Ralph J. Michalski enlisted in the Navy in 1941. Being assigned to the USS St. Louis, a naval cruiser. On December 7, 1941 the St. Louis was docked at Pearl Harbor, just returning from maneuvers. She was one of the only ships to escape being bombed. Due to the captain and crew's quick reaction while defending the harbor, they were able to get out safely, while avoiding the bombing that was going on around them. Earning her the nickname, The Lucky Lou. On November 27, 1944 while cruising the pacific the Lucky Lou was disabled by torpedoes and Kamikaze fighter jets. Leaving the crew floating in the water for 3 days, with limited life rafts to share and taking turns in them. They encountered additional bombing while fending off shark attacks while trying to survive. Ralph ended up with heart and internal injuries, causing him to have a heart attack, and spending two months in the naval hospital. On January 23, 1945 was honorably discharged, leaving him with future heart attacks and other medical problems. Ralph died at the age of 72 on July 14, 1994 and is buried at Wood National Cemetery.