- Associated Press - Monday, April 28, 2014

LAMBERTVILLE, Mich. (AP) - Above the television set in Ed Krauel’s living room is a painting of a World War II battle scene. The image depicts an attack on two Navy P.T. boats somewhere in the seas near the Philippines. It shows a Japanese dive bomber flying low near two of the little boats, dropping explosives near them, causing water to splash violently.

Thirty-eight Japanese bombers attacked those two boats that day, Krauel told the Monroe News (http://bit.ly/1h9Tb40 ). He knows because he was there.

“We were supposed to have cover. We saw these planes coming and we thought they were our planes,” Krauel, 96, of Lambertville said.

But after seeing an emblem of the Japanese flag on the side of one plane, Krauel said he quickly realized they were in trouble.

“I tapped the gunner on the shoulder and I said, ‘Hey, Bill, those aren’t our planes. If they get too close, you open up on them’.”

Their boats were a little beat up that day, he said, but they didn’t lose any men. They shot down at least four of the planes.

“I look at that picture and I think that I’m lucky,” Krauel said. “People call us heroes, and I guess - looking back - I did do something. But when you’re over there in the middle of it, I was just trying to save my butt.”

It’s a tale his children have heard many times by now, but Krauel never shared his war stories until his kids were older. Once his children were married and having kids of their own, the stories continued to be passed on.

Somewhere along the way, something stuck, and the Krauels have become a military family of sorts. Their service spans across many conflicts and countries and into different branches of the military.

Krauel served in the Navy in WWII from 1942 to 1946 and again at the beginning of the Korean War from 1948 to the early 1950s.

Two of his sons, Jim and Mike, served in the Army.

Now, Krauel’s grandson, Ryan, has joined the Marines.

Krauel said watching his family bond over this commonality has brought him a lot of joy.

“I was worried because I knew how hard it would be for them, but I also knew the good about it,” he said. “It makes me proud.”

Krauel was living in Toledo when he received a draft letter from the Army. He reported for his physical evaluation, but after hearing it could be several months before he was called up, he decided to see what they Navy had to offer. His recruiters gave him 30 days to get his affairs in order before he shipped out for training. He was 23 at the time.

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