Thursday, February 16, 2012

TFH 2/16: Second Lieutenant Terrence C. Graves, USMC

Terrence Collinson Graves was born in Corpus Christi, TX on July 6, 1945. As a boy, his family moved to New York, where he spent his formative years. After graduating from high school he attended Miami University in Oxford, OH.

Graves' service to our Nation began with his participation in the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps at Miami University. A distinguished student and midshipman, he was posted as the NROTC Battalion Commander his senior year.

Upon graduation from college in April 1967, he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps. By December of that year, he was sent to lead Marines fighting in Vietnam.

On Feburary 16, 1968, Lieutenant Graves had only been in Vietnam for two months. Serving with the 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, this day found Graves and the patrol he was leading in a fierce engagement with the enemy. His inexperience showed not.

From Medal of Honor Citations for the Vietnam War (A-L):


Rank and organization: Second Lieutenant, U.S. Marine Corps, 3d Force Reconnaissance Company, 3d Reconnaissance Battalion, 3d Marine Division (Rein), FMF. Place and date: Quang Tri Province, Republic of Vietnam, 16 February 1968. Entered service at: New York Born: 6 July 1945, Corpus Christi, Tex. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as a platoon commander with the 3d Force Reconnaissance Company. While on a long-range reconnaissance mission, 2d Lt. Graves' 8-man patrol observed 7 enemy soldiers approaching their position. Reacting instantly, he deployed his men and directed their fire on the approaching enemy. After the fire had ceased, he and 2 patrol members commenced a search of the area, and suddenly came under a heavy volume of hostile small arms and automatic weapons fire from a numerically superior enemy force. When 1 of his men was hit by the enemy fire, 2d Lt. Graves moved through the fire-swept area to his radio and, while directing suppressive fire from his men, requested air support and adjusted a heavy volume of artillery and helicopter gunship fire upon the enemy. After attending the wounded, 2d Lt. Graves, accompanied by another marine, moved from his relatively safe position to confirm the results of the earlier engagement. Observing that several of the enemy were still alive, he launched a determined assault, eliminating the remaining enemy troops. He then began moving the patrol to a landing zone for extraction, when the unit again came under intense fire which wounded 2 more marines and 2d Lt. Graves. Refusing medical attention, he once more adjusted air strikes and artillery fire upon the enemy while directing the fire of his men. He led his men to a new landing site into which he skillfully guided the incoming aircraft and boarded his men while remaining exposed to the hostile fire. Realizing that 1 of the wounded had not embarked, he directed the aircraft to depart and, along with another marine, moved to the side of the casualty. Confronted with a shortage of ammunition, 2d Lt. Graves utilized supporting arms and directed fire until a second helicopter arrived. At this point, the volume of enemy fire intensified, hitting the helicopter and causing it to crash shortly after liftoff. All aboard were killed. 2d Lt. Graves' outstanding courage, superb leadership and indomitable fighting spirit throughout the day were in keeping with the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country. 

Terrence Graves rests today in Woodlawn Cemetery, Hamilton, New York. He is also honored on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in our Nation's capital, where his name is inscribed on Panel 39E, Line 71. The 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion today serves in defense of our Nation from their home base on Okinawa.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.