Maurice E. Curts

Maurice E. Curts

Let it be known that it is with great respect and admiration that we honor Admiral Maurice E. Curts, U.S. Navy, upon his induction into the Michigan Military and Veterans Hall of Honor. Curts served a distinguished military career, including service during World War I and World War II. Indeed, his contribution to his country is a feat to which we all should aspire.

Maurice E. Curts, of Flint, Michigan, was born there on Friday, March 25, 1898. His father Edwin J. Curts represented the 13th District in the Michigan State Senate 1913-1914. Maurice received an appointment to the United States Naval Academy. During the summer of 1918, Curts served aboard the battleship USS Nevada (BB-36) as a during World War I. He graduated from the Naval Academy in June of 1919. Maurice served on the light cruiser USS Chester (CL-1), destroyers and onboard the aircraft carrier USS Saratoga (CV-3). Curts earned his master’s degree in electrical engineering from Harvard University in 1928. He commanded the USS Case (DD-370) training ship in San Diego, California.

Maurice was serving as the U.S. Pacific Fleet Communications Officer when Pearl Harbor was attacked on December 7, 1941. Curts was beside Admiral Husband E. Kimmel when a bullet bounced off Kimmel’s chest. Kimmel murmured “It would have been merciful had it killed me.” This incident is depicted in the movie “Tora, Tora, Tora.” He relayed messages from the Battles of Coral Sea and Midway to Kimmel’s successor Admiral Chester Nimitz. Maurice commanded the cruiser USS Columbia (CL-56) during landings on Leyte and during the Battle for Leyte Gulf October 17-29, 1944, as the ship sank a Japanese battleship, cruiser and six destroyers. Subsequent tours were as Commander, Cruisers-Destroyers, Deputy Commander and then Commander of the Pacific Fleet. Admiral Curts retired in 1960 as the Commander, Western Sea Frontier. He had been awarded two Distinguished Service Medals, Navy Cross for service commanding the Columbia, Silver Star, Bronze Star for developing a joint Army and Navy communications system, three awards of the Legion of Merit (one for establishing communications agreements between the U.S. military services and its allies) and the Purple Heart, with decorations from Argentina, Peru and Thailand. He was Director of Telecommunications Policy in the Office of the Secretary of Defense 1960-1965. The frigate USS Curts (FFG-38) was named for him. Maurice died in Las Gaviotas, Mexico on Sunday, February 15, 1976 at the age of 77.

Indeed, the patriotic contributions of Admiral Curts must be recognized, as in all who have served the United States of America in this capacity. The personal sacrifice so selflessly offered by these brave men and women for the preservation of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness must never be forgotten. Maurice Curts embraced the essence of American heroism and should be recognized as a role model by all individuals.

In special tribute, therefore, we honor Admiral Curts for his exemplary service to the United States of America, and to commemorate his induction into the Michigan Military and Veterans Hall of Honor.