Michael Henry Krouse was born July 26, 1922 in Columbus Grove, Ohio. In 1942 he joined the Navy to train as a pilot determined to fly in the aftermath of the attack on Pearl Harbor. He was eventually assigned to a torpedo-bomber crew on board the USS Enterprise.
On Oct. 25, 1944, he and his wing man spotted a Japanese battleship while flying 20,000 feet over the ocean north of Leyte Gulf in the Philippines then swooped down just a few feet above the waves to fire torpedoes that severely damaged the ship.
“Undaunted by intense enemy anti-aircraft fire … Krouse pressed home vigorous attacks,” his Navy Cross citation reads. “His courage, expert airmanship and unwavering devotion to duty contributed to the success of his squadron in fulfilling this dangerous mission.”
The week before the Battle for Leyte Gulf, Krouse and his crew survived a night at sea in life rafts when they were forced to ditch their plane because it was running low on fuel on the return from a mission in Manila Bay.
Never wounded in combat, he amassed many medals for valor in World War II and the Korean War, including the Distinguished Flying Cross and seven Air Medals.
He later served as an executive officer and flight instructor for a training squadron and headed an aircraft maintenance unit at Alameda Naval Air Station, He retired as a Lieutenant Commander in 1963.