American Patriotic 10

       


Colonel Robert Paul Graham, USAF Ret.

February 25, 1922 ~ May 9, 2018 (age 96)
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Bob was born in Akron, New York on February 25, 1922 to Paul and Elva Graham. He was 4 months when his father was killed at work. He and his mother then moved into his Grandfather’s house, Ernest Tesnow. They lived on Bloomingdale Avenue on a small farm just outside of Akron, New York.

 

He attended Akron High School.  When he was in the 7th grade, his mother married Glen Dymond.  Glen Dymond had 4 children.  Douglas, Shirley, Dean and Ersel.  We lived in East Pembroke, New York where he attended and graduated from East Pembroke High School in 1939.  He was President of his Senior Class and played varsity basketball and baseball.

 

Upon graduation he went to work for his step dad at the Genesee Asphalt plant in Stafford, New York for 35 cents an hour.  He bought a 1935 Ford Sedan and paid for it while working at the Asphalt plant.

 

In 1940 he went to work for the US Gypsum Company in Akron, New York making 65 cents an hour.   He worked there 1 year and then went to work for the Curtis Wright Aero Corporation in Buffalo, New York.  He lived at the YMCA in Buffalo and made $2.00 an hour as a machinist.  He worked there from 1941 to 1943 when he enlisted in the US Army Air Corp.  He was called to active duty in October 1943.

 

His first duty station was at Fort Dix, New Jersey where he received his uniforms and learned how to march and make proper beds.  He was then transferred to Miami Beach, Florida and lived in the Tides Hotel for my testing to determine if he was qualified to be a pilot. He passed the test and went through the basic physical training.

 

He was then transferred to Clinton, South Carolina where he attended Presbyterian College and received training in navigation, physics and aircraft identification.

 

He was then transferred to Maxwell Air Force Base for Pre-Flight training in all phases necessary to becoming a pilot in the Army Air Corp. Upon completion of this training he as transferred to Carlstrom Field in Arcadia, Florida for primary flight training.  He successfully completed his flight training in a PT 13 Steeman’s.  He had 60 hours of solo flying.

 

He was then transferred to Moultrie, Georgia where training in the AT6 Aircraft began.  This Aircraft had retractable gear, hydraulic flaps and adjustable props.  He was then transferred to Turner, AFB in Albany, Georgia where he started training in the advanced phase of pilot training.

 

He flew the B25 Bomber in advanced flying training.  After completing a 150 hours of flying, he graduated from flying school in 1945 and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the Army Air Corp with an aeronautical rating of Pilot.

 

He was then transferred to Greensborough, New Carolina which was the overseas replacement depot for Europe in 1945,

 

He married his first wife, Betty while waiting overseas orders.

 

In 1945 he was sent to Wiesbaden, Germany.  World War II was just ending.  He was then sent to Tulin, AFB in Vienna, Austria.  Spent 13 months in Austria returning in 1947.  Discharged from the Army Air Corp and join the Army Air Corp Reserve.

 

Moved to California and went to work for the E. K. Wood Lumber Company in Alameda, California.  While there received a telegram from the US Army Air Corp Reserve advising I had been selected to receive a regular commission in the Army Air Corp.  He would be on 3 years probation and at the end of that time he would become a regular Army Air Corp 2nd Lieutenant.

 

He accepted the appointment and went to March Air Force Base in Riverside, California to be sworn in.  He was then sent to Berkstrom AFB in Austin, Texas where he served as the Special Services Officer for the Base.  While in Austin he had the opportunity to meet Congressman Lyndon Johnson.  He was promoted to 1st Lieutenant.

 

Received orders in October ’48 to report for duty at the Far East Headquarters in Tokyo, Japan where he was the Headquarters Commandant supervising all the maintenance for the Headquarters.  He played football, baseball and basketball for the Far East Tornados.  They were undefeated in Football and won the league Championship in Basketball and Baseball for 2 years.  Flew C47’s, C40’s and A16’s while stationed in Tokyo.  It was then the Korean War broke out.  Flew C47’s in support of the army in Korea.  During this time he was promoted to Captain.

 

Left Japan in October 1951 was stationed at March ATB, Riverside, California with the fourth Air Rescue Group flying PBY’s and C119’s.  Transferred to Hamilton, AFB, California in 1952 and was Director of Personnel for the 4th Air Rescue Group which had 3 squadrons.

 

In 1954 he was sent to Ramey AFB, Puerto Rico.  Flew with the 27th Rescue Squadron.  It was at this time that he learned the Pep (Robert Paul Graham, Jr., our oldest son) had leukemia.  He was air vacked to Walter Reid Hospital in Washington, D.C. he was then stationed at Bolling AFB.  He was the adjutant for the 1100th Maintenance Squadron test flying B25’s, C45’s, C47’s and T29’s.  While stationed at Bolling was promoted to Major.

 

In 1960 received orders in 1960 to report to Osan AFB in Korea where he served as the Inspector General and as General Tipton’s Executive Officer.

 

13 months later was sent back to Bolling AFB in Washington, D.C.  I was Director of Officer Personnel in Headquarters Command.  He served there till September 1966 when he received orders sending him PCS to Viet Nam.

 

He was stationed at Tan Son Nhut AFB, Saigon.  He flew with the 360th Tactical Electronic Reconnaissance Squadron.  Flew 110 missions over North Viet Nam.  These missions were low level from 1200 to 2000 feet.  These levels had to be flown so the electronic equipment would work accurately.  He received the Distinguished Flying Cross plus Oak Leaf Cluster, Air Medal with 5 clusters, Bronze Star and several other minor medals.  He was promoted to Lt. Colonel during this tour.

 

Returned to Washington, D.C. where he in October 1967 he married his “Dolly”, Gayle.  He was then stationed at Fort Belvoir, Virginia with the 1127th Special Activities Squadron.  In May of 1968 he was promoted to full Colonel and transferred back to Bolling Air Force Base in Washington, D.C. as Director of Personnel for 1100th Air Base Wing.

 

Was ordered by President Nixon to report to the Forestall Building in downtown Washington, D. to form the Defense Investigative Service. This Service was a combination of Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard investigative organizations.  Was awarded the Distinguish Service Medal.

 

He retired from the Air Force after 30 years service.

 

In July 1975 he and family moved to Florida. He immediately joined Suntree Country Club. At the time Suntree only had 9 holes and 1 house. He played golf at least twice a week and in his late eighties was still shooting under his age.

 

Bob is survived by his wife “Dolly” Gayle and his children Kathy, Jeff, Doug, Tom, Betsy, Mike, and 13 grandchildren with a great grandchild on the way.

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