Mike Christian was born on October 17, 1940, in Huntsville, Alabama. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy on January 28, 1958, and was trained as an aviation electronics technician. His first assignment was to NAF Annapolis, Maryland, where he served on an SA-16 Albatross crew from January 1959 to June 1960, when he was selected for the Naval Enlisted Scientific Education Program (NESEP). Christian completed his Bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering through the NESEP program at Purdue University in January 1964, and then completed Officer Candidate School and was commissioned an Ensign in June 1964. He served as an Electronics Maintenance Officer aboard the destroyer USS Dahlgren (DLG-12) from July 1964 to August 1965, and then entered Naval Flight Officer School at NAS Pensacola, Florida, in September 1965. LT Christian was designated a Naval Flight Officer in June 1966 and then completed Navigator-Bombardier training in the A-6 Intruder with VA-123 at Whidbey Island, Washington, and VA-42 at NAS Oceana, Virginia. He joined VA-85 aboard the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk (CVA-63) in February 1967 and began flying combat missions in Southeast Asia in March 1967. LT Christian was forced to eject over North Vietnam and was taken as a Prisoner of War on April 24, 1967. After spending 2,141 days in captivity, he was released during Operation Homecoming on March 4, 1973. He was briefly hospitalized at the U.S. Naval Hospital at Portsmouth, Virginia, and then joined VA-42 at NAS Oceana, where he served from October 1973 to June 1974. LCDR Christian then attended Old Dominion University for his post graduate studies from June 1974 to August 1976, followed by Armed Forces Staff College at Norfolk, Virginia, from August 1976 to January 1977. He then served as a Maintenance Officer at NAS Oceana from January to October 1977 and then at the Fleet Area Control and Surveillance Facility Virginia Capes from October 1977 until his retirement from the Navy on February 1, 1978. Mike Christian was killed in a house fire on September 4, 1983. He and his wife Charlotte had three daughters together-Deborah Kaye, Sandra Dawn, and Pamela Joan.
His 2nd Silver Star Citation reads:
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity while interned as a Prisoner of War in North Vietnam on 20 June 1969. His captors, completely ignoring international agreements, subjected him to extreme mental and physical cruelties in an attempt to obtain military information and false confessions for propaganda purposes. Through his resistance to those brutalities, he contributed significantly toward the eventual abandonment of harsh treatment by the North Vietnamese, which was attracting international attention. By his determination, courage, resourcefulness, and devotion to duty, he reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Naval Service and the United States Armed Forces.