Ever since I was
introduced to the Internet, which quickly resulted in my obtaining my
own website--seven years or so now--it has been my intention to gather
information on the legendary "Lou" Diamond, the master mortarman of the
Marine Corps. This has not been a easy task. No book has been written
on him, and this seems strange considering the legendary
character of this Marine. Many authors have all too
briefly mentioned him in their writings, and many authors do indeed
him, but information is rather sketchy.
There is a good biography on
him from the Marine Corps Historical Center that I obtained back in
1997 and posted to my webpages, and that has now become widely
circulated. But that is limited to officially recorded data, newspaper
clippings, etc. Ideally, I would like to have first person testimonies
from those who were there and who served with and knew Lou Diamond.
I have therefore made it a point to make it known via my webpages,
e-mail, etc., that I would like to contact old-time Marines themselves
with first hand knowledge of M/GySgt Leland Diamond, USMC. There too I
have met with very limited success.
Those I have heard from have been mostly WW II Marines who had gone
through boot camp at Parris Island when Diamond was an instructor there
in the last
year of the war, e,g., see Tom Dowlearn's Story, on Gunny G's... Of
course, most of these had a "recruit-to-god" relationship, and a brief
one at that; therefore their remembrances of him were as might be
expected. Many of these, and others too, had a less than sterling view of this
Marine, and some expressing such opinions of him requested they not be
named or quoted in anything I might write concerning Diamond.
And, I have received some information on him via those who knew of him,
or knew others who knew him, and this information I have retained and
selectively posted to my sites in one form or another.
More than one of my correspondents who had crossed paths with Diamond
that he had been the victim of his ire resulting in a non-gentle "kick
ass." Among the few questions regarding Diamond that I have received as
a result of my webpages on him, is the foremost question as to why he
was allowed to wear a goatee. This I cannot answer, I assume it
was not permitted by Marine Corps regulations at that time, and I
factual responses from viewers on this, and other information as well.
As can be seen from the few first-hand accounts on this webpage,
personal opinions on Diamond vary somewhat from one Marine to another.
Lou Diamond was a product of the Old Corps, and he was one of the
"Old Breed" of the 1st Marine Division in the early days of the road
back in the Pacific. Few Marines became a legend as did Lou Diamond.
It has been a long time in coming, but recently, I did meet a WW II
Marine who both knew and served with Lou Diamond. That Marine is
of the American Legion,
Post #69 in Avon Park, Florida. Fred
was a Pfc in the same battalion as Lou, at New River, N.C. in 1941, and
at Guadalcanal in 1942, and Australia, etc. Lou Diamond was the mortar chief of H-2-5, and
Fred was a mortarman in G-2-5.
Fred says that, in those days, the mortars (60mm and 81mm) were
frequently employed together with the mortars from several, or all,
companies within the battalion, under one command; thus, Fred was often
in contact with Diamond on a daily basis, both in training and combat.
Fred was present during the ocassion from which the legend arose
regarding Diamond having lobbed a mortar down the smokestack of a
Japanese ship off Guadalcanal.
Fred proudly told me he regarded Lou Diamond as one of the real heroes
Corps. And his bond with the man stemmed from the mutual high regard
Diamond had for his men, and, likewise, the men for their leader.
Loyalty works up, down, and laterally, as I have quoted Chesty Puller
having pointed out. Fred recalls Diamond returning to Australia,
falling out for the parade wearing his dungarees to receive his award
from the General. Diamond was told, Fred says, that the Marine Corps
wished Diamond to return to the U.S. to train new Marines, where his
extensive experience and knowledge was needed most.
I mentioned to Fred, that back during my own days in the Corps
(1952-72) I had heard of Diamond raising chickens behind his quarters
at Quantico--just one of the numerous stories about the man in my boot
days in the Corps. Fred responded that Diamond loved animals, and
always had them around.
Above all, Fred emphasized that Diamond always "took care of his men." And that he was only hard on those Marines who needed it.
He also mentioned that he thought that Diamond had a hand in the
designing of the new (new in 1942) Marine HBT dungarees (utilty uniform
to today's Marines). Between the world wars, Diamond had been assigned
duties in Philadelphia on a project to design a new pack/782 gear; but
I had not heard this one regarding his involvement w/the dungaree
My thanks to Fred Hyden for his input
regarding Lou Diamond
this from Marine Raider C.L.
I was on Tulagi in August '42
where Lou Diamond attempted to sink a Jap sub with his 81mm mortar. The
tube was setup and range estimated mortar drops in and does not clear
the top of tube. Crew checks for obstacle and dumps out Lou's
Stach of beer in cans.
