The class quiets as Professor Dave Diehl stands to begin his lecture with a smile and story. Diehl poses a question or comment on the current status of the news towards students.
“When I was a young boy, my father always hung his Navy uniform up. I always saw this and never saw my life without joining the military,” Diehl said.
Dave Diehl, an adjunct instructor at Frederick and Carroll Community Colleges, started a career after high school in the Air Force. After graduating high school in 1976, at the age of 18, Diehl had “no specific plan,” and would enlist in the military for the next 22 years.
Diehl would achieve the second highest ranking in the Air Force, Senior Master Sergeant, after 19 years of service.
“I was never scared in the Air Force; I was excited,” Diehl said.
Diehl’s most exciting job in the Air Force was being a reporter for The Stars and Stripes newspaper for seven years. The Stars and Stripes is a military newspaper reporting on matters concerning members of the United States Armed Forces. Diehl would have more than 700 feature stories and covered events for the paper as a photojournalist.
Diehl believed a career in the Military allowed himself to expand his knowledge and possibilities for his young adult life.
“The most important life lessons the military taught me was integrity, honesty, and education. You should always be part of the solution and take responsibility,” Diehl said.
Diehl highly values education, earning an associates degree in public affairs from the U.S. Air Force community college. Diehl also earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Eastern New Mexico University and a master’s degree in business administration from Hood college. Diehl started teaching military studies in 1983 and became a full-time teacher while in the Air Force.
“Relationships that I made in the Air Force were crucial,” Diehl said.
One of Diehl’s closest friends that he continues to stay in contact with today is the current vice president of communications for the NCAA.
Diehl shared a story about covering an event that later was discovered to be fabricated. While being a journalist for the Stars and Stripes newspaper, Diehl explained the story of a man who lived in a small village that claimed he was assaulted by two men in hoodies. At the time Diehl was reporting this story in the newspaper, it was unusual for a small village to experience crime. Later on, in Diehl’s’ follow up story, no one would speak out about the incident, not even the police. Diehl would later find out that the man who claimed to be assaulted was “fooling around in bed” with his own wife and had a carrot lodged in his butt.
“The man who was in our military hospital used the assault as a cover-up story to hide his foolish acts. So the original story I wrote in the paper never happened,” Diehl added.
Diehl noted the importance of a journalist making sure the story is accurate and that not every potential story is true. Being a journalist in the Air Force gave Diehl some unusual opportunities.
“I had a connection with the Prime Minister of Iceland,” Diehl said. “I could pick up the phone or walk into his office and talk about the news with him.”
Diehl also went to be one of the first to test drive British made cars for product reviews and interviewed the head of MTV Europe in London for music reviews. Along with the music reviews, Diehl would interview the top VJ’s (Music Video Jockey’s) for MTV Europe who were considered celebrities when music video production for songs started to become popular.
As a big grin and smile comes over Diehl’s face, he explains the best experience he had in the Air Force.
“The best part about the military was meeting my wife,” Diehl said.
A photojournalist at the time, Diehl was assigned by his editor to cover a new fashion at the time of reporting called “stone washed jeans.” Diehl would cover the story, and eventually marry the model that was featured in his story.
Diehl’s last job in the military was Press Secretary of Chief Master Sergeant. The job description included overlooking everyone and everything.
“Everything is a team effort in the Armed Forces,” Diehl added.
When asked to describe himself in one word, Diehl responded with “Integrity.”
When people look back on the person Diehl was, he wants to be remembered as “did I put my best into the country? And did I make the world a better place with my presence?”