***Mark Diebolt***Arlington Services, 10 Jan 2024***Mark Diebolt***


In Memoriam: Lt. Col. Mark Thomas Diebolt Plattsburg, NY – 12/16/1932 Austin, Texas – 10/07/2023 It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Lt. Col. Mark T. Diebolt, an extraordinary man whose life was a testament to values, courage, and the unwavering pursuit of excellence. Born in Plattsburg NY, Mark left an indelible mark on the world. He lived a life of passion, integrity, and honor and dedicated himself to love of country and fighting Communism. As a child in the 1940s, Mark was crushed by a tractor and was confined to a full body cast for months. He later told stories of cutting ice from Lake Champlain and hauling the blocks into the ice house. His father was a professor who taught economics at NYU and took the family to post-WWII Japan to help reconstruct the country through the Marshall Plan. An accomplished athlete, he played almost every sport, including football, when helmets were made of leather. As a young adult, Mark continued his journey, attending Colgate University, where he honed his intellect and immersed himself in the study of classical philosophy. He was a New York State Golden Gloves boxer in the welterweight division and displayed tenacity and prowess, not only in the ring, but later as a fighter pilot, earning respect and admiration from his peers. After graduating from Colgate University in 1955, Mark joined the U.S. Air Force, embarking on a career that would see him through some of the most critical moments in history. His aerial skills were unmatched, and he served as an Air Operations Officer and a Tactical Fighter Pilot during the Cold War leading up to and including the Vietnam War. His dedication to duty and exceptional flying abilities earned him a legendary status among his fellow aviators. He also stood ready on nuclear alert, fifteen days a month in Okinawa, Japan from 1959-1962 before later serving in the Vietnam War. During the Vietnam War, he was in charge of the largest Forward Air Control Base at Long Tiên, ultimately completing three tours in the war-torn country. As a pilot with the 559th TFS (Tactical Fighter Squadron), part of the 12th Fighter Wing (Billy Goats), he flew more than 800 hours of combat missions from Cam Ranh Bay providing close air support, and also flying between 750-1000 combat hours hitting targets along the protected Ho Chi Minh trail in Laos. His list of proficiency with aircraft included, but was not limited to: A-1 (A,D6), F-4 (B,C,J), O1 (E,F), U-17, T28B, T33, T-34A, T39, F86F, F5E, RF5A, F5B, F100 (C,D,F). But most important to him, it was in Cam Ranh Bay in 1969 that he met his second wife Jean Anne Youngstrom, a combat nurse in Vietnam, and the love of his life. While serving in Vietnam, Mark was soon attached to the CIA to support the Lao Hmong guerrilla army with a number of other exceptional pilots known as the Ravens. Most of those missions were declassified in the late 1980s and these warriors, unlike any today, are immortalized in two books, The Laotian Fragments and The Ravens: Pilots of the Secret War in Laos, cementing their legacy as a true heroes. Later in 1974, he was assigned the role of Military Attaché to the Shah of Iran, where he trained the Persian Air Force and introduced electricity to remote mountain villages in the region. Back in Texas, when asked what medals he earned in combat, he often said, “Every time they nominated me for a medal, I told them to give it to that guy or this guy, there are plenty of men who flew more hours and deserved it more than I did.” Nevertheless, among his many medals earned in combat, he was awarded not one but two Distinguished Flying Crosses (the highest medal for extraordinary aerial achievement), and he was the first ever member of the U.S. Air Force to receive a Navy Commendation Medal. He loved flying with the U.S. Marines! Away from the cockpit, Col. Diebolt had a passion for politics, authors such as Lawrence Durrell, the French language, the timeless melodies of Edith Piaf, all sports that interested his children, and collecting firearms. His appreciation for culture and art reflected the depth of his character and the philosophical underpinnings that drove him to excellence while fighting for liberty. Mark was not only a man of action but also a father who demanded excellence from his children in academics and sports, instilling in them the values of discipline and hard work. Col. Mark Diebolt leaves behind a legacy of courage, honor, and an unyielding commitment to duty and integrity. As we mourn his passing, let us remember and celebrate a life fully-lived, a life that was built on selfless dedication to others, one that not only touched the skies but went further, leaving an indelible mark on those who knew, and loved him. He is survived by his wife of fifty-two years, Col. Jean Y. Diebolt; children Mark Diebolt JD, [Melinda Diebolt], Amy Diebolt Kristofitz [Brian Kristofitz], Karen Diebolt JD, [Bob Samuelson], Alison Diebolt Linton [Tom Linton], Stephen Diebolt, Brienne Diebolt-Brown [Karl Brown PhD], Erik Diebolt DO; brother Craig Diebolt; and 14 grandchildren. A memorial service will be held at Arlington National Cemetery, Washington D.C. at 9 a.m. on January 10, 2024. Further instructions on the precise location and logistics for attendees will be sent in the weeks immediately leading up to the ceremony. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Edgar Allan Poe Society, Inc. A 501(c)3 started by the Ravens to give scholarships to descendants of Lao and Hmong refugees of the Vietnam War. EAPLS, Inc., 507 Rolling Green Dr., Lakeway, TX 78734-5222 … quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”


