Frank Leslie Dietrich – Colonel, United States Army


Colonel Dietrich, 76, died September 22, 1997 in Anderson Memorial Medical Center in Clemson, South Carolina.

Colonel Dietrich was a veteran of World War II and the Korean and Vietnam wars. His other assignments included 27th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division, Japan; 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, World War II; and commander, Army Garrison, Fort Stewart, Georgia.

He attended the Parachute School, Command and General Staff College, Armed Forces Staff College and Air War College.

His awards and decorations included the Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, Triple Combat Infantry Badge and Master Parachutist Badge.

He is survived by his wife, Agnes Jane; two sons, Ross and Max; and four granddaughters.

Burial was held September 25, 1997 at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington Virginia.

In Memory of Colonel Frank L. Dietrich

The Mexican-American Paratroopers are sad to inform members and friends of
the death of one of our finest, Colonel Frank L. Dietrich.

The Colonel died in September of 97, after a long battle with cancer. Colonel Dietrich was buried at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors.

He enlisted in the Army in June of 1941, serving for 34 years. Art Lopez served with him in World War ll and they became good friends, and kept in touch after the war.

Colonel Dietrich was a commander in the Korean War and was a battalion and brigade commander during two tours in Vietnam.

He was the holder of the Distinguished Service Cross, three Silver Stars, the Distinguished Flying Cross, four Bronze Stars with V-divice (for valor), the Purple Heart and 21 other medals.

He was the Honorary Colonel of the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division for a number of years.

Surviving are his wife of 45 years, Agnes Jane, two sons and doughters-inlaw, Ross Carter and Teresa Ann Dietrich of St. Charles, Missouri, and Lieutenant Colonel Max James and Vivian Sheree Dietrich of Fort-Polk.

The Mexican-American Paratroopers Association send their deepest sympthay to the family.

Colonel (Infantry), U.S. Army
Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2d Battalion (Airborne), 502nd Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division
Date of Action: November 9 – 11, 1966
HQ US Army, Vietnam, General Orders No. 496 (February 1, 1967)


The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to Frank L. Dietrich, Colonel (Infantry), U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations involving conflict with an armed hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam, while serving with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2d Battalion (Airborne), 502d Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division.

Colonel Dietrich distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous actions during the period 9 to 11 November 1966 while commanding the 2d Battalion, 502d Infantry on a search and destroy operation near Tuy Hoa. On the morning of  9 November, he was informed that contact had been made with an entrenched North Vietnamese Army battalion. Quickly assessing the situation from a command and control helicopter, Colonel Dietrich brilliantly maneuvered his troops, and by nightfall the hostile force was surrounded. As the battle raged on into the next morning, he boldly joined his men on the ground. Unmindful of the extreme danger, he moved throughout the battlefield to assist his subordinate commanders and comfort the wounded.

On 11 November Colonel Dietrich dauntlessly climbed to the top of a tree with a radio to direct the conflict. Remaining exposed in this perilous position for two hours, he courageously deployed the ground elements and supervised the broadcast of surrender appeals. As the battle progressed, he completely disregarded his safety by running across 100 meters of bullet- swept terrain, and led a successful assault on a stubborn North Vietnamese position. Then, accompanied only by his radio operator, Colonel Dietrich moved through 800 meters of dense jungle to another engaged platoon. Moving to the front, he again braved the intense insurgent fire to encourage his men forward. His unimpeachable valor and aggressive leadership under fierce hostile fire contributed immeasurably to the defeat of a determined hostile force.

Lieutenant Colonel Dietrich's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.

fldietrich-01Colonel Dietrich Receiving The Distinguished Service Cross In Vietnam From General William C. Westmoreland

Note From John Yeager, Jr.: This is a photo of Colonel Frank Leslie Dietrich being awarded the Distinguished Service Cross at Khanh Duong, Vietnam in 1967.

He was a platoon sergeant in the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment in World War II and is prominent in the book “Devils in Baggy Pants,” but under the name  “F. Dietrich Berkeley.”  He was a company commander in the “Wolfhounds” in Korea early in that war. He was a very good amateur poet, styling his poems after Rudyard Kipling.

cibCombat Infantryman Badge


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