Teach 2 Dumb Dudes

Diane Dean-Epps: Remembering Stories From World War 2

September 26, 2022 Joe Bento Season 3 Episode 3
Teach 2 Dumb Dudes
Diane Dean-Epps: Remembering Stories From World War 2
Show Notes Transcript

Diane's father was a World War 2 veteran, who while on a mission was shot-down over German territory and forced to live in a P.O.W camp for almost 2 years. Diane wrote a book about the stories he told her as a child, and the hours upon hours of research to piece the stories together. You will never believe what these people went through. Be sure to check out Dian's website and her book. https://dianedeaneppswriting.wordpress.com/

Diane:

So surreal. And he talked about when he first got taken prisoner, he said one of the, his quotes is about how, you know, to see not your flag, but the Nazi flag flying. Which has a big impression on me. You know, whenever I see, you know, cars that are flying flags that remind me of the. Sedans. It really gives me that creepy feeling down my back that I think comes from my, my inherited DNA from my dad. That's like, oh, hell no, we cannot do this again.

Bento:

So you're never driven a Volkswagen

Diane:

have been a passenger. I'm gonna, I'm

Bobby:

Okay.

Bento:

right.

Diane:

a

Bento:

As long as you're not giving many money. It's okay.

Diane:

no money. Yeah. It was a brief dating experience. I really don't like talking about it.

Bento:

he pulls up, he pulls up into jetty, like, it's not gonna work.

Diane:

Yeah. You know, it was a hatchback, I just didn't see a future.

Bobby:

Hey everybody, what's going on back with another teach two dumb dudes episode. My boy bent them over here is cheese now. Cause I suck at these as always I'm Bobby. This week we spoke with Diane Dean S so Diane has written a book called remember a father daughter, world war IITO 17, B P O w story about never giving up. Uh, honestly we just talked to her about her father and her father's experience in the 95th bomb group, during world war II, specifically, the black, you know, the mission, black week monster, which was, in October of 1943. It's a very sad story, but it's brilliantly told this woman, Diane was super interesting and had a lot of great things to say about her father and about his legacy. So definitely give us a,

Bento:

And everybody see boy bento, don't forget to go on Facebook, teach two dumb dudes. That's teach the number two dumb dudes. And just like our page, I asked about this last week, we got 41 more post engagements and four likes. So some motherfuckers actually listen to us and we appreciate

Bobby:

we appreciate you tell, tell that motherfucker. I

Bento:

I appreciate em.

Diane:

Hey, how's it going?

Bento:

how are

Diane:

I'm here. By the time I start clicking every box, you know, I'm like, I'm in, I'm in. Gosh. Good to see you guys.

Bobby:

you too. You too, you know, it's funny. Uh, you know, obviously we do this all the time and, uh, you know, some people get a little bit more stuck than others, uh, on the, the zoom technology. And so it's always fun. It's always fun to see, you know, how kind of each person handles when they first hit that hiccup. Like, wait, this isn't on, what am I doing?

Diane:

I know there's a lot of this.

Bobby:

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So it, it is pretty funny. It is pretty funny, but, uh, thank you so much for, taking the time and, and coming to join us. You know, both of us are, are, you know, big, big history boss and, and big fans of, you know, cool stories, but world, world war II and whatnot, uh, and knowing that you're an

Bento:

fans of world war II.

Bobby:

well, excuse me, big fans of history of world war II.

Bento:

I catch myself sometimes. I like, yeah. I was like, I really like world war two. And I was like, I should probably

Bobby:

no, yeah. That's

Bento:

really interested in the history of world war II.

Diane:

Good job, Joe. I didn't really catch it so good on

Bobby:

yeah. Yeah. Thank you for that. And obviously we know that you are an author of other books as well, and so we were really excited to, to speak with you, and kind of, you know, get the low down on this story and, and how it became, the book, and correct me if I'm wrong. The book is called, remember?

Diane:

Yes, yes. Don't forget. It's called. Remember

Bobby:

Nah. Perfect.

Diane:

that leads right into, I do write humor books, unless you don't think they're funny, then they're just, informational.

Bento:

Right. Right,

Bobby:

That's terrific. I love that. I love it.

Bento:

let's you know, just, just kind of start off you know, tell us like a little bit about yourself, you know, and how you get into writing in this, this book, cuz you know, like Bobby and I were just talking about, you know, world war II and stories in general and there's not a lot of people left unfortunately from that generation to tell their story. So really whatever we're gonna get is either out there or it's with a, you know, a relative like yourself that that can write a book or anything to get that, to get that story out there.

Diane:

Yeah, thanks so much. Yeah. So if you can believe it, I know that the listeners won't be able to see me, but they can Google me and see that I'm not 22 years old, but amazingly I'm one of the young kids of these gentlemen who were world war II vets, the, the guys who were pow. So what was interesting is I've been a writer, you know, since I learned what the word cursive meant, and I tried to do it, you know? And so my bent is usually humor and and. Definitely learned that from my father, in addition to storytelling. And from my early years, my dad told me a lot about his experiences during world war II. Not everybody. It's a really weird thing. It's a mixed bag. Cause when you talk to, relatives, many of them are out there trying to find out anything they can about. We're gonna talk about dads. It's not like women. Grandmother's moms, you know, weren't active during world war II, but, but these were the dads and they don't have any information about them because they never said a word. They came home from world war II, they shut the trunk and they never opened it again. That was that. My dad, I was fortunate. He, he would tell me stories. I mean, kind of have to talk about in the book that they weren't talks, they were listens. I would, he would start to share something and I would just plunk myself down from a really early. And listened to what he told me. And I remembered a lot of what he told me. And then I was fortunate cuz my dad lived to be 87 years old. And so he died. He's been gone for since 2006. So quite some time, my challenge in writing I've, I've always written humor and all sorts of goop, you know, out there, if you Google it, there's, there's lots of things. Some, some of which I'm very proud of. And and what was difficult for me is that I had this story. I wanted to tell my dad's story, but by the time, you know, I mucked about with it for 30 years. I, I wanted to spin on it, that it was a little bit different. It it's, you know, definitely a, a, a story that, you know, there's a lot of sadness to the fact that, you know, I have a. Who was a prisoner and he was a prisoner of war in Nazi, Germany. He actually was interned in a camp. so like 17 B is infamous. If you also Google that I'm really giving Google a lot of air air time today. You'll see that there's, there was a Broadway play. And then there was a movie with William Holden. most, listeners may not know who he is very, popular actor of his time. And so this was, a camp to survive and it was actually a, quite a city in and of itself. So as I went through the years, you know, I knew that I wanted to tell the story could not figure out I'd started it so many times. I look at every computer I've had and everything from, you know, apple three to going into floppy disc, to, you know, printing things on a track for printer to current times last year. And I, I just couldn't get my angle. And then it finally dawned on. That I was going to tell it from, it was gonna be a duet, kinda like, you know, Natalie Cole with her dad, but there would be no singing. There would be a lot of talk in reading.

