An afternoon in Ohrid

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Memorial Day

Lt. KC Diehl, United States Army Air Corps
Monday's memorial day will have a special meaning to me.  My Dad, Kenneth Clark Diehl, died on January 16th of this year, shortly after his 93rd birthday.  He was a veteran of 3 wars, World War II, the Korean War, and Viet Nam.  He was from the old school:  dashing, handsome, loyal and patriotic.  He was a man of his times and could also be chauvinistic, mule-headed and domineering.  Poor guy, he was blessed with 3 daughters that could be equally as mule-headed as he was!

He loved flying, his family and the outdoors.  His father had been one of the first national park rangers, and he grew up in the Tetons, Yosemite and Sequoia.  He and his brother would hike into the back country of whichever park his dad was at and camp and fish for days.  He hiked through his 70's, and tried scaling Mt. Rainier in his 60's.  It was a love my mother did not share with him - she went camping with him once and said if she couldn't stay in a place with a bed and sheets, she wasn't going!  But he passed his love onto 2 of us, and my older sister particularly continues to camp, hike and fly-fish.

His career in the Air Force was an accident.  After WWII, he got out of the service and worked for Standard Oil, but was recalled for the Korean war.  He was a part of research and development and got to fly all kinds of experimental air planes, one of which he crashed!  He was going to return to Standard Oil, but one thing led to another, and the Air Force became his career.  He flew fighter planes, KC 97's and 135's (refuelers), and ended his career flying U-2's.  When I was in college he was in Viet Nam, with a $10,000 price on his head.  It was such a relief when his tour was done.  After Viet Nam, he retired and left flying, but he always missed it.

If he had a Jungian archetype, it was the hero.  He was always ready to sacrifice himself for someone else, whether they wanted it or not!  Ironically, one of the things that made him so resolutely human was that he always wanted to be larger than life - always the best - and when he couldn't be the best, he quit.  But he always will be larger than life for me.  He'll always be my hero.


  1. I just got back from a Memorial Day concert on the National Mall, so I'm inspired to say thanks for your Dad's service and for raising such a great daughter!

  2. Candy, very nice. Your dad would have loved the tribute. Our dads, pretty cool guys.