Norman Kleiss file photo [25799]

Norman Kleiss

Given NameNorman
Born7 Mar 1916
Died22 Apr 2016
CountryUnited States


ww2dbaseNorman Kleiss was born in Coffeyville, Kansas, United States in Mar 1916. His early affinity to working with tools landed him an apprenticeship as a toolmaker. In 1931, he joined the Kansas National Guard, and he was assigned to 114th Cavalry Regiment. He was then accepted into the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, United States, graduating in 1938. As a midshipman, he served aboard USS Arkansas, followed by assignment aboard USS Vincennes, USS Goff, and USS Yarnall. After completing the requirement of two years at sea, he received flight training at Pensacola and Opa-locka in Florida, United States. In 1941, in the US Territory of Hawaii, he mistakenly thought he had permission to land at an airstrip when the runway was actually blocked by several stationary US Marine Corps aircraft. He made a safe landing by swerving off the runway, kicking up a large cloud of dust. He was nicknamed "Dusty" after this incident after the surprised air traffic controller exclaimed "Unknown dust cloud, who the hell are you?" over the radio. In May 1941, he was assigned to fly SBD dive bombers aboard USS Enterprise. During the American raids on Japanese positions in the Marshall Islands, he scored a hit on a Japanese warship; for this achievement he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. During the Battle of Midway, Lieutenant (jg) Kleiss scored bomb hits on Japanese carrier Kaga (hitting near the forward elevator), carrier Hiryu, and cruiser Mikuma; for this achievement, he was awarded the Navy Cross. He married his wife Jean in Las Vegas, Nevada, United States later in 1942. He retired from military service at the rank of captain. In 2007, he met with Kaname Harada, a Japanese fighter ace who had flown against him during the Battle of Midway. His wife Jean passed away in 2006. Kleiss passed away in San Antonio, Texas, United States in Apr 2016.


Last Major Revision: Apr 2016

Norman Kleiss Timeline

7 Mar 1916 Norman Kleiss was born in Coffeyville, Kansas, United States.
7 Mar 2016 Norman Kleiss received a congratulatory telephone call from former US President George H. W. Bush for his 100th birthday.
22 Apr 2016 Norman Kleiss passed away in San Antonio, Texas, United States.

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More on Norman Kleiss
Event(s) Participated:
» Battle of Midway and the Aleutian Islands

Ship(s) Served:
» Enterprise
» Saratoga
» Vincennes

Famous WW2 Quote
"We no longer demand anything, we want war."

Joachim von Ribbentrop, German Foreign Minister, Aug 1939