Retired Navy Ensign Kristopher Krohne was commissioned in May 2000 out of the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps unit at George Washington University. He wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps by becoming a naval aviator and was given the honor of being one of the few naval officers chosen to be an exchange student pilot with the U.S. Air Force. Athletic, spirited and fun-loving, he was known as someone who could always make others laugh. His commanding officer remembers him as being one of the fastest runners in the squadron and always up for a challenge.
During Phase One of pilot training, parachute descents were practiced by parasailing behind a pickup truck. Ensign Krohne was the first student at Vance Air Force Base in Oklahoma to ever parasail on a 500-foot rope instead of the usual 300-foot rope. He was the first to volunteer to spin in the chair used to demonstrate how easily pilots can become disoriented when they do not have visual references. Later, he successfully soloed in the T-37 aircraft and smiled throughout the traditional, post-solo dunking.
Ensign Krohne was a Coronadan through and through, having attended Christ Church Elementary, Coronado Middle and Coronado High schools, graduating in 1995. He was part of Boy Scout Troop 806, was cast as the lead in several dramatic productions and loved dancing as well as hanging out with his friends.
He initially attended UC Santa Barbara where he showed off his skiing skills as part of the ski team while pursuing a degree in political science. Once he decided on a naval career, however, he transferred to George Washington University and became an intern in the office of then-U.S. Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-Calif.). This not only allowed him to join an NROTC unit, but also to get an early start on what he hoped would be a political career.
He was remembered by Bilbray as an “honorable and ambitious young man who died pursuing his dream of serving his country.” After Ensign Krohne’s death during his second solo flight on Sept. 6, 2000, Bilbray had a proclamation dedicated to him read into the Congressional Record of Sept. 14, 2000.