A photo and biography of Pvt. 1st Class James H. Diamond is displayed at the James H. Diamond Elementary School during the facility's ribbon cutting ceremony at Fort Stewart, Georgia, Aug. 24, 2017. After a three-year-long building phase, the school officially opened for the 2017-2018 school year. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Sierra A. Melendez.),
School Named in Honor of 24th ID MOH Recipient Officially Opens at New Facility
The new James H. Diamond Elementary School at Fort Stewart, Georgia officially opened to the public during the facility's ribbon cutting ceremony at Fort Stewart on Aug. 24, 2017.
The school was named after Pvt. 1st Class James H. Diamond, a 24th Infantry Division soldier who was killed in action while trying to save the lives of his comrades in the Philippines in 1945. Diamond was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his valiant and intrepid actions. Originally called the Fort Stewart Elementary School, the school was renamed for Diamond in 1982.
Construction on the $40 million facility began in October of 2014 about 1.5 miles east of the existing facility. The original school, built in 1963, did not meet current Americans with Disabilities Act criteria or satisfy current design standards of the Department of Defense Education Activity. There are three schools located at Fort Stewart including Diamond, Kessler and Murray Elementary Schools.
The new school features an open layout with operable wall panels that slide open, promoting a collaborative educational environment. The two-story, 122,000 square foot facility also includes a kitchen and teachers' area for each quad of classrooms, an outside amphitheater with a stage, gymnasium, three playgrounds and an energy system that tracks electricity-saving efforts.
Diamond’s great niece, Kelly Strozier, and great nephews Scott Evers and Jarrod Gruber, were present for the ceremony and boasted on the warm welcome they were given by the 3rd Infantry Division which is currently garrisoned at Fort Stewart. Fort Stewart was the home of the 24th Infantry Division from 1975 to 1996.
“It’s great to see how the service continues to put family first,” said Evers. “He [Diamond] would absolutely be amazed by this facility. He continues to make an impact so long after his death, and it’s comforting to see he isn’t forgotten.”
James H. Diamond joined the Army from Gulfport, Mississippi in September 1943. He served as a Private First Class in Company D, 21st Infantry Regiment, 24th Infantry Division.
On May 8, 1945, and the following six days, at Mintal, Mindanao, the Philippines, Diamond repeatedly distinguished himself by his actions in battle and by volunteering for hazardous assignments, such as evacuating wounded and repairing a bridge under heavy fire. On May 14, Diamond was killed after running through intense hostile fire to reach an abandoned machine gun during a mission to evacuate wounded soldiers. For these actions, he was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor on March 6, 1946. PFC Diamond, aged 20 at his death, is buried in Evergreen Cemetery, Gulfport, Mississippi.
Original Story and Photos by Staff Sgt. Sierra A. Melendez,
50th Public Affairs Detachment, 3rd Infantry Division Public Affairs.
(From left to right) Dr. Christy Huddleson, Department of Defense Education Activity Americas Southeast District Superintendent; Col. Jason A. Wolter, Fort Stewart garrison commander; Nathanial Aguilar, Diamond Elementary student; Ms. Kathleen Reiss, DoDEA Americas South Carolina/Fort Stewart community superintendent; Shalayah Dukes, Diamond Elementary student; Scott Evers, great nephew of Pvt. 1st Class James H. Diamond; Kelly Strozier, great niece of Pvt. 1st Class James H. Diamond; and Jarrod Gruber, great-great nephew of Pvt. 1st Class James H. Diamond, cut a ribbon formally celebrating the opening of the modern, state-of-the-art James H. Diamond Elementary School at Fort Stewart, Georgia, Aug. 24, 2017. After a three-year-long building phase, the school officially opened for the 2017-2018 school year. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Sierra A. Melendez.)
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