A rare, firsthand account of the rescue mission to aid the biggest air-supply of World War II. Lt. William Diebold served in the Army’s Air Transport Command in the China-Burma-India theater, saving the lives of the men who flew the Hump to keep allied China supplied against Imperial Japan. Often flying in zero-visibility, many pilots went down over the eastern Himalayas. Those who survived Bill Diebold rescued. Rich with war slang, wisecracks, and old-fashioned phrases, Diebold’s story is all the more extraordinary for its authentic voice and represents the stories of many men that have never been told. Here is a compelling tale of courage in the wild.
|Publisher:||Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.|
|Product dimensions:||5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.80(d)|
About the Author
Lt. William Diebold wrote Hell Is So Green shortly after returning to America. An excerpt appeared in Cosmopolitan in 1946 and Coast Artillery Journal in 1947. He died in 1965. Richard Matthews is a feature writer, whose work has appeared in the New York Times, Boston Globe, Hartford Courant, Historic Preservation, American Heritage, American Profile, Country Living, Vermont Life, Massachusetts Business and Economic Review, and many other publications. An infantryman in Vietnam from 1965 to 1966, he lives in Phillips, Maine.
Read an Excerpt
Hell Is So GreenSearch and Rescue over the Hump in World War II
By William Diebold
Lyons PressCopyright © 2011 William Diebold
All right reserved.
“Diebold,” he said, “you’re on temporary duty here, is that right?” I nodded. “You don’t come under higher headquarters where I’d normally have to get the O.K. to let you do this, do you?”“No, sir,” I answered. He looked at me again for a minute and then asked, “Would you like to change your mind?”Everything inside me urged, Yes, for God’s sake, yes, but I answered, “No.”“All right, boy, go get dressed for a parachute jump and a long trek in the jungle. Be back here in an hour, and I’ll get you some gear and fill you in with what you need to know.” He paused. “And by the way, welcome to your new home.”
—from Chapter 1
Excerpted from Hell Is So Green by William Diebold Copyright © 2011 by William Diebold. Excerpted by permission.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I'm not sure whether Bill Diebold was brave or just loved danger, but I think it was bravery. Who else volunteers, with no training at all, to parachute into the Burma jungle on his first day? His reward was to save an injured pilot, but then he had to get him out of the jungle himself without help except for very limited aerial support. He did this repeatedly and successfully, learning as he went, until his own plane crashed and he was injured too badly to continue. He never killed anyone but he saved maybe one hundred of our own men. That is heroism. Bill's book is a time capsule--he wrote it in 1945 or so but never published it. He writes with the light-hearted unconcern for danger that characterized our nation's attitude coming out of WWII. His style is easy to read, hard to put down and imbued with a sense of humor and love for life that only people who have risked their lives can have. Books have been written about flying the Burma Hump, but no one has told first-hand of his personal experiences in rescuing the flyers who went down in that effort. This is Bill's only book; I wish he had written more!