Jean Diekman grew up on a South
Dakota farm, attended a one-room country school in the Hidewood Valley, and graduated from Clear Lake High School in 1968. Today she is a retired
U.S. Navy captain and an author.
Four years at Augustana College in Sioux Falls, South
Dakota, provided her with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education, English and Spanish.
When a mandated closure of rural schools ended her teaching dream, Diekman enlisted in the U.S. Navy. After two years as an
aviation storekeeper, she attended officer candidate school and earned a commission in 1975.
Designated an aeronautical maintenance duty officer in 1979, Diekman was promoted
to captain in 1997. She commanded Defense Contract Management Agency Van Nuys in Los Angeles,
and her final assignment before retirement was the Office of the Naval Inspector General in Washington D.C.
Live Fast, Love Hard: The Faron
Young Story, Diekman's biography of Country Music Hall of Fame member Faron Young, was recently published by the University of Illinois Press. Her previous
books are Navy
Greenshirt: A Leader Made, Not Born, a memoir
of her military career, and A Farm in the Hidewood: My South Dakota Home, her childhood
memoir. For five years, she wrote a newspaper column of military and travel experiences.
Captain Diekman is listed in Marquis Who’s
Who of American Women 1997-1998, 2000-2001,
and 2002-2003. She graduated from the Naval
War College and holds two master's degrees
from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University--a Master of Aeronautical
Science and a Master of Business Administration in Aviation.
An avid runner, Diekman has more than a dozen marathons and ultramarathons to
her credit. She loves country-western music, dancing and reading, is active in her Lutheran church, and owns a Mary Kay beauty
consultant business. She lives in Maryland with her daughters,
April and Amanda. Diekman is currently writing her second Country Music Hall of Fame biography, Twentieth
Century Drifter: The Life of Marty Robbins.