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R.W. "Dick" Gaines
GySgt USMC (Ret.)

M/GySgt Leland "Lou" Diamond USMC
"The Perfect Marine"
~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Ever since I was first 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 make note of 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 remarked that he had been the victim of his ire resulting in a non-gentle "kick in the 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 invite 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 Fred Hyden 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 of the 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 uniform.

My thanks to Fred  Hyden for his input regarding Lou Diamond
--Dick Gaines

And this from Marine Raider C.L. Noring...
"Hi Dick:
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.

C L Noring (1st Raider Bn)
Reno Nv"

And this one from Gunner Arthur Goetz...

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. Thank god.

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.

Art Goetz

And here's a story sent to me in November of 2001....

" Hi Gunny,
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).

Shortly after 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.

My father-in-law, 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 training.

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 away.

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 grief counselor!
Chris Bramley

From 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
P. Jack Denova: D. Bob Stevenson;W; Larry Marcus; C: Ward Bond, Greg Palmer, John Cliff, Jim McGovern, Mary Allen Hokanson, James Flynn.

A 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 series." Variety

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 listing.

Semper Fidelis
Dick Gaines


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.

Biography: M/GySgt Leland "Lou" Diamond USMC
(GyG original page on Lou Diamond)


Tom Dowlearn's Story

Marine Vignette #49--Tales Of The Corps
"Diamond"! By John W. Faust

MCB Quantico--Legend & Lore Of "Lou" Diamond

Who's Who In Marine Corps History?

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