My uncle, James Lee Diel, was born on March 3, 1922. He was the oldest child ofJames R. Diel and Nellie Ebbert Diel. He bad a sister, Mary Jane born in 1923 and a brother Daniel Ebbert Diel born in 1924. Dan Diel was my father and he died of a stroke in 1995. The three children all attended a one room country school to obtain an elementary education. In the fall of 1936, my grandparents rented their farm out to a neighbor and bought a house in Newton, illinois. Uncle Lee, Aunt Mary Jane, and my Dad all went to Newton High School for 4 years.
Lee graduated from Newton High School in 1940. During the of 1939 and again in the of 1940, Uncle Lee attended a 6 week military training camp held at Jefferson Barracks in St. Louis Missouri. In the fall of 1940, Uncle Lee enrolled in the Georgia Military Academy in Georgia. This was a 4 year school which would graduate you with an Officers commission in the United States Army. However, Lee dropped out of school in 1942, and enlisted in the army as an Airbome recruit.
I think he felt impatient getting involved with the war, and that he did not want to wait until he finished school. Uncle Lee took his basic training with E Company ofthe 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division at Camp Taccoa in Georgia.
Uncle Lee did well at Camp Taccoa. Perhaps because of his Military Academy he was soon promoted to Corporal and then Sgt. in E Company. In late 1943, Lee and his outfit were shipped overseas to England. The 101st Airborn was stationed near Aldboume, England. Lee jumped into Normandy with his division on D-Day. He was promoted to 1st Sgt. during the Normandy campaign. After the invasion, the 101st Airborne Division was returned to England for rest and recuperation around the middle ofJuly, 1944.
Uncle Lee was then promoted to 2nd Lt. and in with army. policy, to A company ofthe 506th. They stayed in England until the invasion ofHolland on Sept, 18, 1944. Uncle Lee was killed in action near Eindoven, Holland on Sept. 19, 1944. My Dad was stationed in Burma when received the sad news.
I hope this short history will be helpfull to you. I was born in 1952, to I DeVel' met Uncle Lee. His nickame while he was in the Army was Punchy. I believe he was close friends with William (Wild Bill) Guamere while he was in the service. Bill is in your website and has a picture of himself and Uncle Lee posted.
Provided by Harry R. Diel