He was born on January 11, 1909 in Andersonville, Georgia. As a youth, he attained the rank of Eagle Scout, highest in the Boy Scouts. Dyess is one of only seven known Eagle Scouts who also received the Medal of Honor. The others are Robert Edward Femoyer, Eugene B. Fluckey, Mitchell Paige, Benjamin L. Salomon, Leo K. Thorsness, and Jay Zeamer, Jr. He is also the only American to receive both the Carnegie Medal for civilian heroism and the Medal of Honor. In 1929, he was awarded the Carnegie Medal for saving two swimmers off the coast of Charleston, South Carolina in 1928.
The President of the United States takes pride in presenting the MEDAL OF HONOR posthumously to
In 1945, the destroyer USS Dyess (DD-880) was named in honor of LtCol Dyess.