In Memory of
U.S. Naval Commander Cavour, South Dakota
Beadle County

April 5, 1916--February 1, 1953
Killed in Action in Korea

John Carl Micheel was born on April 5, 1916, in Huron, South Dakota, to August and Lizzie Micheel. He was the ninth of ten children. He grew up on a farm where he had lots of jobs, from milking cows to working in the fields. He attended schools in Cavour and is remembered for being a good student and basketball player as well as for driving his Model T Ford.

Micheel first enlisted into the Navy on August 15, 1933, at Council Bluffs, Iowa, and was trained at radio school in San Diego. In 1934 he was assigned to the USS Chicago among other surface vessels. After passing written tests, he was admitted to the US Naval Academy at Annapolis and graduated in 1940. During World War II, Commander Micheel was in charge of a sea plane tender. From 1946 to 1948, he was an executive officer in Torpedo Squadron 74 based on USS Midway until he reported for duty in Washington, DC, first based at the Department of the Navy and later at the Pentagon. Micheel then completed more training at Staff College in Norfolk, Virginia; Corpus Christi, Texas; and Pensacola, Florida. Commander Micheel reported for active duty in the Pacific in December of 1951.

Assigned as commanding officer of Attack Squadron 921 based on the USS Oriskany, Micheel piloted an AD-3 Skyraider Dive Bomber. On February 1, 1953, Commander John Carl Micheel was hit with enemy fire on the wing of his bomber while planning an attack on the enemy bridge in the area of North Korea. The plane went down and crashed, and he was reported killed in action, although his remains were never recovered. For his gallantry, he was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, which was accepted by his father, August, Sr. The citation read, in part:

Commander Micheel aggressively pressed home his attack in the face of intense and accurate anti-aircraft fire and scored two direct hits, completely destroying a large section of the bridge. Killed in action when his aircraft was forced out of control after sustaining a direct hit from the heavy fire, Commander Micheel, by his expert airmanship, outstanding courage and unswerving devotion to duty, materially aided the interdiction efforts of friendly forces against the enemy and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

Commander John Micheel has a memorial marker in the Black Hills National Cemetery near Sturgis and one at Cavour, his hometown. Besides the DFC, Cdr. Micheel was awarded the Purple Heart, the Korean Service Medal, the Combat Action Ribbon, the National Defense Service Medal, the Korean War Service Medal, and the World War II Victory Medal.

This entry was respectfully submitted by Trevin Tetrault and Drew Fredericksen, 8th grade, Spearfish Middle School, Spearfish, South Dakota, May 20, 2004. Information for this entry was provided by the South Dakota National Guard Museum, American Battle Monuments Commission, and the memorial stone photo by Mrs. Hansen. Additional information and profile approval provided by August Micheel, Jr., Huron, brother.