Ellis Nottingham has graciously offered to serve as Raven POC for Mark’s services.  If you plan to attend, please contact Ellis:  ellist45@gmail.com or Cell Phone-(703) 887-9229.

Also, for those of you who have regularly attended our reunions, the Ravens have recently lost a good friend.  You all will remember Bob and Jo Ann Dittert from the reunions.  Bob has succumbed after a long battle with alzheiner’s.  His obituary is attached.



It is with great sadness that I inform you that Mark Diebolt, Raven 20, has flown west.  He passed on Saturday evening, 7 October, after suffering a severe stroke two weeks earlier.  His beloved wife, Jeanie, and his son, Eric, were at his side.  Jeannie and Mark had just been anointed by their priest when Mark passed.

 Mark will be laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery at a future date.  Jeanie’s contact information, cell phone and email address, will be updated and released in the Family section of the  new Phone Book, later today.

 No further information is available at this time.



To: the Ravens

Greetings from the Distinguished Flying Cross Society (http://www.dfcsociety.org).

The DFC Society is pleased to announce its 2023 Reunion in Tucson AZ October 19 – 23. Our theme is “Vietnam War – 50 Years Later. Thank You For Your Service.” 

The Reunion hotel is the Sheraton Tucson Hotel & Suites: https://www.marriott.com/events/start.mi?id=1660838585208&key=GRP

For information on Reunion activities: http://www.events.afr-reg.com/e/DFC2023/

It is our distinct pleasure to announce the winners of the 2023 Distinguished Raven Scholarships. Without exception, these young men & women are truly outstanding.


Donald R. Moody Memorial Scholarship ($2,500)

Sheng Vang

Minneapolis, MN

George S, Wilson Memorial Scholarship ($2,000)

Madaline D. Her

Sacramento, CA

Frank M. Kricker Memorial Scholarship ($2,000)

Maisee Lor

Sacramento, CA

Jeffery E. Thompson Memorial Scholarship ($2,000)

Savannah Kajsiab Johnson

Winder, GA

David W, Saunders Memorial Scholarship ($2,000)

Thomas Y. Moua

Clovis, CA

Anthony P. Mahoney Memorial Scholarship ($2,000)

Ascher B. Bouskila

McKinney, TX


Max N. Hottell Memorial Scholarship ($1,500)

Nicholas L. Xiong

Milwaukee, WI

Samuel L Deichelmann Memorial Scholarship ($1,500)

Douachee Xiong

Eau Claire, WI


 Marlin L Siegwalt Memorial Scholarship ($1,500)

Philip Her

Hydesville, CA


 Charles D Ballou Memorial Scholarship ($1,000)

Adisouk Nhouyvanisvong

Wayzata, MN


Edward E “Hoss” McBride Memorial Scholarship ($1,000)

Nadia Chanthaphuang

Provo, UT


Larry Ratts just informed me that long-time Friend of the Ravens and duty driver for many years at our reunions, Jim Kellogg, has passed away.  Jim has been experiencing many health challenges over the last two years, since he passed out at our reunion in 2021.  He chose not to share his health issues with anyone outside his immediate circle of friends.  We will miss him.  If I hear any further information, I will pass it along.

“I’d have been a better friend, but I trusted Time.”  Nevermore!


