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Richard C. Graves



In Memory of Richard C. Graves


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  • Name: Richard Campbell Graves
  • Rank/Branch: O1/US Navy Reserves
  • Unit: Attack Squadron 215, USS BON HOMME RICHARD (CVA-31)
  • Date of Birth: 05 August 1944 (Richmond VA)
  • Home City of Record: Sunderland MA
  • Date of Loss: 25 May 1967
  • Country of Loss: North Vietnam/Over Water
  • Loss Coordinates: 185359N 1054200E
  • Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
  • Category: 5
  • Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: A1H
  • Other Personnel in Incident: (None Missing)


Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 01 April 1990 from one or more of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews.


SYNOPSIS: Ensign Richard C. Graves was a pilot assigned to Attack Squadron 215 onboard the aircraft carrier USS Bon Homme Richard (CVA-31). On May 25, 1967, he launched in his A1H Skyraider on an armed coastal reconnaissance mission over North Vietnam. Ensign Graves was the wingman for Lt. O'Rourke on this mission. The flight was to seek out and destroy enemy water-borne logistics traffic.
The lead aircraft started an attack run on a small cargo boat with Ensign Graves immediately behind him. Graves fired rockets on and around the craft, then pulled out of the run in a normal manner. As the aircraft approached a wings level, climging position, the left wing started to drop and continued to lose altitude until it made contact with the water. The aircraft exploded on impact and burst into flames.
Under the circumstances, Ensign Graves was unable to exit the plane. An immediate search and rescue effort was started with the assistance of other A1 aircraft and a rescue helicopter in the area. During the search, they were taken under fire from three anti-aircraft batteries located on the coast about a mile from the crash scene. It is probable that Graves' aircraft was hit by these batteries during the pull-out from his rocket attack.
Ensign Richard Graves is listed with honor among the missing because no remains were found. His case seems quite clear. For others who are listed missing, resolution is not as simple. Many were known to have survived their loss incident. Quite a few were in radio contact with search teams and describing an advancing enemy. Some were photographed or recorded in captivity. Others simply vanished without a trace.
Reports continue to mount that we abandoned hundreds of Americans to the enemy when we left Southeast Asia. While Graves may not be among them, one can imagine his proud willingness to fly one more mission to help bring them home.


Thanks to Ron Fleischer.


"All Biographical and loss information on POWs provided by Operation Just Cause have been supplied by Chuck and Mary Schantag of POWNET. Please check with POWNET regularly for updates."

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