Michael Christian was born on 17 October 1940 in Huntsville, Alabama. He joined the U.S. Navy in January 1958. Michael Christian attended U.S. Naval Officer Candidate School in Newport, Rhode Island in 1964, being commissioned as an ensign in the U.S. Navy. Lieutenant Christian was assigned to Attack Squadron Eighty Five embarked on the USS Kitty Hawk in combat operations against North Vietnam. During aerial combat over North Vietnam, Lieutenant Christian demonstrated great bravery, earning ten valor awards, including two Silver Stars for gallantry in action, three Bronze Stars with V Device for valor, four Air medals with V Device for valor and one Navy Commendation Medal with V Device for valor. Then Lieutenant Christian was shot down over North Vietnam in April 1967, earning a Purple Heart for combat wounds, and spent six years as a POW. LCDR Christian retired from the US Navy in 1978.