Mike Estocin was born on April 27, 1931, in Turtle Creek, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Slippery Rock State Teachers College in 1954, and entered the Naval Aviation Cadet program on June 11, 1954. Estocin was commissioned an Ensign in the U.S. Navy and awarded his pilot wings at NAS Chase Field, Texas, on September 28, 1955, and remained there for additional training until June 1956, when he joined VA-56 at NAS Miramar, California. LT Estocin remained with VA-56 until December 1959, during which time he flew F9F-8B Cougar, FJ-4B Fury, and A4D Skyhawk attack aircraft, and made one Western Pacific deployment aboard the aircraft carrier USS Bon Homme Richard (CVA-31) from July to December 1957. He then joined VA-126, a training squadron flying the F9F-8 and F9F-8T Cougar, where he served from December 1959 to September 1961, followed by service in VA-125, training A-4 Skyhawk pilots, until January 1963. Estocin then attended training at the Fleet Anti-Air Warfare Training Center in San Diego before serving aboard the aircraft carrier USS Ranger (CVA-61) from June 1963 to June 1965. He then joined the Replacement Air Group of VA-125 before being assigned to VA-192, the World Famous Golden Dragons, where he deployed on two Western Pacific/Vietnam cruises between December 1965 and April 1967, the first aboard the USS Bon Homme Richard, and the second aboard the USS Ticonderoga (CVA-14). LCDR Estocin was killed in action over North Vietnam on April 26, 1967, but was officially listed as Missing in Action until November 10, 1977, when he was declared dead. During this time he was promoted to the rank of Captain and was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. His remains have never been returned. The guided-missile frigate USS Estocin (FFG-15) was named in his honor. Mike Estocin was survived by his wife, Quay Marie, and three daughters-Kathryn, Mary, and Susan.
His Medal of Honor Citation reads:
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty on 20 and 26 April 1967 as pilot in Attack Squadron ONE HUNDRED NINETY-TWO, embarked in USS TICONDEROGA (CVA-14). Leading a three-plane group of aircraft in support of a coordinated strike against two thermal power plants in Haiphong, North Vietnam, on 20 April 1967, Captain (then Lieutenant Commander) Estocin provided continuous warnings to the strike group leaders of the surface-to-air missile (SAM) threats, and personally neutralized three SAM sites. Although his aircraft was severely damaged by an exploding missile, he reentered the target area and relentlessly prosecuted a SHRIKE attack in the face of intense antiaircraft fire. With less than five minutes of fuel remaining he departed the target area and commenced inflight refueling which continued for over one hundred miles. Three miles aft of TICONDEROGA, and without enough fuel for a second approach, he disengaged from the tanker and executed a precise approach to a fiery arrested landing. On 26 April 1967, in the support of a coordinated strike against the vital fuel facilities in Haiphong, he led an attack on a threatening SAM site, during which his aircraft was seriously damaged by an exploding SAM; nevertheless, he regained control of his burning aircraft and courageously launched his SHRIKE missiles before departing the area. By his inspiring courage and unswerving devotion to duty in the face of grave personal danger, Captain Estocin upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.