Bento:

Mm-hmm

Diane:

so it's me setting up what happened with my dad. And then my dad, I found a tape there's only one tape when he ever chronologically talked about his experiences and that was from 1987. And so I transcribed that sucker and took the transcription and inserted myself into the various segments. And so that was last year and just the final piece on how it even happened. 78 years after he you know, was a prisoner, is that last year was my first time. I became a, a MEIA I'm a grandmother now. And that really spurred me on to the legacy. You know, that whole concept of none of us knows how long we get to be here, but nothing really makes you think of legacy more than when your kids have kids. And then you go, you know what? This needs to be now, not later.

Bobby:

how are they gonna remember me? And those who came before me.

Bento:

Did you have all these stories written down already, you know, like jotted down that things that you remember just scattered throughout your computer?

Diane:

Yeah, I had notes. I had a lot of notes and then a lot of it amazingly I should have had more details written down, but I think what happened is I actually had to go out and do a lot of research to fill in gaps on things that my dad had shared, like, you know, on the walk back when he when they were well, he wasn't really released from 17 B the, the, the, they were, they were told to leave the camp and they were marched out and they were not let go.

Bobby:

to Austria when, when the allies were coming, they were coming from the east. And so they said, oh, we gotta move everybody.

Bento:

Was 1945, which was crazy. I think his mission was October of 1943. I mean, he was in there for, you know, year and a half, two years. That's that's incredible.

Diane:

And that was that black week, you know, in the black Thursday and that whole campaign that he got you know, knocked out of the sky. And that's what that was his funny thing is he said, I just never understood why you would jump out of a plane unless you had to, you know, cause

Bento:

right.

Bobby:

yeah.

Bento:

Exactly.

Diane:

he was forced a parachute out. Yeah. So, so I didn't know what, you know, what extermination camp he had even walked by. I had to look that up later and get myself acclimated to, you know, I'm not a real map girl. I'm kinda like I'll

Bobby:

right. The geography of the area. Yeah. Especially back then too, because you know, country lines then compared to now are different. And so it is a little bit, you know, you're, you're more trying to find small village names, you know, it was near this village, you know,

Diane:

yes, yes. It's changed map. Yes. So that, so that's. You know, I motor mouthed my way through kind of how it came to be and how the years just went by. And it finally was time to tell the story and then it was, you know, what am I gonna call it? And I thought, well, my dad always told me, he didn't say so much. Don't forget. He would say, remember. And I thought, well, it's pretty positive. What came out of it? I mean, he lived and he went on to, uh, you know, another wife who was my mom and and, and you know, and ended up up with a whole really pretty storied life after all that. So pretty

Bento:

Sure. Sure. So tell us, you know, tell listeners and, you know, obviously we've done some research on it, but tell, you know, tell listeners what happened with your, your dad and you know, what, what unit was he in and the mission and kind of what led up to him, you know, getting stuck in that, uh, camp.

Diane:

Yeah. So he was in the 95th bomb group. And what happened during the wars? Of course, they. They flew out. He flew out of H so they were flying out of England and we were involved as we often are. Spoiler alert audience. We're often involved in wars when we say we're not. And so and so they were flying a bunch of missions, super young guy joined up when he was, I told me he was joined up when he was underage. And and so pretty young man

Bobby:

Did he, did he lie about his age to get in?

Diane:

he did, I, I'm still not

Bobby:

Those guys are insane. I w I'm a military member, you know, veteran myself and I cannot imagine signing up early before you're eligible because you know, you're going to war

Diane:

Yeah, you wanna get in? You're

Bobby:

so

Diane:

can I get out? How can I get out? I'm 85 years old on Jules. I know. So he, and you know, of course not to go like too far off on a tangent, which you know, can

Bobby:

that's right. We like tangents. Don't

Bento:

oh yeah.

Diane:

but one of the really weird things that came outta this whole deal. So my dad being born in 1919, you know, these birth certificates were really fluid things, as you guys know for a variety of reasons. So he was born at home, so they pretty much put on those things, whatever. So I'm not convinced, I'm not even sure his real birthdate was what it was. And then you know, so, but anyway, he did lie. He said he was underage. He was under Asian July. His dad had the sign the document. So he went and he was, actually in a, a central, California town called Stockton, California. He was at Stockton field and he was flying out of may. And he was doing these they were teaching them things like, you know, how to be a pilot and like they'd send him to Vegas, Las Vegas. And it would be, gosh, I I'm trying to recall, but it was like an eight week course, you know, and then they would just go deploy them. And so my dad, I isn't it crazy. So my dad, he was a left waist gunner. And so what happened is my dad was a very he was super quicky. He was very quick witted, which often got him into a lot of trouble. And so he was trying to Dodge, he joined up and he was going to end up being sent on these missions that were now, we were losing a lot of men in a lot of aircraft in 1943. And so and his mission would end up being the Munster mission. And so he was trying to Dodge, the adjective, who was looking for people to fly missions. And they said, Hey, have you seen Dean? And, and he, the, he asked my dad that my dad said I haven't seen him. And as my dad said, cause I hadn't looked in the mirror that day.

Bobby:

yeah. Right, right. He's covering up his name tag. No, no, no. I may.

Diane:

Yeah, he went that way. Right. And so eventually my dad someone fingered him, you know, one of the guys that he said, I never spoke to him again, said, well, Dean's right there. And so he ticked off the guy and he said, oh, you are gonna have a good time. Now I'm gonna put you on some great admissions. And so my dad became a replacement crew member. And so he ended up on the Fritz blitz because he ended up flying on the Fritz blitz. And I have to even look in my own book. The other one that he was that he flew on, he flew one mission. He only flew about three missions before he was shot down. When he was on the Fritz blitz, he was a replacement waste gunner. Go ahead.

