A man in uniform is smiling for the camera.


Born on October 5, 1912, in Vail, Iowa, Bill Dieter enlisted in the US Army on October 29, 1936, graduating from, Coast Artillery Motor School. He was known as a “dapper guy who enjoyed coming back to Vail to visit relatives.†He re-enlisted with the 95th Bombardment Squadron (Army Air Corps) on December 12, 1940. Bill trained as a bombardier; volunteered for the secret Doolittle Toyko Raid. After just two months of training on April 18, 1942, Sgt. Dieter’s B-25, “The Green Hornet†took off 6th from the aircraft carrier “Hornet†their mission…bomb Tokyo, proving the Japanese mainland was not invulnerable from air attacks. William Dieter became the second Iowan to make the ultimate sacrifice on this, the first offensive raid of World War II against the Japanese homeland. Out of fuel, the B-25 was forced to ditch, at night, less than two miles off the coast of China. Dieter, severely injured from the crash landing, drowned while swimming to shore.

Originally interred at Shatow, Sgt. Dieter’s body was returned to United States soil and laid to rest at the GOLDEN Gate National Cemetery in San Bruno, California on January 10, 1949. Posthumously promoted to the rank of Staff Sergeant, William J. Dieter’s decorations include the Distinguished Flying Cross, Purple Heart, Chinese Breast of Yung Hui and Congressional Gold Medal (awarded May 23, 2014).

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