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EW3 Jason William "Bill" Dies
Jason William (Bill) Dies served in Horne prior to and during Desert Storm. He left Horne in June of 1991 and was to report to his new duty station in Florida a month later. He phoned a relative in June of 1991 and was never heard from again. His 1st cousin wants to know more about Jason and we can help. Please read her story below.
My name is Rachel Burke, Jason Dies was my only first cousin on my dad's side of the family. My dad and Jason's mom Priscilla are brother and sister. I was 10 when Jason left for basic training on May 16 1989, from what I've been told by my parents he had always wanted to join the Navy . I was much younger than he was ,but I remember he loved computers and video games. He would cautiously let me explore his computer, I always felt so special when he paid attention to me.
Since I have started looking for Jason I've been asked a few times why didn't we do something sooner? The answer is this: My family was fearful of looking for him. I have come to realize that all their fears were unfounded. Had Jason's father Victor been alive (he died when Jason was 9) I know things would have turned out differently.
Jason was declared an unauthorized absentee on July 18, 1991, then a deserter on September 19, 1991, through talking with NCIS I have learned that he was on leave. He would have had no more than 30 days to report to his next duty station, which was Corry station in Pensacola ,FL. During this time Navy officials showed up at my grandparents home in Lafayette ,LA. looking for Jason. My grandparents were scared and confused. They completely misunderstood what was going on and the confusion just bred from there. Sadly my grandparents, great aunt and uncle have all passed away. They were closest to Jason and would be of great help now in determining what happened back then.
This is what I know. My great aunt (my grandma's sister) received a call from Jason, he told her he was sending her some packages but not to open them just keep them safe. The packages were mailed from San Diego ,dated June 18 1991,the return address was EW3 Jason Dies NTTC Corry station Pensacola ,FL 32511. I suppose this was a precaution in case my great aunt was not there to accept them, he would still be able to get them upon his arrival at Corry station. When my great aunt got them she did as she was asked to do. After learning of Jason's status she brought the packages to my grandparents home. They decided not to open them, instead Priscilla put them in storage and there they sat for nearly ten years. They all thought Jason had done something wrong and therefore nothing good could come from opening them. I remember them saying things like "maybe it's spy stuff, or drugs." I wish I could have done more back then, but the combination of fear and confusion was too much for me to fight. Finally, Priscilla could no longer afford the storage fees, so all of her things were taken to my grandparents home.
I got hold of the packages, being older I had a little more sway and along with my parents we convinced everyone we should open them. Inside were gifts for our family. There was something for everyone's taste along with souvenirs from the Horne CG 30 which Jason served on. Even after this discovery my family still did not know what to do and took little action, years went by.
I filed a missing persons report on Jason at the Escambia county sheriff's department on January 25, 2013. Since then investigator Troy Brown has been instrumental in my search for knowledge. At the time I filed the report I thought Jason went absent from Corry station in Florida, but have since learned from NCIS he never actually showed up in Florida. When I questioned NCIS why he was declared a deserter as opposed to missing the reply was that there was really no evidence to suggest otherwise, but that there was also nothing to suggest he wanted to desert. NCIS has been helpful but unfortunately, Jason had all his records with him as electronic transfers did not exist back then so they have been limited to what they could tell me.
I have recently come to the conclusion that since Jason mailed the packages from San Diego one month before he was to report in Florida he intended to make a surprise visit home in Louisiana while on leave and pass out the gifts he mailed to my great aunt. Also being that the return address on the packages was Corry station I have no doubt he planned on reporting for duty. He never got to do any of that. No one in the family has heard from him since the phone call to my great aunt about the packages 23 years ago.
The internet has come along way since then so that has enabled my search for him. My husband and I have recently discovered unclaimed cash in Jason's name . It was reported by the state of Florida and turned over to the California state controllers office in the amount of $522.63 cents. I have also spent long hours searching though unidentified decedents, bloated faces, descriptions of bones, articles of clothing and belongings in hopes of finding him. I believe he is dead and has been all this time based on what I have learned. I have had many restless nights wondering what happened and feeling like everyone let him down. Priscilla wants to give a DNA sample so that, if all that is left of Jason is DNA, a match can be made and we will have confirmation of what we have felt for a long time. Priscilla is 72 years old with bad diabetes she just wants to know what happened to her only child before she dies.
I love Jason and feel like he would be happy I am doing this, I know he would have done the same for me. If a match is made I am not so naïve to think we would find out exactly what happened to him. I have promised myself I will be happy just knowing he is gone . It is hard not knowing. Being able to clear his name and have a ceremony for him would also be wonderful. I want to thank everyone who takes the time to read this and all who have helped and are going to help, thank you so much for caring.
I would love to hear anything about Jason from the people who knew him. I am so happy that all of you are making this happen. There have been times when it's felt like he never existed at all. I ordered a copy of ya'lls cruise book and it was so strange but amazing to see his picture, I just sat there staring at him. I had never seen him look so grown, all I have are pictures of him when he was young. I am overwhelmed with happiness every time I get a response so I welcome anything, memories people might have, funny stories. Anything at all especially if someone new what his plans were back when he went missing. I feel it brings him closer and makes him less of a ghost after all this time , so keep it coming.
Thank you all ,
IF YOU KNEW BILL DIES, DEPUTY TROY BROWN WOULD APPRECIATE YOUR CALL