creative process?  Do you approach it like a 9 to 5 job or does it just come naturally to you?  
My response to the previous question will give you some insight to this one in terms of creative process.  That said, I think it does come naturally to me. Only very rarely does writing seem like work and that’s usually when I’m writing something for pay that I really don’t want to do or working on something that doesn’t hold my interest. I’ve always found – particularly in writing fiction – that the story and characters take over from me at some stage of the process. I can’t describe it accurately because I really don’t understand it but I find that at a certain point in writing a novel, there’s very little cognitive thinking going on and the story just seems to unfold in front of me as I pound on the keyboard.  It’s as if the character just jumps up off the page and says “OK, here’s what happens next.  Now describe it.” Might be some kind of voodoo or weird literary mojo but it works for me.  
7. What are the biggest obstacles you find to creativity, in writing?
The biggest obstacle in writing is failing to do so.  If you’re motivated to write, learn to use language creatively and practice at it.  Don’t be afraid to copy your favorite writer’s style as a starting point until your own voice develops.  On the other hand, if it turns out to be an agonizing labor for you, drop the idea.  Life is too short to suffer like that.  I believe we are all born with a certain creative bent that provides enormous satisfaction in our lives.  Sometimes that comes from writing; sometimes it comes from hobbies or handicrafts.  There’s nothing sacred about writing.  Some people can do it and others can’t. 
8. What is your next project?  Is it a novel?
I’m working on a new Shake Davis/File novel to continue the very popular series that began with “Laos File” and “Peleliu File.”  As an actor, I’m getting ready to reprise my role in the TNT sci-fi series “Falling Skies” where I play a leader of human resistance to an alien invasion of earth.  We’re shooting right now in Vancouver.  As a writer/director, I’m preparing a new feature film that I’ll be shooting in Belgium this spring.  It’s a World War II/82nd Airborne Division story called “No Better Place To Die.”
9. Tell us more about the work you do with (Veterans or other groups or charities?) and how can our readers find out more about your efforts and ways we can help out?
I’m a big supporter of our active military and I spend a lot of time each year as an invited guest and speaker at bases around the country.  Naturally, many of those are Marine bases but the Army and Navy also keep me fairly high on their lists.  I do a lot of work for the Wounded Warriors Project and lend what time I can afford to organizations such as the VFW and American Legion.  In fact, the American Legion is honoring me with the 2012 National Commander’s Public Relations Award this February in Washington, DC. 
10. How can our readers find out more about your writing?  Are your books available as eBooks?  Is it possible to order a signed copy?  How do we do that?
All of my current work is available through or through The books are available for e-readers of most kinds.  If you order a book through Warriors Publishing Group, I’ll be glad to personalize it and add my signature.  Lots more information and links to other features can be found at
Well, we all appreciate your time Dale!  Thank you so much for all that you have done to help me in my efforts to learn about screenwriting and the industry in general.  I am a big fan of your work, which I know for a fact is very well respected throughout the military community.  It is my hope that perhaps we can get another chance to hear from you after you finish with your current projects.  I for one am very excited to see both the television series and the new movie!
Again, thank you Dale!
And thank you to our readers.
Everybody, please feel free to join me on facebook!
Steve Newman, Author - "The Night Eagles Soared"

Sunday, January 8, 2012

State Of The Union ... George Washington

First State of the Union

Today marks what can be considered a historic and somewhat ironic day in history.  On this day, January 8, 1790, the first President of the United States, George Washington, gave the first State of the Union address. 

State of the Union addresses have come a long way since 1790, from what appeared to be straight forward, to the point, and relatively short, to the now lengthy,  politically filled overtones and full of rhetoric.  The recent announcement by President Obama and his proposal for reductions in the military strength of the United States may contradict some of George Washington’s beliefs for maintaining a strong military, and rings of repeating history and lessons learned from previous reductions in military force, which later required responding to threats and rebuilding the military.
As we enter the new year, personal and political views and opinions aside, reflecting upon the first State of the Union by George Washington is a reminder of a sense of simplicity, normalcy and vision of the original intentions and purpose of the founding fathers, the American Revolution, and what those who lived at that time considered important, vital and of personal interest.    

On January 8, 1790, President George Washington complied with Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution. (Spellings appear as in the original draft.)

