Diane 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. 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, Diane 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, Diane was promoted to captain in 1997. She commanded Defense Contract Management Agency Van Nuys in Los Angeles , and her final Navy assignment before retirement in 2004 was the Office of the Naval Inspector General in Washington D.C.
She has written the biographies of two Country Music Hall of Fame members. Live Fast, Love Hard: The Faron Young Story and Twentieth Century Drifter: The Life of Marty Robbins are both 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.
She currently serves as president of the board of directors for the Battleship South Dakota Memorial, and she is an active member of the VFW and American Legion funeral honor guards. An avid runner, Diane 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 Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and has two grown daughters, April and Amanda.
First ultramarathon — 40 miles in 8:05 hours