Dianne Strong

Biography

In 2013 Dianne M. Strong, Ed.D. raised $23,406 on Kickstarter and self published "Witness To War: Truk Lagoon's Master Diver Kimiuo Aisek." This 304-page hardcover book included 16 pages of full color, and full cover in the insides covers.

Thousands of divers around the world know Dianne M. Strong as the Internet's "StrongDiver" or "TrukDiver." As the "adopted American daughter" of Kimiuo Aisek, she was uniquely qualified to write this biography. In 1970 she became a YMCA scuba instructor, and crossed over to the National Association of Underwater Instructors (NAUI) in 1977. Her certification as a trimix technical diver--enabling her to explore the underwater world to a depth of 200' using air with helium--is from the International Association of Nitrox and Technical Divers (IANTD).

Before moving to the US Territory of Guam in 1972, she dove shipwrecks off the East Coast and the sunken R.M.S. Empress of Ireland passenger liner in Quebec, Canada. In 2001 she dove the nuclear shipwrecks at Bikini Lagoon in the Marshall Islands. She has been diving Truk Lagoon since June 1973 and loves diving the “ship reefs.”

Strong holds two degrees in journalism: a B.A. from the Henry W. Grady School of Journalism at the University of Georgia (1967) and an M.S. in mass media from Syracuse University's Newhouse Communication Center (1970). Her Ed.D. in intercultural education is from the University of Southern California (USC, 1982). She taught writing at the University of Guam for eighteen years. By writing “Witness To War,” Dr. Strong had an opportunity to “practice what she preached.”

Smashwords Interview

When did you first start writing?
As a child of the 50's, I was a passenger on family road trips from Connecticut to Georgia. Those were the days before President Eisenhower built interstate highways that provided fast speed limits and no stop lights. I started a habit of keeping a "Trip Log" that included unusual sights: the text from Burma Shave signs, mottos on car license plates, chain gangs working alongside the road, fresh fruits for sale. I also recorded the price of gas, favorite meals, and the names of motels -- they were small, unattached cabins back then -- that included swimming pools. Yes, I eventually became a scuba diver. In the 60's, as I explored "Who Am I?," my journals became my best friends. They provided a safe outlet for my emotions and became a record of my quest for identity.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My life changed on January 11, 1971. On that Monday night, ABC television presented The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau‘s “Lagoon of Lost Ships.” This documentary captivated Americans like me who had reveled in Lloyd Bridges' adventures as Sea Hunt's Mike Nelson, a TV series that began in 1958. Rather than the black-and-white of early TV, however, Cousteau's photographers now used color film and underwater lights to capture the exquisite beauty of Truk's shipwrecks.

As a scuba diver with two degrees in journalism and a passion for travel, I have always kept a "Trip Log." For a wreck diver like me, Truk Lagoon's "Ghost Fleet" from WW2 is the Holy Grail of diving. Living on Guam while teaching writing at the University of Guam, Truk's underwater monument is only 80 jet minutes away. Thus my love affair with "the world's greatest wreck dive" began in June 1973, and still continues 42 years later, after more than a hundred dive trips to Truk Lagoon.

Kimiuo Aisek did not open Blue Lagoon Dive Shop until 13 November 1973, but he was my first dive guide in Truk. As he "talked story," I took notes. As a trained journalist, I wrote these stories which were published as a freelancer. When I realized no one knew the story of how the ships were discovered and their significance, I decided Kimiuo's biography had to be written. In 1998, at the dive shop's 25th anniversary, Kimiuo introduced me as his "adopted American daughter." Armed with all my trip logs and years of experience teaching writing, I figured I should be Kimiuo's biographer and I made him a promise.

Kimiuo passed at age 74 in 2001. When I realized his dive shop would celebrate its 40th anniversary on 13 November 2013, I stopped procrastinating, sat down and wrote the book. Funding raised on Kickstarter made publishing the 304-page hard cover book a reality in time for the anniversary.

Leon Edel wrote in Ars Biographica, "A biographer is a novelist under oath." Thus, I have tried to remain true to Kimiuo’s view of his world, but still make his “talk story” live.
Read more of this interview.

Where to find Dianne Strong online


Videos

Forgotten Battle of WW2
"Operation Hailstone," the American attack on Truk Lagoon, is often omitted from WW2 history. On the 70th anniversary of the 1944 attack of February 17-18, the biographer of legendary diver Kimiuo Aisek reminds people of his legacy. Divers from around the world visit the world's "greatest wreck dive." The battle's doomed airplanes and ships that spelled tragedy for the Japanese Empire now provide beauty and living history.

Books

Witness to War: Truk Lagoon's Master Diver Kimiuo Aisek (Japanese Kanji)
Price: $9.99 USD. Words: 5,520. Language: Japanese. Published: May 24, 2015. Categories: Nonfiction » Biography » Adventurers & explorers
Kimiuo Aisek was a seventeen-year old witness to “Operation Hailstone,” the U.S. attack on Truk, “the Gibraltar of the Pacific.” Dianne M. Strong's biography recognizes a humble islander who put Truk Lagoon on the world map for scuba divers, by founding Blue Lagoon Dive Shop in 1973. Through Aisek's eyes, Japanese readers can now learn about Aisek's life from wartime to his unique legacy.
Witness to War: Truk Lagoon's Master Diver Kimiuo Aisek
Price: $9.99 USD. Words: 122,590. Language: English. Published: April 24, 2015. Categories: Nonfiction » Biography » Adventurers & explorers
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Kimiuo Aisek was a seventeen-year old witness to “Operation Hailstone,” the U.S. attack on Truk, “the Gibraltar of the Pacific.” Dianne M. Strong's biography recognizes a humble islander who put Truk Lagoon on the world map for scuba divers, by founding Blue Lagoon Dive Shop in 1973. Through Aisek's eyes readers learn about the Japanese mandate, WW2 in the Pacific, and Aisek's unique legacy.

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