James L. Diel, was born on 3 March1922 in Jasper County, Illinois. He received his education at Newton High School, graduating in 1940. In the summers of 1939 and 1940, he took part in a military training which lasted 6 weeks and was held at the Jefferson Barracks school in St. Louis, Missouri.
Diel endured the heavy base training and soon was admitted as Corporal, and thereupon to Sergeant, at Easy Company, due to his academic military background. After enduring his base training, he continued his training at Fort Benning, Georgia where jump training began for him and his company.
In late autumn of 1943, Diel and the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment left for Aldbourne, where the heavy training for Operation Overlord took place. In the early morning hours of 6 June (also known as D-Day), he jumped out of a C-47 plane over German-held Normandy. Many soldiers were killed in this heavy and long-lasting battle. Diel was one of the lucky ones who survived this operation, and, due to the high amount of casualties, was promoted to 1st Sergeant during the invasion of Normandy.
On his return to England on 12 June, Diel was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant and transferred to Able Company. Diel then took part in Operation Market Garden, a British-led operation, on 19 September 1944. The enemy was heavily underestimated, and Diel was killed in combat near Eindhoven.
Diel is buried at the Netherlands American Cemetery and Memorial in Margraten, Plot L Row 15 Grave 8.