Bobby:

made three missions is remarkable because most people didn't make one.

Diane:

Isn't that great. Yeah. The other one was taught. It's taught something. I TAs destiny. Ooh. I must had some protein for lunch, TAs, destiny. And then he was on Fritz blitz. It's true. They were the horrible, you know, this was their last mission. They got shot down. They never made it. Right. So my dad, the mission that he flew, they put him on this plane. They did. He never, you know, he never met these guys and you're gonna keep each other safe. He ended up on the Fri list because a couple of guys they didn't think they were gonna fly a mission. So they'd gone out the night before and got drunk. So they got Fort Marshall, which in world war II meant you didn't get sent to the Bri. You just got sent to, they split you up and put you on a different plane. So they went, they went on other planes, but they removed them from the Fritz split. So there, my dad was flying. And that, and that morning when they briefed them, you know, before the guys felt very strongly, as you guys probably know, they, you know, no civilians, we're not, we don't believe in, you know, bombing civilians will.

Bobby:

so that was one thing that I had that I read about in, in looking up this, you know, black week and, and, you know, the destruction on, on monster there. So apparently the 95th group had a really prideful, you know, kind of piece that they said, we are not gonna do this. And then apparently that. It changed and orders came down

Diane:

it changed. And they threatened them. They, and that was the, they were bombing, you know, ball bearing plants and stuff hardcore. And they said, and the guys stood up and said, we're not doing this mission. They said, well, you we're gonna court marshal you and you will, you know, we'll throw you on those planes if we need to. So they were forced to do it. So they went and like I told my dad, he said, yeah, I didn't have a great feeling. And I said, did any of you ever have a great feeling on

Bento:

right.

Diane:

so then that's the day, you know, October 10th, 1943 is when he he got shot down. They went down in a, in a fiery spiral for sure. And, and the. Reporters from the other planes reported. They didn't think anybody was alive, but there was one K and the rest of them lived and were put in a were put in a camp.

Bobby:

And then so in, in terms of, of that mission did your father ever mention, you know, kind of ha his feeling towards those orders that had come down and kind of what they were about to go do?

Diane:

You know, I, he didn't love it. I mean, it, it was interesting cuz my dad, you know, it's an interesting dichotomy probably with humans. A lot of times is, you know, there is in war. Obviously, you know, fighter be killed oftentimes, but civilians, he felt very strongly, about them being safe. And then when he became a prisoner one of the things I talked about in the book is he did not hate Germans. He was very specific about the guards that he did not like it was, it was definitely a personal not like versus the Germans, because as he said, you know, those guards were forced to do what they were doing. And many of them were just as starving and hungry as he was, but there were some that were, you know, bad actors for sure. And that's how my dad, you know, I think he lost a lot of his front teeth got kicked in and some pretty ugly stuff.

Bobby:

Yeah. Which, which is probably normal for those, those settings. Unfortunately.

Diane:

Yeah. He, because he would, you know, pipe up and say some things and he never, I mean, he talk about a fighter and he spent time in solitary confinement and they had you know, they had a special. They would do tapping and stuff, and the guys would keep in touch with each other in solitary confinement. And then also kind of ALA Hogan's heroes that old show sta 17 B had a robust set of underground tunnels.

Bento:

Oh really?

Diane:

yeah, so those guys were trying to escape all the time and they were planning actively then radios, they smuggled in, they had other people that they would that would be, as I mentioned, the stalling 17 V was like a city. I mean, they had a library, they had all sorts of stuff, which by the way, my dad didn't really, he never told me that part. I knew about the tunnels. And so they would, buy stuff, black market from some folks who would be in there kind of double agent German people who would be there

Bobby:

Oh, yeah. Trying to, trying to make money on the side since they weren't getting paid enough to be in the service anyways.

Diane:

Yes. And so they built, they had radios and they knew what was happening in the news. They knew when the campaigns, you know, that there was a lot of propaganda, of course, you guys are losing. You're not, you know, and really trying to make it so that the guys would lose their spirit, but they knew differently that actually they had a big chance of, of winning the war. And of course they knew when it turned. Also cuz they heard for themselves, my dad heard Hitler on, you know, on the radio.

Bobby:

Wow.

Bento:

Hitler on the radio

Bobby:

I can only imagine what that was like, like

Bento:

the station.

Bobby:

I mean, so your, your father's sitting there in a prisoner of war camp, listening to Hitler on the radio. That must be so, so surreal.

Diane:

So surreal. And he talked about when he first got taken prisoner, he said one of the, his quotes is about how, you know, to see not your flag, but the Nazi flag flying. Which has a big impression on me. You know, whenever I see, you know, cars that are flying flags that remind me of the. Sedans. It really gives me that creepy feeling down my back that I think comes from my, my inherited DNA from my dad. That's like, oh, hell no, we cannot do this again.

Bento:

So you're never driven a Volkswagen

Diane:

have been a passenger. I'm gonna, I'm

Bobby:

Okay.

Bento:

right.

Diane:

a

Bento:

As long as you're not giving many money. It's okay.

Diane:

no money. Yeah. It was a brief dating experience. I really don't like talking about it.

Bento:

he pulls up, he pulls up into jetty, like, it's not gonna work.

Diane:

Yeah. You know, it was a hatchback, I just didn't see a future.

Bento:

it's even now it's even more cool to hate Volkswagen though. Cause that whole emissions thing. So, you know, it's we're we're it's back. It's back to cool. To hate VW again. So, you know, when he came into that camp, did he, what was his, what was his tale about, you know, about that camp? You know, like I said, we've, we've read some things about it and, uh, you know, it's, I'm sure I'm, it's just a small piece of what really happened there, but it's crazy to think some of the conditions that they were forced to live in.