Crew setup again and the mortar
shell makes a high trac missing sub on right side about ten feet. The
sub was rising to the surface when first mortar round misses, then
before another round is firedthe sub is descending. The second round
hits sub amid shiponly there is about 20 feet of water above ship.
The second round hits sub amid
ship only there is
about 20 feet of water above
ship. No smokestack, not Guadalcanal. I would ask what month that story
was suppose to have taken place.
There was an incident that Edson told at one our "Smoker Party." Edson
told about a shavetail Lt. that bitched because Diamond had
failed to salut, Edson remarked, hell he doesn't salute me.
Noring (1st Raider Bn)
And this one from Gunner Arthur
I too was in boot camp in mid-1945
and heard the Lou Diamond story
about the boot who blew his brains through the tent top. In fact, when
on guard duty for our Bn. late in my time at PI (which incidentally was
only 8 weeks then, to get us out for the fun in Japan to come) I had
the ocassion to have the old tiger confront me while walking my post.
All I can remember was seeing all those stripes and hash marks and
being scared out of my mind. I reported my post and he went on his way.
Also, in your story about the boot
shooting himself, it says it was
with an '03. I seriously doubt that, since all we were issued then were
the equally great M1s.
here's a story
sent to me in November of 2001...
I am a former
enlisted Marine - a Field Radio Operator in the Infantry
and Gulf war vet. (I am giving serious consideration to re-enlisting in
the Marine Reserves or National Guard these days).
returning home from the (1st) Persian Gulf War I began
dating the woman I would eventually marry. She was shocked when her
father actually liked me - he had hated everyone she and her sisters
had ever dated. Turns out he was an ex-Marine. He was fighting cancer
at the time and would pass away within a year. During that time he told
me a number of stories about his time in the Corps including a great
one about Lou Diamond.
Bill Dodge, enlisted in the Marines in early 1945 and
was shipped off to Parris Island. At the time, the Corps was gearing up
for the planned assault on mainland Japan. Because there were so many
recruits in training, his platoon lived in GP tents throughout their
One day a recruit in
his platoon cracked under the pressure. Sitting on
his cot, the recruit loaded his rifle, put it in his mouth and pulled
the trigger. The .30-06 blew his brains all over the tent and left a
hole in the roof.
While the members of
the platoon sat there too stunned to move, Lou
Diamond walked into the tent and looked around. He yelled: "Any of you
other ****birds want to shoot yourselves, have the courtesy to take it
outside!" Then he ordered the platoon to clean up the mess, and walked
My father-in-law had
to help mop up the blood and brains. The hole in
the top of the tent never was fixed, he got wet every time it rained
for the rest of boot camp.
I think of this story
whenever I hear of someone needing "grief
counseling" or "sensitivity training." Lou Diamond was the ultimate
the book by Rich Hemenez, Col USMCR (Ret.), The United States
Marine Corps in Books and the Performing Arts, Richard L. Hemenez,
MacFarland & Company, 2001...
f622. Cavalcade of America, 1955, ABC, USMC1
Jack Denova: D. Bob Stevenson;W; Larry Marcus; C: Ward Bond, Greg
Palmer, John Cliff, Jim McGovern, Mary Allen Hokanson, James Flynn.
well respected drama show aired from 1 October 1952 to 4 June 1957. The
stories were historically accurate representations of events
emphasising the personalities involved. The 1 June 1955 show titled
"The Marine who Lived 200 Years" focused on Marine MGySgt Leland "Lou"
Diamond (Bond). The story opens on Guadalcanal in 1942 with Diamond
disobeying a doctor's orders and going into combat. Later, weak and
exhausted he collapses and is shipped to an American hospita.
Separation from his comrades is totally unacceptable to the hard
charger and he soon rejoins the 1st Marine Division. Diamond was on
active duty until his late 60s.
"Bond, excellent as the gruff
Diamond, who hid beneath a tough exterior a deep devotion to the Corps,
conveys just the proper shading to the role...the (total) effort
generally stacks up as one of Jack Denova's superior videopix in the
The above, is the film that
I have mentioned elsewhere on GyG's regarding Lou Diamond. The only
time I ever
saw the film/video was in SNCO Leadership School at Cherry Point, N.C.
in 1958 or 1959; I had assumed it to be a sort of training film at the
time, and since. I have never seen it again on TV or for sale on any
The following is my
original webpage from the biographical data on Lou Diamond furnished by
the Marine Corps Historical Center; NewsClips and Photos; and several
items of information related to Lou Diamond, etc.