CPT John "Digger" D Diggs was a VHPA member who died after his tour in Vietnam on 01/01/2015 at the age of 70.7 from Stroke
Daleville, AL
Flight Class 67-10
Date of Birth 04/07/1944
Served in the U.S. Army
Served in Vietnam with 5 SFG in 64-65, D/1/10 CAV in 67-68
Call signs in Vietnam SHAMROCK 22, SHAMROCK 40

More detail on this person: On 1 January, 2015, John Dieter Diggs left us. He died a peaceful, painless death in Covenant Hospice, in Panama City, Florida surrounded by close friends, his daughter Ashley, and his son Ethan. John Dieter Diggs was a man of man talents. He served three tours in Viet Nam, one as a Special Forces Medic, one as an Aero-Rifle Platoon Leader, and one as a scout and attack helicopter platoon leader. Upon his return to the United States, John left active service, joined the Reserves, worked odd jobs, and began his educational trek which culminated with his graduation from Auburn University's School of Veterinary Medicine in 1980. During his military service John was awarded the Silver Star, the Distinguished Flying Cross with one oak leaf cluster, the Bronze Star with V (Valor) device, the Air Medal with V device and numeral 30 (30 awards), the Purple Heart with one oak leaf cluster, and the Army Commendation Medal with V device. As a Veterinarian John warmed the hearts of many. He was a kind, compassionate, and gentle care giver, who could calm the fiercest of animals. All animals were sacred to John and he indeed had a gift for helping those in need. He was born Hans Dieter Peters on 7 April 1944 in the eastern part of Germany, to Gerlinde Maria Peters, nee Harliss, and Captain Erhard Peters. His father was a German Luftwaffe Night Fighter pilot, who had achieved 22 aerial victories and had been awarded the Knights Cross to the Iron cross. His father was shot down and killed in February 1944, just before John was born. As WWII was ending his Mother, Gerlinde, made her way toward American lines, where she was initially told she would have to return to the Russian sector. However, upon discovery that she could speak five languages to include fluent English, she was hired as an interpreter for the U.S. Army. While in the employ of the Army she met and married John's adoptive father, Cletus Leo Diggs, who at the time was an Army E-7. His father raised John as his own and as John often said, was responsible for the discipline in his life. Cletus Leo Diggs ultimately achieved the rank of Command Sergeant Major and retired from the Army. Cletus and Gerlinde lived long enough to see the birth of John's daughter Ashley in 1987 and maintained close contact with Ashley and her mother Sherry Lynn Shackelford. After John graduated from Auburn, he established his first veterinary practice in Dadeville, Alabama. In 1986 he returned to his home in Ozark and established his practice on Highway 134 in Daleville. In December 2002, when Dr. Fontaine decided to move his practice from 61 Troy Edmundson Road in Daleville to Dothan, John bought the Dale Animal Hospital and opened for business in February 2003. While running Dale Animal Hospital John also returned to the Flight Line as a contract instructor pilot. John left the Flight Line in 2014 with 16,000 plus flight hours. Later in the year he had decided to sell or lease the Dale Animal Hospital in 2015 and move to Utah here, in his words, things would finally be peaceful. John was a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion. He served as the Post Surgeon for both organizations. He was an avid collector of German memorabilia from WWII and was known for his expertise on uniforms and badges. He also had a collection of memorabilia from Viet Nam, which he willed to the U.S. Army Aviation Museum. On 20 October John was taken to Southeast Alabama Medical Center where was diagnosed with a subarachnoid hemorrhage: a bleed under his skull. His condition seemed to be improving after an intracranial drain was emplaced to reduce pressure. The hemorrhage and associated intracranial pressure resulted in no meaningful communication with John after 22 October. After a week the drain was removed and replaced with a shunt. Unfortunately, neither the drain nor the shunt was successful in preventing a catastrophic stroke to the left side of his brain. The stroke left him paralyzed on is right side and unable to speak or understand language. After thirty days from his catastrophic stroke there was no improvement in his condition. At that point in accordance with his wishes John Dieter Diggs was moved to Covenant Hospice. John was preceded in death by his younger sister, Judith Ann Smith, nee Diggs; his father, Captain Erhard Peters, German Air Force; his adoptive Father, CSM(Ret) Cletus Leo Diggs, US Army, and his Mother Gerlinde Maria Diggs. He is survived by his daughter Ashley Erin Shackelford-Diggs, Ashley's Mother, Sherry Lynn Shackelford, his grandson William Preston Baker, his son Johan Ethan Hilgers-Diggs, and his son Michael Blake Parish. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the SOS Animal Shelter, 25944 Alabama Highway 134, Enterprise, AL 36330, (334) 347-1743 and that each of his friends purchase a Tucher Helles Hefe Weizen beer and raise it in his honor. Viewing will be from 12-2 PM on Sunday 4 January at the Searcy Funeral Home in Enterprise, Alabama (right across from Lowe's). Following the viewing there will be a brief funeral service at the Searcy Chapel. A special thank you to the doctors and staff at Southeast Medical Hospital, Nolan Hospital, and Covenant Hospice for their care and compassion. Searcy Funeral Home and Crematory 334-393-2273, is in charge of arrangements. Send condolences to the family atA www.searcyfuneralhome.com. Sign the guest book atA www.dothaneagle.com

This information was last updated 05/18/2016

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Date posted on this site: 03/10/2024

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