Diane:

Yeah. I mean it's and his, you know, it, like I said, he didn't talk about the fact that, you know, I knew my dad, my dad incredible reader. He would read like a book a day. And so like, as I mentioned, they did have you know, uh, amenities like the library and you know, of course, obviously the kitchen and, and they had a area where they could play basketball and all that kind of stuff. He didn't talk about that though. He talked a lot about I knew that they'd put cans and these were sort of disjointed facts. Like there were cans on the fences that the Germans put, so they could hear, I mean, if you tried to escape and my, my dad did try to escape. I know at least one time, maybe two really fortunate. He didn't, I'm pretty sure one of them he did get shot at, but he didn't get hit. He got put in solitary confinement, but that's what they did with those cans is they wanted to hear them. And so I knew that I, I sort of had a little bit of a visual about the condition. They were always hungry. They were cold. My dad for the rest of his life. You couldn't stand to see any, any creature or person hungry, hit him really hard. Yeah, he played a lot. He talked about playing checkers. Then he had a really, interesting story about how, when they first, it would've been when they first were, I didn't know this at the time, but about when he was first taken prisoner it was in October. And so that first Christmas they were playing checkers, you know, there were just those times where they almost could feel like they, you was okay, maybe you

Bobby:

almost a little normal. Yeah. Uh,

Bento:

Yeah. Right.

Diane:

checkers, maybe get out of this, get a red cross package. And then all of a sudden, one of the, German guards just lost his, you know, Crap and started shooting up the the barracks. And so they just had to die for their lives. And I never learned, I don't think anybody did get killed. I think somebody got wounded, but I'm not really sure that's a story. I never prod him on, but he did tell the Christmas story. A lot. It was just one that just, I think it played over and over in his head when he was nightmares, he had nightmares.

Bento:

sure.

Bobby:

Oh, I'm sure. Yeah. In terms of his time there, did he, ever establish any type of, you know, friendships with other people from other other countries? Cause I know that stock 17 B was a pretty mixed nationality bag amongst the prisoners.

Diane:

Yeah. I just know about the the American ones. He actually, this gentleman named red Dylan was my dad's bunk mate. He was in barracks 34, B lot of B 17, B 34 B B not his lucky letter though. evidently. And so he was his bunk mate and he stayed in touch with him forever. And I'm actually in touch with his son Paul and who established a museum for actually all especially missing in action veterans and all that. So he really carries the legacy pretty cool. But I just know about some of those gentlemen, Eldon Broman. Was the pilot. He eventually landed at 17 B man. He came so close to getting out and then he got ratted out the last minute he was with the French underground and almost got out. And then you know, there was no money. So people, if they turned over information, then they could get things for it. So, Eldon ended up at 17 B also. So several of them from his crew, they, they ended up there the same camp, but yeah, not other people from other countries. I, he didn't really talk about that.

Bobby:

Right. In, in terms of the, you know, the 95th bond group and, and kind of speaking about, you know, the other guys that he served with, have you ever been able to contact any of those guys? Are there any left alive still?

Diane:

I know. I'm definitely in touch with them. In fact, they were definitely one of the, I said definitely too many times. Let's go. Definitely one of the, are you sure? Diane? Definitely. They definitely sure. they are very active and very active group is. To, you know, tag that legacy over to the grant to what would now be the great grandchildren really, cuz I'm a daughter, but I'm at, like I said, I'm young for the, you know, my dad would be, you know, over a hundred of course. And so they're very active and they were you know, the most decorated of course during the war. And so I have been in touch with them and the people who run that organization, they are so incredibly generous with information and ways for you to find things out. If you haven't already tapped into the mini resources, you know, you love that. You can do a lot of online things without without a pay wall. but, but boy, you really get, you know, great fast. My dad's name wasn't that unusual. So that was really challenging

Bobby:

Yeah. And you know what, it's funny too. when we were doing the research before the show, I was also equally surprised. I was like, oh my God, Frank Dean, that's him, 95th. I was like, you know, and I was surprised how easy it was, but I agree with you. It is outstanding. How much, information about world war II and form of service members are readily available right online between the national world war II museum and, and the unit websites. Like it's fantastic.

Diane:

it's incredible. And I just, I just felt, you know, the more I went through this, I mean, I know it sounds so trite, but I felt honored. It's not just my dad being a world war II veteran, but it's truly, it's all veterans. I mean, I just feel super strongly about that and about what that really means to a family, both the pride I have, that my dad served, but also what it kind of the family, what it does to you is you move forward also. I mean, I, I think that has such an impact and it's really up to us. I mean, we, we gotta remember, you know, cuz there's that voice of reason thing that you know, I didn't end up going into the military. But I definitely feel like a military kid because it was up close and personal every day. And so I'm not dismiss. Of things. One of the reasons why I love John Stewart and what he is doing for veterans also, I just

Bobby:

He just got that burn pit one through finally, too.

Diane:

know, and I just, you know, it's just a huge thing that when you feel this I knew I had to tell the story, but it was more than that was like, well, we all need to tell our stories because his would be lost in time as are so many. And so many of them, we can't get them because the guys didn't talk about.

Bento:

Right, right.

Bobby:

Did it take, did it take time for your father to become more comfortable with having those conversations? Did it, did it take a period of time or was he fairly open from the get go?

Diane:

Pretty much from when I was a little girl, I joke in my, in my book that I was, I had a rare, childhood because I was probably a toddler when I learned, uh, if you wanna avoid, an aircraft STR you, you need to run in a zigzag line. I mean, I had a really unusual, upbringing that he would tell me things, not, not gory things like he wouldn't, you know, tell me, and then, you know, and then they shot his head off. You know, he didn't really do that, but he did from a very early time. He just would tell me things. And it became, you know, a catalog of items. Certainly some of them, I heard more than others. And he would get this pain. I mean the, of course this incredible pained look and often it would be when we talked about walking by the death camp to see that what had been happening while you were in prison, you'd heard about it.

Bobby:

Right.

Diane:

to, like he said, yeah. And like what he would say, if people could smell war, maybe we wouldn't have them.

Bobby:

I'll tell you if my, when I was in Afghanistan, I was 200 feet from the burn pit and that smelled there's nothing, something I'll never forget.

Diane:

oh my God. Rob, how awful. So very much something that, I

Bobby:

I can only imagine. I can only imagine how the, you know, I know from the time I was in looking back to world war II, and even in my time, the standards were far different when, you know, your father's time when he served, I mean, shit, those guys didn't even get body armor. Like it's insane. And so, yeah, I I'm, I'm always fascinated by the, the older generations of veterans stories, you know, just because they, they had it so differently than we ever will.

Diane:

I know. And it's such a trip when I look at the Fri place. They're, we're fortunate cuz there are pictures of them. One of 'em. My favorite is there's a picture where you can see the left waist gun or you can almost make out that there's a guy in the window

Bobby:

Oh, really?

