Edouard Isaacs was born on December 18, 1891, in Cresco, Iowa. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1915 and served on the battleships USS Kansas and USS Florida until 1917, when he served aboard the USS President Lincoln, a former German passenger liner fitted out as a troop transport. LT Isaacs was captured when USS President Lincoln was torpedoed and sunk by the German Submarine U-90 on May 21, 1918. He was taken to Germany as a Prisoner of War, making several escape attempts in the process. Isaacs finally escaped from a prison camp on October 6, 1918, made his way to Switzerland, then Paris, then London, and finally arrived in Washington, D.C., on November 11, 1918. LT Isaacs remained in the Navy after the war, serving at the Naval Gun Factory in Washington, D.C., until he was retired for disability in May 1921. Isaacs changed his family name to “Izac” in July 1925 and was advanced to Lieutenant Commander on the retired list in January 1936. Edouard Izacs served in Congress as a U.S. Representative from California from 1937 to 1947. He died on January 18, 1990 and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
His Medal of Honor Citation reads:
When the U.S.S. President Lincoln was attacked and sunk by the German submarine U-90, on 21 May 1918, Lt. Izac was captured and held as a prisoner on board the U-90 until the return of the submarine to Germany, when he was confined in the prison camp. During his stay on the U-90 he obtained information of the movements of German submarines which was so important that he determined to escape, with a view to making this information available to the U.S. and Allied Naval authorities. In attempting to carry out this plan, he jumped through the window of a rapidly moving train at the imminent risk of death, not only from the nature of the act itself but from the fire of the armed German soldiers who were guarding him. Having been recaptured and reconfined, Lt. Izac made a second and successful attempt to escape, breaking his way through barbed-wire fences and deliberately drawing the fire of the armed guards in the hope of permitting others to escape during the confusion. He made his way through the mountains of southwestern Germany, having only raw vegetables for food, and at the end, swam the River Rhine during the night in the immediate vicinity of German sentries.