"Hell Is So Green" by Lt William Diebold

Discussion in 'Non-fiction' started by vikingBerserker, Sep 23, 2012.

  1. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

    Apr 10, 2009
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    "Hell Is So Green"
    by Lt William Diebold
    Lyons Press – 2012
    ISBN 978-0-7627-7273-5


    In a review of the book Somewhere We Will Find You by Robert Underbrink, I had mentioned a story about a downed C-46 radioman that had parachuted out of his aircraft over Burma that did not end so well for him (killed himself while being eaten by ants). The rescuers from the 1352nd Search and Rescue Unit find his remains days later, his skull already stripped clean. The 2 rescuers were Lt William Diebold and Sgt James Brenner and this book is based on a transcript Lt William Diebold had written after his return to the US. An excerpt of his story appeared in Cosmopolitan in 1946 (yes THE Cosmopolitan magazine and no I don’t follow that one either) and the Coast Artillery Journal in 1947. He passed away in 1965 and the transcript then sat in an attic until his daughter decided to have it published and it was, in 2012.

    The book is 259 pages in divided into 22 Chapters, and only 1 picture which I assume is of him on an elephant.

    Lt Diebold was trained as a glider pilot in the ETO, so naturally he was shipped to Jungle School in Panama and then onto the CBI theatre to the Air Transport Command. He then volunteers to parachute into Burma on a solo rescue mission and shortly afterwards questions his sanity. As a bonus, he has never parachuted before. The book is a mixture of humor at himself such as picking out a spot for his head on a hut when he met a headhunter for the first time (on the porch for a really nice view) and where not to hang a hammock (under said porch as it also serves as a bathroom) to the more serious such as finding the body mentioned above and having to hack out a landing strip in the wilds of Tibet.

    Unfortunately he never finished writing as the story stops after the rescue in Tibet when he is told about another rescue he was about to be sent out on. That rescue turns out to involve one of the few using a helicopter so it really is a shame he stopped writing it. Shortly after that rescue he was involved in a plane crash that appears to have ended his career with the 1352nd.

    Sadly after the war things did not go well for him; several divorces, drinking, and a problem with keeping a job plagued him. Sadly he passed away at the age 47.

    A solid 9.5 headhunters.

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