Michael -- 1st Lt Edward S Michael


Edward Michael graduated from Chicago High School in 1936, enlisted in November 1940, and became a B-17 pilot after training at Douglas, Ariz He went to England in 1943, with the 305th Bomb Group and earned a number of decorations for combat missions, including the Distinguished Flying Cross, five Air Medals and the nation's highest award, the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life on a heavy bomb mission to occupied Germany in April 1944.

The group then-Lieutenant Michael was flying with that day was hit by a swarm of enemy fighters who appeared to single out his B-17 which was riddled from nose to tail with exploding cannon shells and knocked out of formation. As Colonel Michael's plane lost altitude, enemy fighters followed it down, blasting it with additional fire which wounded the copilot, wrecked the flying instruments, and injured Lieutenant Michael seriously and painfully in the right thigh. With smoke filling the cockpit, controls failing to respond and the entire bomb bay in flames and additional explosions imminent, Lieutenant Michael gave the order to bail out. and seven crew members did The bombardier remained in the Fortress as his parachute had been riddled.

The citation for the Medal of Honor tells the rest of the story best: "Realizing if the plane was abandoned, the bombardier would perish, Lieutenant Michael decided the only chance would be a crash-landing. Completely disregarding his own painful and profusely bleeding wounds, he gallantly evaded the enemy, using violent evasive action despite the battered condition of his plane. After the plane had been under sustained enemy attack for fully 4O minutes Lieutenant Michael finally lost the persistent fighters in a cloud bank. Upon emerging, an accurate barrage of flak caused him to come down to treetop level where flak towers poured a continuous rain of fire on the B-17. He continued into France.. flying the plane until he became exhausted from the loss of blood which had formed on the floor in pools . . . and he lost consciousness. The copilot succeeded in reaching England and sighted an RAF field near the coast. Lieutenant Michael finally regained consciousness and insisted upon taking over the controls to land the plane. The undercarriage was useless; the bomb-bay doors were jammed open; the hydraulic system and altimeter were shot out. In addition, there was no airspeed indicator, the ball turret was jammed with the guns pointing downward and the flaps would not respond. Despite these apparently insurmountable obstacles, he landed the plane without mishap."

Michael returned to the United States for hospitalization at Bradley Field, Conn., and Mitchel Field, N.Y., as a captain, he returned to duty ferrying aircraft from Love Field, Dallas, Texas, and after the war served at Fort Totten, Wash. in operations involving cargo and passenger flights. In April 1949, he graduated from Air University and for the next three years was a pilot for MATS' 1729th Air Transport Squadron at Hill AFB, Utah. Then-Captain Michael went overseas again in September 1952 as Operations Officer for the 1503rd Support Squadron at Guam; then went to Hickam Field, Hawaii, as deputy and finally chief of the Reserve Affairs Branch at Headquarters 1500th Air Base Wing.

In June 1955, he returned to the United States to comment a recruiting group detachment at Fort Douglas, Utah, and a crew training group at McConnell AFB, Kan., now in the rank of major. At McConnell in August 1957, he took B-47 transition and then became Special Assistant to the Deputy Commander of the 4347th Combat Crew Training Wing. In December 1958, Major Michael went to Travis AFB, Calif. as a Motor Vehicle Officer. Five months later he was assigned to Headquarters 1501st Air Terminal Squadron at Travis, and on Aug. 1, 1963, was promoted to lieutenant colonel.

See the
full citation at the Congressional Medal of Honor Society website.