July 1970, I reported to Helicopter Training Squadron 8 (HT8) as a Flight Instructor flying UH1D’s (Huey’s.) Learning to fly an aircraft a fraction the size of a CH-53, while simultaneously instructing the student in the lesson being taught was challenging at first. We had to learn to repeat the maneuver description as it was written in the Students’ Procures Handbook, as we did the procedures in the aircraft. Once I got comfortable with the Huey it was a breeze. I enjoyed it so much, I would have stayed there and instructed for the rest of my working days if [...]
Initially I had received orders to Parris Island as a Recruit Company Commander. During my tour in VN, I had put in for flight training, so my orders were changed, and I went to NAS Pensacola. It was interesting to see the improvement in my hearing on my flight physical, once I got to Pensacola, compared to the one I took in Vietnam. I started flight school in June and received my wings as a helicopter pilot in May 1968. While in flight school, (according to Navy Times) I was one of only six 23-year old Captains in the USMC [...]
Now that I had graduated from college, a Marine school, and an Army school, it was time for the Mother of all Senior Trips. I flew commercial across the country to San Francisco in April 1966. I was wearing summer khakis and found S.F. to be quite chilly that time of the year. A Boeing 707 chartered from a commercial air carrier flew us to Okinawa, with a refueling stop in Guam. The seating was arranged for the maximum number of passengers and every single seat was full. There were no movies, no peanuts, and no fun. When we got [...]
In June 1965, I reported to the Marine Corps base at Quantico, Virginia, which is home to various training facilities for Marine officers, the Army’s Provost Marshal General, NCIS Headquarters, The DEA Training Academy, the FBI Academy, and the FBI Lab, as well as HMX-1, the unit that flies the President’s helicopters. We had to wait for the US Naval Academy midshipmen to graduate before starting Basic School. For two weeks we rode USMC buses into Washington, DC touring the various monuments and the Smithsonian Institute. It was a fantastic opportunity to visit DC and not have to worry about [...]
USN. Aviator 28 years active duty. Retired as Captain USN 2 cruises off Vietnam 1967-1969 flying A-4s from USS Coral Sea and USS Ranger. Met with Tulane NROTC classmate Rodney Chastant at Cubi O’Club just prior to Chastant being KIA in Vietnam. 3rd cruise off Vietnam 1972-1973 flying A-6s from USS America. Participated in Christmas bombing offensive. Shot down 23 January 1973; rescued by helo from USS America. Wounded when shot down, awarded Purple Heart Medal. January 23, 1973 was the day President Nixon announced he was going to sign the Treaty with North Vietnam. Graf's plane was the last [...]
USN. Aviator. Deceased 8 years active duty; 18 years reserve duty; Retired as Captain USNR. 2 tours Republic of Vietnam [RVN] late 1960s, early 1970s During RVN tours specialized in Prisoner of War [POW] recovery intelligence. Notably, he was the debrief officer for John McCain.
USN. 2 years active duty 1967-1969. During that period served aboard USS Long Beach CGN-9. Editor Note During the period 1967-1969 the USS Long Beach Had 2 WESTPAC deployments off coast of North Vietnam. In May 1968 and later in June 1968 shot down 2 MIGs with Talos missiles at range of 60+ miles.