State of the Union
George Washington
January 8, 1790
Federal Hall, New York City

I EMBRACE with great satisfaction the opportunity, which now presents itself, of congratulating you on the present favourable prospects of our public affairs. The recent accession of the important state of Northcarolina to the Constitution of the United States (of which official information has been received) & the ruling credit and respectability of our country & the general and increasing good will towards the government of the union, and the concord, peace and plenty, with which we are blessed, are circumstances auspicious, in an excellent degree, to our national prosperity.
In reforming your consultations for the general good, you cannot but derive encouragement from the reflection, the measures of the last session have been as satisfactory to your constituents as the novelty and difficulty of the work allowed you to hope.-- Still further to realize their expectations, and to secure the blessings which a gracious Providence has placed within our reach, will in the course of the present important session, call for the cool and deliberate exertion of your patriotism, firmness and wisdom.
Among the many interesting objects which will engage your attention, that of providing for the common defence will merit particular regard. To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace.
A free people ought not only to be armed but disciplined; to which end a uniform and well digested plan is requisite: And their safety and interest require that they should promote such manufactories, as tend to render them independent on others, for essential, particularly for military supplies.
The proper establishment of the troops which may be deemed indispensable, will be entitled to mature consideration. In the arrangement which will be made respecting it, it will be of importance to conciliate the comfortable support of the officers and soldiers with a due regard to economy.
There was reason to hope, the pacifick measures adopted with regard to certain hostile tribes of Indians, would have relieved the inhabitants of our southern and western frontiers from their depredations. But you will perceive, from the information contained in the papers, which I shall direct to be laid before you, (comprehending a communication from the Commonwealth of Virginia) that we ought to be prepared to afford protection to those parts of the Union; and, if necessary, to punish aggressors.
The interests of the United States require, that our intercourse with other nations should be facilitated by such provisions as will enable me to fulfill my duty, in that respect, in the manner which circumstances may render most conducive to the publick good: And to this end, that the compensations to be made to the persons who may be employed, should, according to the nature of their appointments, be defined by law; and a competent fund designated for defraying the expenses incident to the conduct of our foreign affairs.
Various considerations also render it expedient, that the terms on which foreigners may be admitted to the rights of Citizens, should be speedily ascertained by a uniform rule of naturalization.
Uniformity in the currency, weights and measures of the United States, is an object of great importance, and will, I am persuaded, be duly attended to.
The advancement of agriculture, commerce and manufactures, by all proper means, will not, I trust, need recommendation. But I cannot forbear intimating to you the expediency of giving effectual encouragement as well to the introduction of new and useful inventions from abroad, as to the exertions of skill and genius in producing them at home; and of facilitating the intercourse between the distant parts of our country by a due attention to the Post Office and Post Roads.
Nor am I less persuaded, that you will agree with me in opinion, that there is nothing which can better deserve your patronage, than the promotion of Science and Literature. Knowledge is in every country the surest basis of publick happiness. In one, in which the measures of government receive their impression so immediately from the sense of the community, as in our's, it is proportionately essential. To the security of a free Constitution it contributes in various ways: By convincing those who are entrusted with the publick administration, that every valuable end of government is best answered by the enlightened confidence of the people: And by teaching the people themselves to know, and to value their own rights; to discern and provide against invasions of them; to distinguish between oppression and the necessary exercise of lawful authority; between burthens proceeding from a disregard to their convenience, and those resulting from the inevitable exigencies of society; to discriminate the spirit of liberty from that of licentiousness, cherishing the first, avoiding the last, and uniting a speedy, but temperate vigilance against encroachments, with an inviolable respect to the laws.
Whether this desirable object will be best promoted by affording aids to seminaries of learning already established, by the institution of a national university, or by any other expedients, will be well worthy of a place in the deliberations of the Legislature.
Gentlemen of the House of Representatives,
I SAW with peculiar pleasure, at the close of the last session, the resolution entered into by you, expressive of your opinion, that an adequate provision for the support of the publick credit, is a matter of high importance to the national honour and prosperity.-- In this sentiment, I entirely concur.-- And to a perfect confidence in your best endeavors to devise such a provision as will be truly consistent with the end, I add an equal reliance on the cheerful cooperation of the other branch of the Legislature.-- It would be superfluous to specify inducements to a measure in which the character and permanent interests of the United States so obviously and so deeply concerned; and which has received so explicit a sanction from your declaration.
Gentlemen of the Senate, and House of Representatives,
I HAVE directed the proper officers to lay before you respectively such papers and estimates as regards the affairs particularly recommended to your consideration, and necessary to convey to you that information of the state of the union, which it is my duty to afford.
The welfare of our country is the great object to which our cares and efforts ought to be directed.-- And I shall derive great satisfaction from a cooperation with you, in the pleasing though arduous task of ensuring to our fellow citizens the blessings which they have a right to expect, from a free and equal government.

G. WASHINGTON United States, January 8, 1790

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

First Soldier Killed in Afghanistan

Tenth Anniversary Remembered

It is sometimes difficult to grasp how quickly time passes and in some cases how soon people forget, and yet his family, friends and Brothers in Arms from the US Army 1st Special Forces Group have not forgotten and still remember SFC Nate Chapman on this tenth anniversary of his death on January 4, 2002. 

"SFC Nate Chapman has the single unwanted distinction of being the first American Soldier killed by enemy action in Afghanistan."

SFC Nate Chapman has the single unwanted distinction of being the first American Soldier killed by enemy action in Afghanistan.  SFC Chapman, a Green Beret and member of ODA-194 in the 3rd Battalion 1st Special Forces Group out of Fort Lewis Washington was serving on his third combat tour, his two previous combat tours having been in Panama and Desert Storm.

On January 4, 2002, Nate Chapman was part of a U.S. team operating near the town of Khost, a few miles from the Pakistan border. The Green Berets, in some cases working with CIA officers, had been combing the region on intelligence missions with Afghan fighters. They searched caves, bunkers, gathered weapons and interrogated captured Taliban and al-Qaida fighters.
Chapman and a CIA officer were working with local Afghan leaders to gain information on the whereabouts of al-Qaida members. After leaving a meeting with the Afghans, the Americans were ambushed by small-arms and light-machine-gun fire. Both Chapman and the CIA Officer were shot during the firefight and evacuated, however Chapman died shortly after from his wounds.   

Nate Chapman was laid to rest at Mount Tahoma Cemetery in Kent Washington. The below link has additional information about Nate Chapman.