Diane:

me pills. Cause it's my bad.

Bento:

well,

Bobby:

Right.

Diane:

he would tell me, he said, you know, we, we didn't have all the, you know, he said, everybody talks about computers and how that's. So you know, this is back in the eighties that like it's a new thing. And he said, but we had computerized guns. He said, that's why the Ms would always they'd get stuck and he'd go. Cause they would stick, you know, cuz they were computerized,

Bobby:

right.

Diane:

had a very colorful way of speaking peppered with the F word a lot.

Bobby:

That's common for the

Bento:

yeah. Right.

Bobby:

pass, you know,

Bento:

F word witted sounds like my kind of guy.

Bobby:

that's what, that's. I was one of my favorite military expressions of all time is, you know, is the old saying like, you know, you curse like a sailor, right? Well, the Navy saying is if, if it's good enough for sailors, it's good enough for.

Bento:

So tell us a little bit about, your dad when you know, he left the camp and, and came back. What was civilian life like? Cause it's always another fascinating piece of, of the story, especially guys, like, you know, world war, I, world war II you know, what was it like coming back, you know? And, and.

Diane:

No counseling. And I'll tell you what, you didn't offer it to them. That's for sure. When he came back needless say he was, he was ill. He was very underweight. He was pretty, I always thought my dad was really tall, but he was only five nine. So he was super thin when he, got state side he actually had leukemia because you can get super, super sick when you've been in, you know, pretty dire,

Bento:

Oh, wow.

Diane:

So he spent some time in the hospital and he, and he kicked that. And then he went into didn't talk about, you know, his experiences and certainly not the details, but he, immediately he was with OSI. So he was, he worked undercover and then flew a lot of secret missions for quite some time until I was actually a baby. He was still flying missions on the weekends to the orient and to Vietnam.

Bobby:

Oh, wow. Just reconnaissance missions and things like that. That's great. Wow. Good for him. So you never stop flying even after the, even after the war.

Diane:

No, not until his eyesight was affected. He and then that was back when that was like,

Bobby:

They retire you. Yeah. They say, sorry, wings clipped.

Diane:

roll my eyes now? But yeah, that was it. You know, I talk about that in the book too, that, you know, there was not ever a time. My dad, man, when he would see a military aircraft overhead, he would stop and look and the longing, you know, cuz it was a passion. I mean he just frigging loved it. And yeah, so he came back and he did a little, military stuff and then he definitely he left and then, law enforcement became his career.

Bobby:

Oh, terrific. Yeah. Very, very common transition there. And, and Ben, you bring up a good point too, about the, the, you know, when you get back the transition to civilian life I wonder, you know, the difference, you know, then versus now, you know, a lot of times guys get outta the military now, right? It's one person you're going back to your small town, wherever it may be in America. And you're a little bit more isolated. And I wonder, you know, when your, when your father was coming back, did he come back with a ton of other guys that, that he had known or that he was, prisoners with or anything like that? Like, did he have some sort of connections to, to kind of keep at

Diane:

I know, isn't that interesting. What I found out, what I'm gathering, you know, while I said he, he did keep in touch with the guys, you know, some of the guys, they, in my dad's case, he came back and he pretty much lone wolfed. He came back, he came back to you know, he went through, you know, Washington, DC and did whatever he did over there. And that's still murky. He said, you're never gonna find records on me. Military

Bobby:

Oh, yeah.

Diane:

God damn it he's right. I swear to God couldn't find anything. It was like they expunged those suckers. So he came back and

Bobby:

I looked, I looked in my, D D stuff and I couldn't find anything on.

Diane:

no, and then there was a, I do this, I hate air quotes. I'm doing air quotes listeners. There was a fire that occurred at the par personnel place that destroyed a bunch of records and I'm like, Hmm. Okay. Yeah, that's pretty convenient, but, okay. But anyway, so he did come back. Lone Wolff did, you know, ended up coming back to Stockton, California. He grew up in a place in California called SA very beautiful, but he ended up in Stockton where he got into law enforcement. Like he said, all the beautiful places I've been ended up in this flat.

Bobby:

Right. At all, places money.

Diane:

It's a great place to grow things. It's agriculturally robust

Bobby:

Oh.

Diane:

but he ended up meeting my mom. Who was much younger. And then he, he built a life for himself there. And Keith, you know, he did talk to others, but there's a lot that he didn't even know what happened. Like when they got blown out of the plane and they. Roy Reitmeyer was his best friend. He was killed. He was a young man who was killed and the pilot, this kind of stuff, man, I get choked up when I started researching this, the pilot, you know, no man left behind with the air force either. Roy likely there was a fire and he came from the top tour and he felt crappy. And so he just passed out behind the pilot and then the smoke began. And so he was as fixated. We're still not sure. I mean, you know, did he, when did the death occur? But at that point they thought he was dead Eldon big man. He just muscled boy into a frigging you know, parachute artists, cuz they didn't fly with them a lot of times cuz they couldn't fit into their cramped little shitty circumstances. So they didn't have this step on. So they had, and these you guys do, you know what they look like? They're like straight jackets. Eldon muscled Roy in, and then, you know, Hefta him out of the plane and, you know, kind of, you know, consigned him to, I hope he can make it. My dad didn't even know that Eldon had gotten Roy out, regardless of what happened after that. And in a years later in the 95th bond group, when they met for one of their last get togethers, my dad tearfully, thanked Eldon for getting Roy out.

Bento:

Oh, wow.

Diane:

Isn't that

Bobby:

only imagine that. And, and so, and so I'm sure you're, you know, like you said, that, that in those moments of chaos, you know, what really happens is probably pretty fuzzy for everybody. And I can imagine it's happening so fast. Right. But so from what I know of that mission, that many of these planes from the 95th were taken down actually on their return route.

Diane:

Mm-hmm

Bobby:

Do you know if that's correct or not for him.

Diane:

Yeah. He hit, they hit their target.

Bobby:

And then he was one of the ones. Cause yeah, cause they Gott on their way in, but they said, I read like half of them made it and then they, they dropped target and were successful in hitting the target. But then on the way back, they were Ambu essentially by Lu Lafa and that's where pretty much the rest of them went down.

Diane:

Yeah. And they were really successful at nailing the guys. And, but, but so many of them Sur, I mean, I know a lot died, but it was amazing how, what they came out of these. I mean, they got blown. My dad said, you know, I, I put my parachute on it. He essentially was blown out of the plane.

