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
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
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.