Gil Deibel was a young man of his time, well on his way to a degree from University of Michigan in 1942. In short order Gil became Aviation Cadet Deibel, and received his flight training at Fort Sumner, New Mexico, then on to advanced pilot school at Roswell. In December, 1944 Gil was ordered to his first combat duty station in Nadzab, New Guinea, with the 403rd Squadron, 43rd Heavy Bomb Group.
Over the next ten months Gil would fly 17 bombing missions in B24s, logging 946 hours and 50 minutes of flight time in the Western Pacific for the Fifth Army Air Force. The operations recovered New Guinea, liberated the Philippines, neutralized islands in the Bismarck Archipelago and the Netherland East Indies. Gil’s group was on the island of Ie Shima preparing for the invasion of Japan when the war ended.
Gil returned home to Saginaw on a plane manufactured in the Willow Run Factory- the same factory that manufactured the B-24 bombers that Gil flew. He resumed his studies, completed a BA in history from U of M in 1946, and a JD from U of M in 1949.
On April 30,1949, Gil and Annette Anderson were married, and thus began Gil’s common bond with the veterans of the Anderson family of Omena. Among the Anderson family veterans were Annette’s; brother, Andrew F, Anderson, U.S. Army WWII, father Oscar M. Anderson, U.S. Army, Field Artillery, WWI and her cousins, Louis Anderson Jr., U. S. Navy, WWII, George Anderson, U.S. Army, Korea and Adrian (Pete) Anderson, U.S. Army, Korea
Upon Gil and Annette’s retirement to Omena many years later, Gil connected with numerous retired veterans: Bill Fuertges, Tom Buehler, Bill Emmert, Dick Kennedy, Dale Bount, Jim Miller, Dan Schleef, Stu Mulligan, Larry Reynolds, Tom Smith to name a few.
The Omena community truly has a legacy of service. Please tell us about your Omena veterans by emailing OmenaVeterans@gmail.com.