Bobby:

Yeah. Cause it's essentially, you're just in a giant fireball. Those things were not made like they're made today. Those planes, the moment a bullet hit the wrong place, they just erupted into a big ball flames.

Diane:

They're trippy. I actually toured one in later years. And boy that really made like, you know, things go up and down my spine. I was like, oh my God. And it's weird how long those are and how loud you guys, when they're not on fire.

Bobby:

Yeah. right,

Diane:

I mean it's so you can't even, so I can only imagine, you

Bobby:

When there's a big hole on the side of the plane, it probably is a lot

Diane:

yeah, and those guys, I don't even know who these guys are. Right. Including my dad, they were racing to the cockpit to try to save the guys in the front because the fire and they could, it was that wall of fire. Who does that? You know, I mean, these are, you guys are amazing. I, I look at, you know, ordinary people doing extraordinary things and, and that's what they did. Most of us would go I'll tell everybody, you know how this went I'm

Bento:

right?

Diane:

They didn't, they ran right to it, but they couldn't get there. And then they got blown out. Fortunately they had their packs on. Yeah. Isn't that trippy.

Bobby:

Lucky. They lucky they were smart enough to put their packs on first.

Diane:

Oh my God. Yeah. And he said, I mean, I can only imagine shaking and you know, it just, how do they do it? I dunno. And my dad said, yeah, it was an unpleasant trip down. He said, you know, definitely the male parts were not the same for quite some time.

Bobby:

Yeah. In, in terms of, in terms of that, that kind of jump down. I, I mean, I know, you know, I've done, I've done my own fair share of, uh, you know, jumping out of planes. And I understand too, like in those moments, you know, you're there for a minute and a half or something like that as you're dropping down through the air and I'm sure in your father's case, there were rounds of live am ammunition kind of all around him. Has he ever spoken about that actual fall?

Diane:

Yeah, he did. And actually my dad tell till he died, he, he had a lot of shrapnel in his body because they, they actually kept it in there. And then sometimes doctors, you know, we'd get him somewhere and they go, did you know that he has shrapnel? We go, we're aware, don't touch it.

Bobby:

Yeah. Right.

Diane:

Yeah. We're aware. Leave it alone. So, yeah. And then he said it is that thing where, you know, time stands still and it's just an experience. It it's even hard for him to describe That, you know, you don't know where you're gonna land. Some guys landed in trees, he hit the ground. It was brutal. And then and then the gustapo and first the civilians were waiting for him and beat the shit out of him.

Bobby:

this. So as soon as he land, they were already on top of him.

Diane:

they were on top of him. Yeah. They were pretty grumpy that they had been getting taken

Bento:

Shell. Yeah. Right,

Bobby:

They were getting shell

Diane:

So they were

Bobby:

months and months and

Diane:

and

Bobby:

meanwhile, the journey, meanwhile, the Nazis are, you know, propaganda, the crap out of him. Like, yeah.

Diane:

unbelievable. Yeah. Yeah. And then the, and then came the gustapo got my dad. And so then he said, he'd just been to the PX and he had his whole, uh, flight suit was full of cigarettes

Bobby:

no.

Diane:

then he said, God damn it. And I lost all of it.

Bento:

oh, they must have loved that.

Bobby:

those Germans took all those cigarettes.

Diane:

they thought it was, it was like, it was, it was winning the lottery. Look at they've

Bobby:

It was Christmas for them. Yeah,

Bento:

Right. Yeah.

Bobby:

They especially American

Bento:

Good

Bobby:

man. They're a lot stronger. Yeah.

Bento:

Yeah.

Bobby:

man. That's crazy. So, so in terms of, you know, kind of what's, they all got down there do you have any idea that, you know, kind of the rough number of people from that mission that were captured?

Diane:

I don't know that number. I know it's I know it's readily available. It's amazing the numbers that I have looked up and that I should have in my cute little head. And I do not.

Bobby:

no, I, I mean, there's just something I was thinking about. Cause like I said, I know it was multiple, you know, it was the 95th, but there were a couple other units there as well. And you know, everybody pretty much lost more than 50 plane, 50% of their planes. And so I know that like, you know, in, in grand total, I mean we're talking a couple hundred men at least.

Diane:

Isn't that crazy? Well, one of the things, I mean, I haven't, I'm looking at my book. I'm not gonna lie. I'm looking at my own book, but when you look at like salt lake 17 B, it was built for like about 240 men, 4,000.

Bobby:

Yeah, that's insane.

Diane:

I mean, it's just crazy, you know, but they, but they, you know, definitely.

Bobby:

That's why I read too, that it was like five people to a single cell. At one point,

Diane:

yeah, yeah, it's great. But they really did pull together. I mean, they really, you know, they were looking out for each other. They were gonna get out of, he said, though, my dad said, but you didn't stay super optimistic. Cuz he said it was always the optimistic ones that didn't make it.

Bento:

Right. Yeah.

Diane:

Isn't that terrible. So my dad was just super big painless. He's like I may make it. I may not

Bento:

that's even CRA that's crazy to think about too. Like you, you said your dad, his biggest, you know, his biggest event in that whole war is walking by that camp. And he just left the camp. He was in for, you know, a long time under terrible conditions. And then for him to walk by the concentration camp and see that people are being treated

Bobby:

feel worse.

Bento:

even worse than, than what they did. It's, it's, it's sombering for him. To be treated like that and then see such a worse condition. You know what I mean? Like it's, you know, it's an amazing story, but for, for a person to go through that, it's, it's, it's pretty intense.

Diane:

well, and it was weird. Yeah. And that they, they did feel empathy. I mean, they really, for other people and you know, my dad, I mean, they stood him out in the, you know, in the snow, he was naked and all that, you know, crap that you guys hear about. And he would tell me when I was younger I had really dark, I have really dark hair and I, I was very fair-skinned and my dad would look at me sometimes he'd go, you look like the Jewish girls that I saw at the camp. And, you know, you can, you know, at the, I know at the time he was the father of I have a much older half brother from a, you know, different, it's not my mom and stuff. And I, I don't really see him, but that I have a much older. So he was a dad and I, it real, I don't, I don't know that that necessarily was all that was playing of course, but. He was such a guy who wanted to protect people. And so it just, and he'd get that look and, and he would cry. My dad still he expressed emotion. He was not shut down. Like when he told these stories and talked about stuff, he definitely had emotion, but then when the story was over, it went back in the trunk and he shut the lid. And, and that was it, man. There was not Q and a afterwards.

Bento:

Yeah. Right, right.

Bobby:

funny you say that too. Cause I, I know my I myself, I know a lot of veterans who that is kind of the, the MOS opera. It's easier to try and push those things out and forget about all terrible terribleness you've seen.

Diane:

Yeah. I mean you just, we, well, first of all, we don't get it. I mean, I, I didn't get, he was sharing the fact that he was even able to share it with me. I had no concept, like we haven't had this experience. So how do you even get it when you're talking to people? We say, oh, we really feel for you and thank you for your service. And you're. Can I cuss on your podcast right away.

Bobby:

Yeah. Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah,

Diane:

and, and you're like, fuck you, you haven't even had my experience. I mean, thank you for your service. You're welcome.

Bento:

Right,

Bobby:

yeah, no, it's true. War's one of those things you can't describe to people it's indescribable.

Diane:

no, unless you talk to somebody else who's been through it. And so that's why I think I had a unique experience also is because being a female who was not, you know, my dad really wanted me to go into the air force and I told him, no, no, thank you. a hard pass. Yeah, I'd like to go my own way really. And and not

Bento:

your older half brother. Did he go to the of service?

Diane:

He did. And he

Bento:

Uh, I knew it

Diane:

was in Vietnam,

Bento:

Oh really? Wow.

Diane:

and he flew the door on the chopper. So what

Bento:

my God.

Diane:

blew the door? Mm-hmm and he lived

Bento:

Wow.

Diane:

he lived, he pretty, pretty, uh,

Bento:

Talk about a family of guys with big Caho man. Like the stuff that they did, this

Bobby:

and some horseshoe up their asses. Jesus.

Diane:

know. And what did I went in? I went into teaching, so I guess I did my own service, but it

Bobby:

Yeah. There you go. Yeah.

Diane:

had a door

Bobby:

Oh my God. That's crazy.

Diane:

yeah. He, yeah, it was pretty and, and he really did see some, I don't know the exact campaigns that, and he was a Frank, he was a Frank Dean Jr. I don't know what the campaigns Frankie saw, but it was bad. It was really bad. He had quite, and he was a military policeman too. So he was I think he was guarding the DMZ and all that. I mean, he, I didn't have stories from him, but I know it was intense. Yeah. So anyway, that's a sidebar, but yes,

Bobby:

one of the, one of the worst

Diane:

Mm-hmm

Bobby:

brutal battles ever

Diane:

oh, oh,

Bobby:

Unbelievable. And that's the thing too, like you think about all of these things and just how catastrophic they are and it it's astounding that that's not enough to be detrimental for others. It's going forward.

Diane:

Well in your family. I mean, I know this sounds so weird, but this impacted our family. Like even, you know, it's complicated when you have someone who you know, they're a veteran and it's like, well, yeah, they served and they came back and, you know, some people get counseling and they move on, but it's like, yeah, but it changes the whole trajectory of everything from this moment forward.

Bobby:

Oh, yeah.

Diane:

you know, and

Bobby:

I'm certainly not the same person I was before I went to war that's for sure.

Diane:

my dad, even the way he looks in pictures, I see him in the national guard photo when he is a little guy, you know, young guy, and then later never looked the same. Just, there's just a thing. There's just a thing in your eyes or something. And and it, it helped to gain understanding and passion for my dad who was a very complicated man. Very,

Bobby:

I can only

Bento:

And it takes time, especially if you're a kid to realize the severity of what they went through, you know, like kinda like you just said, like when your kid is like, oh, you know, they went to war, they came back, they're fine. You know, like, it's not until you mature as a, as an adult. So you realize how intense these situations could have been for these people, you know? So you kind of get a whole new appreciation for it. Especially someone like myself, like I don't have anybody military base in my family, you know, my, my family's from Portugal. They did the conquering long before the United States was around. So I don't have any ancestry when it

Bobby:

Theta doors.

Bento:

Yeah. so it's so it's even, you know, it's even more special to hear stories cuz you know, I don't have any direct lineage to.

Diane:

Yeah. It's uh, and I, you know, and I knew, I felt, you know, I heard the ticking clock my whole life. And like I said, I've always been a writer, but the interesting thing was trying to find that voice. And then I thought, well, it's my dad and I, this combined voice, oddly enough, the book that I ended up writing, you know, there is humor in it because, you know, that's one of my coping mechanisms and it certainly was my dad's. Is that a lot of times the more stressed out I get the more funnier, well, maybe that I think I am

Bobby:

Yeah.

Diane:

maybe other people.

Bobby:

It is certainly a very unique way to tell a very. Disturbing story in a sense though. I mean, you know, I mean, we, we go through it all the time, you know, even on this show, we have tons of people on and they tell us, you know, Hey, look out for this coming down the pike and you know, you know, it's gonna ruin the world and you have four of those shows in a row and it's like, Jesus Christ. Like we're, you know, we're going to hell in a hand basket here. Uh, and so, so we find ourselves, we find ourselves to make joke of these things that are not really joke worthy, but it it's simply because there's no other way to look at it. Right. Cause it's just so horrific and terrible.

Diane:

Yeah, well, and that is the optimism. I mean, at the very base of it, you know, oddly enough, my father ended up producing a daughter. I'm the only child of my, of my parents. And I'm this crazy, I mean, I've had a lot of experiences in my, in my own life and I'm oddly optimistic through legacy. I always get that feeling of, Hey, maybe generationally. We're gonna get smarter, you know, as baby boomers didn't necessarily nail it. You know,

Bento:

Yeah. You're and you're continuing on the downward trend as

Bobby:

Yep.

Diane:

I know I I'm now suffering. I'm still suffering from that thing where someone goes, okay, boomer. And I'm like, how the fuck happened to me? That I'm like, okay, boomer me. I'm like, eh, but

Bento:

thinking about that after I saw, after, you know, we booked the show and I said, You know, you talk about your father. And I was thinking about the generation of people that are just aren't around anymore. I said, God, what would they think today if they saw these idiots flying these Nazi flags and spray paint swats, cuz like everything you fought for is just going backwards. You know what I mean? Like that's what you hope for. You hope that, you know, we talk about making jokes outta these situations, but in the end you hope that people just learn from it at least and move forward and don't let it happen again. And it's like, there's always a little bit of backwards, you know, a little bit, a little bit of two steps back when you're trying to make progress sometimes. And I feel like we're kind of in that mode right

Bobby:

How, how many atrocities do we possibly need for Jesus Christ?

Diane:

I know to learn it well. And I think that's why, you know, that grassroots efforts, I'm a big believer in it's the people that will bring about the, the sanity and the common sense. And it's why people like me. I mean, I'm just a regular girl, you know, living in Northern California, I'm a pretty, you know, lower echelon. You know, I'm a writer that, you know, I'm not famous. I, I, you know, I don't have my, uh, you know, I, I'm not a

Bento:

That Steven King status

Bobby:

no New York time. Best seller yet. It seems like everybody gets those nowadays.

Diane:

I know I'm not an influencer, you know, only to my

Bento:

influencer.

Diane:

occasionally. I mean, but, but I do use my voice, like I have with even teaching and with other things that I do, you know, I've worked in the media and all that. And I, I'm not quiet about that because it's a, it's an experience that I have that is extremely unique to be the daughter of a world, Wari, Nazi, Germany, P O w is not something a lot of people, you know, are able to even say, because we're old now, you know? And so I need to

Bento:

and you do carry on your father's legacy in a way, anyways, you know, even though you didn't go into the service, like you're exercising your freedom of speech, you're writing your stories. So, you know, in, in the long scheme of things, it's it worked, you know, what, whatever your father did.

Diane:

Well, and I appreciate you guys because the interest, you know, what's really great is that other generations that are not mine are very interested in preserving history. You want, you want these stories? And I see also, you know, teenagers and they, they like our music too. What happened?

Bobby:

I

Diane:

And I don't know what happened. We hated our

Bento:

No, you know what happened? New music sucks.

Diane:

Yeah, it can.

Bento:

I know sometimes I sound like an old man. When I say this, you know, I'm 41 years old, but new music sucks. Like I see tons. I see tons of kids growing up, listening to music that I listen to. And it's awesome.

Diane:

Yeah. Well, it is. And it, and it connects, so it's like, it's nice because with that interest, it's not like I'm trying to sell you on. You really need to listen to me. Whipper snapper. It's like, like, you're going, well, you know what, Mimi I'm, I'm in. Tell me your story and I'm gonna, I'm gonna give a whirl. And, and, you know, to the point of like, you know, Rob, you're connecting from your own experiences and Joe, you're connecting from obviously being someone who, you know, a good story with these solid, you know, bones of like, why we need to be, you know, how, how do we get woke while it's, you know, look back and then look at where we are and then where we headed?

Bento:

Right,

Bobby:

right. It is. It is funny though. It is funny cuz it always, you know, it always does seem to take that extra, that extra terribleness to push it over the line. And, and so again, I, I am thankful for, for you for taking the time to write that book though and preserve that story. I, I certainly, you know, like we were saying earlier, stories are very, very soon lost to history. And so I really do believe we need to preserve every single one that we can, uh, because there's always something there's always something to, to be learned from those stories.

Bento:

For

Diane:

and re and remember, just so the audience knows there's a lot of pictures. I just want you to know there's a lot of pictures in the book. and also I did one of the things that I discovered was a missing airman report. It took 75 years for that thing to declassify. And so I discovered I actually read my dad's account of what happened when they blew out of the plane.

Bento:

Oh, wow.

Bobby:

Wow.

Diane:

that's, that's in the book also. So I got out of it way more than I, I would just by making, setting it into motion and then I did get it. I published it indie I indie published now at a

Bobby:

Yeah, you must, you must have learned so much about your father as a, as a, as a human, like as a, as a, uh, you know, not only a soldier or an airman. Uh, but just as, like I said, as a human, I mean, it must be unbelievable to see your father in that light.

Diane:

Yeah for him to be so young. Cuz when I was born, he was 40. And so, you know, there he was, you know, 24 year old guy and I think that, but it made me see all of them, you know, not just my dad, but I see all of them and I really not to get to a fair on you all. Woo. But I also feel that there are these inherited sort of memories and things also that started to make sense to me as far as why I feel so strongly and have this dejavu about many things that I haven't experienced. And I, I really do attribute it to the legacy. Also the genetic legacy, you know, of, of what has come down. So I felt really honored to, you know, be able to tell the story in a way that might be marginally interesting to people. But definitely, you know, remembering is something that for me, it's not for my dad, it was, but he still did it. He still did.

Bento:

Yeah. Awesome. So,

Bobby:

you got that out for sure.

Bento:

yeah. So what's next, Diane, and, uh, you know, tell us what you got going on and where we can find your book and, and what what's coming up.

Diane:

Thank you so much, man. I'm gonna hire Joe and Rob to be my PR

Bobby:

absolutely. We, we always love to give our guests, you, this is your opportunity. Five minutes. Get all the plugs you want out. There's we're.

Diane:

ladies and gentlemen remember is available on Amazon. It's called remember a father-daughter world war II. Starlog 17 B pow story about never giving up. You guys don't wanna give up, please, please, please. Don't give up if you hear this, if you're a veteran, if you need. Would you please reach out. You can reach out to these guys. Please reach out to any of the online numbers. Veterans should never feel like you're alone. You're not, we love you so much. What's next for me? I'm starting a new gig. I'm going back to media. God helped the world now. I'm going back to media media gig, uh, next week where I do a bunch of, uh, work with some newspapers online. So if you Google my name, Diane DEP. As I said, some things I'll be proud of some, I won't please feel free to reach out on my website. You'll see it. If you would like to connect just, don't be weird.

Bobby:

yeah. Perfect. I love that. Yeah, don't be

Bento:

Don't be weird. Diane. You've been a fantastic guest. Uh, we had a good time, you know, I know we had talked about the humor thing and the messages before the show, but it's, uh, definitely exceeded our expectations. So this has been a lot of fun. And, uh, we also got to learn a lot too, so can't beat that.

Diane:

thank you guys. You're wonderful. Keep in touch.

Bobby:

Absolutely. We will. We will.

Diane:

guys take care. Luck. See

Bento:

care, Diane.

Bobby:

Good to

Diane:

Bye.