A gravestone not far from the Wooster Street entrance to Marietta's Oak Grove Cemetery bears a simple engraving: "Beloved Paul E. Dye, 1920-1979." A small American flag next to the stone identifies the marker as that of a U.S. Armed Services veteran-but the body of Technical Sgt. Paul Dye is no longer there.
It took a few years, but Arlington National Cemetery eventually became his final resting place.
"He was a radio operator/gunner with the Air Transport Command during World War II, and flew 25 missions in a B17 bomber they nicknamed 'The Skyball,'" said Dye's daughter, Judy Eros, 68, of Marietta.
Photo provided by Judy Eros
Tech Sgt. Paul Dye, third from left in the back row, is shown with members of his fellow B17 Flying Fortress bomber crew that flew 25 missions during World War II.
Dye, a native of Marietta, was inducted on Aug. 28, 1942 and served three years with Squadron C of the 813th Army Air Corps in the European, African and Middle Eastern theatre.
During his service Dye was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the European, African, Middle Eastern Campaign Medal and the Air Medal with two oak leaf clusters.
"Because he had been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross he was allowed to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery," Eros explained. "He was also recommended for a Distinguished Service Cross for saving his flight crew at one time, but he refused it."
Tech Sgt. Paul E. Dye
Served with Squadron C of the 813th Army Air Corps.
Recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross.
Buried in Oak Grove Cemetery in 1979.
Moved to Arlington National Cemetery July 1, 2000.
Source: Records provided by daughter Judy Eros of Marietta.
She said her father didn't feel he deserved that medal.
"He told the officer that he was saving himself and the crew just happened to be there, too," Eros said. "But he never told us what happened for him to be recommended for the Distinguished Service Cross."
Dye didn't discuss his war experiences much, according to stepdaughter Nina Byer, 76, of Marietta.
"Like many veterans he was reluctant to talk about the war very much," she said. "But he always did his best to take care of his family."
After his discharge from military service in May 1945, Dye returned to Marietta and worked as an electrician with the local International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.
"He was a good dad. We would often take Sunday drives as a family, and sometimes visit family members in Lexington, Ky., or Cincinnati. We did a lot of things as a family," Eros said. "I remember when I was very young he used to teach me how to sing the cadence songs he learned in the military."
Paul Dye passed away Jan. 1, 1979, after an extended illness, and was initially buried in Oak Grove Cemetery.
"But our mother later found that he was qualified to be buried at Arlington, so she had his body cremated and took his ashes to Washington, D.C., where he was buried in a full military ceremony on July 1, 2000," Byer said.