He spent thirteen years as an enlisted Marine, rising to the rank of Master Sergeant. He was chosen to attend Officer Candidates School and was appointed a Warrant Officer in 1976. He later converted his commission and was made a Captain. Dye was well-known in the tight-knit community of the Marine Combat Correspondents in Vietnam. It was fellow Marine correspondent Gustav Hasford who dubbed him "Daddy D.A" (as he was among the oldest of the correspondents) and included him as a character in his first semi-autobiographical Vietnam novel, The Short-Timers, and (even more extensively) in his second, The Phantom Blooper. The movie based on Hasford's first novel, Full Metal Jacket, included the "Daddy D.A" character, (played by Keith Hodiak) though neither the character nor Dye's name is explicitly mentioned in the dialogue.
"And there was a Marine correspondent, Sergeant Dale Dye, who sat with a tall yellow flower sticking out of his helmet cover, a really outstanding target. He was rolling his eyes around and saying, 'Oh yes, oh yes, Charlie's got his shit together here, this will be bad,' and smiling happily. It was the same smile I saw a week later when a sniper's bullet tore up a wall two inches above his head, odd cause for amusement in anyone but a grunt."
After serving as a Captain in the Beirut Peacekeeping Force in 1982–83, he served in a variety of positions and got his B.A. in English from the University of Maryland University College. From 1983–84, Dye worked for the magazine Soldier of Fortune in Central America as he trained troops in guerrilla warfare in the countries of El Salvador and Nicaragua.
After his retirement in 1984 from the United States Marines, Dye founded Warriors, Inc., a California company that specializes in training actors for realistic soldier portrayals, for movies of the war genre. In the 1986 movie Platoon, he played Captain Harris and also served as military technical advisor for the movie.
Additionally, Dye hosts a Sunday evening radio show on KFI AM 640, Los Angeles. Dye has also been involved in the Medal of Honor series of video games as a consultant. He was a character in Medal of Honor: European Assault as well as Medal of Honor: Rising Sun and was featured in two tracks on Hoobastank's CD Every Man for Himself. He has also hosted The History Channel's documentary series The Conquerors. He consulted for Lucas Art 2008 scheduled Fracture video game as well as appearing as a cameo role as Col. Robert Sink (Commander of the division's 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment) in the soon to be released next-gen video game Brothers In Arms: Hell's Highway.
A notice from KFI posted in June 2007: Captain Dale Dye will be taking a yearlong leave of absence from KFI AM 640 to work on an HBO companion piece to Band of Brothers. The ten-part mini-series, now known as The Pacific War, is being shot in Australia with Captain Dye working as a unit director shooting the Marines' major battles in the Pacific including Guadalcanal, Cape Gloucester, Peleliu, Iwo Jima and Okinawa.
Dye's military decorations include: