Arold Harry Diekhoff was born in Wessington, South Dakota, on October 22, 1915, son of George and Hazel (Shaw) Diekhoff. He graduated from Sand Creek Consolidated High School, Wessington and in 1937 received the degree of Bachelor of Science from Huron (South Dakota) College. He enlisted in the US Naval Reserve on July 5, 1937 and had elimination flight training at the Naval Reserve Aviation Base, Minneapolis, Minnesota. In September 1937 he was appointed an Aviation Cadet, USNR, and had flight training at the Naval Air Stations, Pensacola, Florida. Commissioned Ensign and designated Naval Aviator on October 1, 1938, he subsequently advanced in rank, attaining that of Captain, to date from July 1, 1957, having transferred to the Regular Navy on November 1, 1946.
After receiving his “Wings” in 1938, he was assigned to Observation Squadron Four, based on USS Maryland for two years duty and in November 1940 was detached to serve as a Flight Instructor and a training squadron commander at the Naval Air Station, Minneapolis, Minnesota. He remained there until November 1943, after which he had refresher training at the Naval Air Stations, Lake City and Boca Chica, Florida. In April 1944 he joined Patrol Bombing Squadron ONE HUNDRED THIRTY as Executive Officer and in December of that year assumed command of Combat Aircraft Service Unit (F) SIXTY-TWO. “For meritorious service (in that command) …in action against enemy Japanese forces in the Philippines from December 4, 1944 to April 1, 1945…” he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal with Combat “V.” The citation further states in part:
“Despite the frequency of enemy air attacks and the lack of materials, (he) preserved an enviable record for maintaining his planes in flying condition and, by his unusually efficient handling of his organization, contributed immeasurably to the success of the operations of our forces in this area…”
He was Executive Officer at the Naval Air Station, Edenton, North Carolina, from September 1945 until September 1946, after which he had duty as an Administrative Assistant in the Bureau of Aeronautics, Navy Department, Washington, DC. In July 1947 he reported for instruction at the General Line School, Newport, Rhode Island, and in July 1948 assumed command of Patrol Squadron FIVE. He became Deputy Director of Operations at Headquarters Continental Division, Military Air Transport Service in April 1950 and in September 1952 was assigned as Executive Officer of the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps Unit at the University of Mississippi at New Oxford.
In September 1954 he reported as Executive Officer of USS Currituck and in March 1956 was detached for instruction in special weapons at Norfolk, Virginia. Completing the course in June of that year he reported as Staff Officer in the Plans Division at Headquarters of the Commander in Chief Allied Forces Mediterranean and in February 1958 became Chief of the Training Division at Headquarters Military Air Transport Service, Scott Air Force Base, Illinois.
In addition to the Bronze Star Medal with Combat “V,” Captain Diekhoff has the American Defense Service Medal; American Campaign Medal; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with star; World War II Victory Medal; the National Defense Service Medal and the Philippine Liberation Ribbon.
He died August 8, 1983.