General Kruzel served a the Myrtle Beach Air Force Base as Vice Commander and then Commander of the 354th Tactical Fighter Wing during the period July 1961 to April 1963. He graduated from the University of Scranton in Scranton, Pennsylvania in 1939 and entered the Air Corps in Army May 1940. After completing pilot training, he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant and assigned to the Far East. When World War II began, he flew P-40 fighter combat missions from bases in the Philippines, Northern Australia and Java against the Japanese Air Force. He logged more than 175 combat hours flying against Japanese fighter aircraft and shot down at least one Japanese Zero. In November 1943, he went to England where he flew the P-47 and P-51 fighter aircraft. During this combat tour in the European Theater, he shot down four German fighter aircraft which, coupled with the kill of the Japanese fighter made him a World War II Fighter Ace. Other important assignments carried out by General Kruzel included Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations at Headquarters, Pacific Air Forces, and Director of Operations, Headquarters United States Air Force. His military decorations include the Silver Star with two oak leaf clusters, Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross with oak leaf cluster, Air Medal with three
oak leaf clusters and the Bronze Star Medal.