Congressional Medal of Honor Society

Stories of Sacrifice

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Vietnam War - U.S. Marine Corps

Terrence Collinson Graves

  • Rank: Second Lieutenant
  • Conflict/Era: Vietnam War
  • Unit/Command:
    3d Force Reconnaissance Company, 3d Reconnaissance Battalion,
    3d Marine Division (rein) FMF
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Marine Corps
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: February 16, 1968
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: Quang Tri Province, Republic of Vietnam
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' eight-man patrol observed seven 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 two patrol members commenced a search on the area, and suddenly came under a heavy volume of hostile small-arms and automatic-weapons fire from a numerically superior enemy force. When one 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 two 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 one 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. Second 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.
Medal of Honor Recipient Terrence C. Graves
Medal of Honor Recipient Terrence C. Graves
Additional Details
  • Accredited to: New York
  • Awarded Posthumously: Yes
  • Presentation Date & Details: December 2, 1969
    The White House, presented by Vice Pres. Spiro T. Agnew to his family
  • Born: July 6, 1945, Corpus Christi, Nueces County, TX, United States
  • Died: February 17, 1968, Republic of Vietnam
  • Buried: Woodlawn Cemetery (MH) , Hamilton, NY, United States
  • Location of Medal: Millett Hall (NROTC/Room 48), Miami University, Oxford, OH

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