Capt James H. Dienelt

Capt James H. Dienelt

District of Columbia, USA
Death 11 Jun 1943 (aged 27)
At Sea
Memorial Site* Manila, Capital District, National Capital Region, Philippines

* A structure erected in honor of someone whose remains lie elsewhere.

Plot Tablets of the Missing - Army
Memorial ID 56775401 · View Source
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Captain James H. Dienelt MIA/KIA
531st Bomber Squadron, 380th Bomber Group, Heavy
Service# O-023746
Hometown: District of Columbia
Awards: Silver Star, Air Medal, Purple Heart

Mission Date: 11-Jun-43
Serial Number: # 42-40500
Aircraft Model B-24D
Aircraft Letter:
Aircraft Name:Care Less
Location: Near Koepang, Dutch Timor
Cause: Enemy fighters Crew of 11MIA/KIA

Biography gleaned from
Graduate United States Military Academy Class of 1941

James H. Dienelt was born in Washington, D. C., 2 March 1916, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Charles J. Dienelt. He attended Force School and Central High School in Washington. Jim's military career began with an enlistment in the National Guard, in order to obtain an appointment to the Military Academy. He graduated West Point with the Class of 1941.

Jim was assigned to service in the Air Corps. After training in the U.S., he joined the 531st Bomb. Sq., 380th Bomb. Gp., 5th AF, overseas. The disheartening report that Jim was missing in action on the June 11 mission over the Netherlands East Indies was received in the summer of 1943. Jim's flight had encountered heavy flak enroute to the target, and his own plane was severely damaged. Only skillful flying and his tenacious will to perform what he considered important enabled Jim to get his bombs on the target. On the way back from the target area, and with a piece of phosphorous bomb burning a hole in a wing. Jim's crippled ship was attacked by Zeros and forced to make a water landing. As he and his crew left the aircraft amid a shower of bullets from Japanese attackers, the ship exploded, engulfing the crew with it. No trace of any survivors was ever found.

For this action Jim was awarded the Silver Star and the Purple Heart. The Air Medal was awarded for meritorious achievement while participating in an aerial flight against the enemy on June 2, 1943.

As set forth in a letter from The Adjutant General, dated March 27, 1944, Jim was co-pilot on the crew of a bomber which was engaged in an attack against three enemy vessels. Several previous attempts against this target had been unsuccessful because of the heavy anti-aircraft fire from land and naval batteries. After a hazardous take-off from a poorly-lighted landing strip and a flight through unfavorable weather conditions, the target was reached. Because of broken clouds with a ceiling of 6,500 feet, it was necessary that bombing be done from a height well within range of the anti-aircraft batteries. On the first bombing run, the bomber was intercepted by three to six enemy fighters whose repeated attacks made it necessary to abandon the run. Though the hostile aircraft returned to the attack on the second bombing run, one bomb was dropped on the target. One enemy fighter was shot down during the second attack. The bomber's hydraulic system, a portion of the bomb release mechanism and one fuel tank were shot out while the tail assembly was badly damaged. Throughout this mission. Captain Dienelt displayed courage, determination and devotion to duty and aided in the successful completion of the flight.

The following excerpt from a letter from General H. H. Arnold, received by his family, indicates the high regard in which Jim was held by his superiors:

"Captain Dienelt's record has come to my attention and I find it is marked with outstanding achievements. Upon completion of his cadetship at the United States Military Academy, he was commissioned in the Field Artillery, later entering the Army Air Forces for pilot training. He had the inherent ability to lead and displayed it on all occasions, enjoying the respect of the officers and men with whom he worked. The awards of the Silver Star for gallantry in action, and the Air Medal for meritorious achievement in aerial flight attest the courage, determination and devotion to duty that characterized Captain Dienelt's military career."

Jim was survived by his wife, Kathleen (Kay) McLean Dienelt, whom he married shortly after graduation and two children.

James H. Dienelt Command Pilot
John B. Payne Jr. Pilot
Joseph A. Donovan
John A. Palmer
Alvin J. Schulte
Clarence A. Nevill
Clarence A. Nevill
Bernard Greenfield
Carl A. Ochala
Emil F. Vanek
Emil F. Vanek
William J. Kelly
Donald D. Russell

Gravesite Details Entered the service from D.C.


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  • Maintained by: John Dowdy
  • Originally Created by: War Graves
  • Added: 8 Aug 2010
  • Find a Grave Memorial 56775401
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Capt James H. Dienelt (2 Mar 1916–11 Jun 1943), Find a Grave Memorial no. 56775401, citing Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, Manila, Capital District, National Capital Region, Philippines ; Maintained by John Dowdy (contributor 47791572) .