Congressional Medal of Honor Society

Stories of Sacrifice

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Vietnam War - U.S. Marine Corps

James Albert Graham

  • Rank: Captain
  • Conflict/Era: Vietnam War
  • Unit/Command:
    Company F, 2d Battalion, 5th Marines,
    1st Marine Division (Rein) FMF
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Marine Corps
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: June 2, 1967
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: Quang Tin Province, Republic of Vietnam

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. During Operation Union II, the 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, consisting of Companies A and D, with Capt. Graham's company attached, launched an attack against an enemy-occupied position with two companies assaulting and one in reserve. Company F, a leading company, was proceeding across a clear paddy area 1,000 meters wide, attacking toward the assigned objective, when it came under fire from mortars and small arms which immediately inflicted a large number of casualties. Hardest hit by the enemy fire was the 2d platoon of Company F, which was pinned down in the open paddy area by intense fire from two concealed machine guns. Forming an assault unit from members of his small company headquarters, Capt. Graham boldly led a fierce assault through the second platoon's position, forcing the enemy to abandon the first machine-gun position, thereby relieving some of the pressure on his second platoon, and enabling evacuation of the wounded to a more secure area. Resolute to silence the second machine gun, which continued its devastating fire, Capt. Graham's small force stood steadfast in its hard-won enclave. Subsequently, during the afternoon's fierce fighting, he suffered two minor wounds while personally accounting for an estimated 15 enemy killed. With the enemy position remaining invincible upon each attempt to withdraw to friendly lines, and although knowing that he had no chance of survival, he chose to remain with one man who could not be moved due to the seriousness of his wounds. The last radio transmission from Capt. Graham reported that he was being assaulted by a force of 25 enemy soldiers; he died while protecting himself and the wounded man he chose not to abandon. Capt. Graham's actions throughout the day were a series of heroic achievements. His outstanding courage, superb leadership, and indomitable fighting spirit undoubtedly saved the second platoon from annihilation and reflected great credit upon himself, the Marine Corps, and the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

Medal of Honor Recipient James A. Graham
Medal of Honor Recipient James A. Graham
Additional Details
  • Accredited to: Prince Georges, Prince Georges County, Maryland
  • Awarded Posthumously: Yes
  • Presentation Date & Details: October 29, 1968

    Marine Barracks, Washington D.C., presented by Sec. of the Navy Paul R. Ignatius to his family

  • Born: August 25, 1940, Wilkinsburg, Allegheny County, PA, United States
  • Died: June 2, 1967, Republic of Vietnam
  • Buried: Arlington National Cemetery (MH) (13-8576-F), Arlington, VA, United States
  • Location of Medal: Charles H. Coolidge National Medal of Honor Heritage Center, Chattanooga, TN

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