Dr. Paul Carter, a historian living in Thailand, has just published a YouTube video covering the “Steve Canyon Program” or Raven FACs.  This is Part I of what is planned to be a two part series.  Several Ravens gave interviews and participated in Paul’s research.  Part two is expected to be produced next summer after the other projects that Paul currently has underway are released.  Paul has produced two other videos that I highly recommend, one on the secret war in Laos and one on our Missing in Action in the Vietnam war.

This is an excellent video for anyone interested in Raven FACs’ operations in Laos.  It can be found at: : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jt1NJV1qU2A

Feel free to share this link.


Annual meeting minutes are on the Ravens only page now. 



Ravens, go to the News page to read Toby Hughes Obit.  He was a long time friend of the ravens.


Raven FAC Descendant Scholarship             

The Edgar Allen Poe Literary Society (EALPS), i.e., Raven Forward Air Controllers (FACs) is proud to announce the first winner of the Raven FAC Descendant Scholarship.  This program was a trial approved by the membership and first awarded in 2020.

The winner, Robert Downing Abbott, is the grandson of Major Robert Louis Abbott Jr., (USAFA Class of 1964) who survived the Vietnam War, but was lost in an RF-4C training accident near Nellis AFB on May 10th 1979 during a Red Flag exercise.  Robert graduated from Missouri Military Academy in 2020 where he lettered in both soccer (3 years) and lacrosse (2 years). He is now enrolled at the University of Missouri studying mechanical engineering.  Inspired by stories of his grandfather, whom he never knew, Robert joined the University of Missouri AFROTC, Detachment 440, with the goal of becoming a USAF pilot. 



A private Facebook page named   Raven FAC’s/E.A.P.L.S  has been created by Lew and Ed.  Info from Ed follows:

Here is another link to the page:   https://www.facebook.com/groups/601112210770318

Ravens & Friends:

Not wanting to lose the entire Raven Reunion experience this year, Lew Hatch & I have been looking at ways to keep some of it alive during this crazy, mixed up time. Thanks to Lew’s hard work & tech savvy, I believe we have a way to keep our cherished Memorial Ceremony alive.

Last week, we met in the Auger Inn (which was closed) and made several videos of our ceremony.

We will be running it on a dedicated private Face book page,<< Raven FAC’s/E.A.P.L.S >>

This is a private FB page & Lew & I will be approving all members. It will have private rooms if you want to chat/renew old friendships.


Hello, Ravens. About 25 years ago I published a photo book called OUT OF LAOS: A Story of War and Exodus, for the children of Hmong refugees.  I am now working on a longer full-color version, bringing the story up to date and adding more coverage of notable Hmong, especially Lee Lue the T-28 pilot.


There’s a photo of Lee Lue that shows up in various places, including on the Ravens website. Usually the guy on the left is cropped out to just show Lee Lue, sometimes it’s both guys. But I have only seen it as a TINY digital file (under 20 kb), not much bigger than a postcard stamp. I’m trying to find either the original photograph or a much bigger and more detailed scan (5 mb or larger), so I can publish it, and so Hmong-American kids can get a better idea of one of their heroes.


Can you help? Do you know where the original photo can be found, or do you know someone who has a much bigger digital version of it?


Thanks so much,

Roger Warner

Out of Laos book project

18 Proctor Street 

Manchester MA 01938

(978) 821-8655


Here’s the photo in the version with both men:

P.S. Wrote a story about the Hmong T-28 pilots for Air & Space magazine long ago.  And a book on the Laos war. Got to know Heinie Aderholt a bit through Bill Lair. And so on.






Health for Every Veteran Study

This program was briefed at the Reunion business meeting.  It is a study sponsored by the VA that could benefit all veterans. It was checked out by Moose & he sees no downside to participation. 

We invite you to participate in a study focusing on your health behaviors and life experiences as a Veteran.

The goal of the Health for Every Veteran Study is to better understand the experiences of Veterans from all backgrounds and promote their health and well-being. We are interested in hearing the diverse voices within our communities.The study is being conducted by researchers at the VA Puget Sound Health Care System. It consists of completing a confidential, web-based questionnaire every 9 months for approximately 2 years (for a total of 4 questionnaires). All research activities are completed online, with no in-person visits required. For more information, please go to https://healthforeveryvet.questionpro.com.

Merry Christmas


Edgar Allan Poe Literary Society, Inc. Home of the RAVEN FACS A non-profit veterans organization