Diane Diekman
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VADM Church introduction

Welcome and introductions by Vice Admiral Tom Church, Naval Inspector General, at the retirement ceremony for CAPT Diane Diekman, USN -- 18 August 2004

Let me take the opportunity to welcome you all today to this wonderful time-honored retirement ceremony where we recognize the service of Captain Diane Diekman in nearly 32 years of service to her country.

I think there's a saying I've heard over the years that goes something like this: Is this a great Navy day, or what? At least it is so far. This is a Navy Memorial--we didn't have this 15 years ago. It's a living memorial to all the sea services, and a heritage center inside. I hope those of you that are visiting will get a chance to see that. It's a wonderful location for what we consider a fitting closure to a unique and wonderful career.

Before I introduce our guest speaker, I'd like to recognize a few special guests. First of all, I want to extend a welcome to Diane's mother, Mildred. She's joined us from Clear Lake, South Dakota. She's a veteran of World War II, where she was a WAVE. I haven't seen this uniform in years. Mildred, would you stand up so we can all thank you for joining us? During the war, Mrs. Diekman served as an aircraft mechanic and later as a logbook yeoman at NAS Hutchinson, Kansas. Maybe this explains Diane's early interest in aviation maintenance.

I'd like also to recognize Diane's daughters, April, 11, and Amanda, 8. Lorraine, Diane's sister, and her two sons, Casey and Kellen. Diane's brother, Ron Diekman, a sergeant in the South Dakota National Guard, hoped to be here today, on leave from Iraq, but was delayed by mechanical issues with his flight. Diane assured me that was not a Navy aircraft.

Diane's also asked me to introduce one other special guest, Aviation Ordnanceman Chief Petty Officer Carl Creamer, United States Navy retired. Chief Petty Officer Creamer is another representative of the Greatest Generation, having served in World War II, having survived internment in a prisoner-of-war camp. Chief, I met you earlier and--why don't you stand, and let us recognize you, too? I know Diane's especially honored that you and your son were able to make the trip up here today.

Diane's biography is in your program, so I'm just going to hit a few highlights of significance. Captain Diekman graduated from Augustana College in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. In 1972 she enlisted in the Navy. She served for two and a half years as a sailor, and I think she'll tell you that the two and a half years formed a lot of her perspective on her later service as a naval officer.

She earned her commission through Officer Candidate School in '75. She served all over the world, predominantly in aviation maintenance assignments, including AIMD tours in Guam and Jacksonville, Florida. She served on major staffs, and she served in command for three years.

She joined our staff in November 2002, where she's been a stalwart performer. Her impressive contributions to the Naval IG, to naval aviation, to the AMDO community will be formally recognized in a few minutes.

To Diane's mother, Mildred, I want you to know how much we appreciate you sending your daughter our way.

And to Diane's daughters, April and Amanda, you are now going to get to enjoy your mother on a near-full-time basis, as Diane plans to stay at home and spend more time doing things she wants to do, primarily--I think--be a freelance writer.

For those of you that don't know--and I'm one of them--Diane's a published author. You always learn something at these retirement ceremonies, and sure enough, that’s true again.

She's written two books, A Farm In the Hidewood: My South Dakota Home, and Navy Greenshirt: A Leader Made, Not Born. It recounts her leadership development in the AMDO community.

I had an opportunity to look these over last night. We talked about Guam earlier, and I started reading the part about AIMD Agana. I remember--that was a long time ago. That was pre-first-BRAC round. But I stopped short--I was looking at the index, and I came upon one of these chapters--here it is, Chapter Seven. The title is "Pilots, Planes, and Parties." I decided I'd stop right there and not read any further. Diane'll have to tell you about that later. Anyway, if you happen to be browsing on Amazon.com later this afternoon, here you go.

Our guest speaker today is the former Secretary of the Navy, the Honorable James H. Webb. Jr. Secretary Webb shares in common with Diane that they've both written about--and lived--leadership. James Webb writes about leadership through a different form. Whether its Midshipman First Class Fogerty, in Sense Of Honor, Red Lesczynski in A Country Such As This, or LT Hodges in Fields Of Fire, the characters in Mr. Webb's novels are leaders that impress themselves indelibly in the minds of his readers.

Mr. Webb knows whereof he writes and speaks. A 1968 Naval Academy graduate, renowned for his success in the brigade boxing championships, Mr. Webb served as a combat Marine in Vietnam, where he was awarded the nation's second highest award for gallantry in combat, the Navy Cross, as well as the Silver Star, two Bronze Stars and two Purple Hearts.

After leaving the Marine Corps in 1972, Mr. Webb attended Georgetown University Law School and pursued a career in the law and in writing. Mr. Webb has continued service to his country after leaving active duty. From 1984 to 1987 he served as the first Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs. From 1987 to 1988 he served as the Secretary of the Navy, the first Naval Academy graduate to serve in that capacity.

Mr. Webb has written six best-selling novels. He speaks and writes extensively on military and security affairs. We are indeed honored to have him here today as our speaker, to honor Diane's many years of dedicated service. Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in welcoming the Honorable Secretary James Webb.