1st Lt. Terry Graves
KIA-16 February 1968

GRAVES, TERRENCE COLLINSON *


Rank and organization: Second Lieutenant, U.S. Marine Corps, 3rd Force Reconnaissance Company, 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, 3rd Marine Division (Rein),
Place and date: Quang Tri Province, Republic of Vietnam, 16 February 1968
Entered service at: New York
Born: 6 July 1945, Corpus Christi, Texas

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 3rd Force Reconnaissance Company. While on a long-range reconnaissance mission, 2ndLt. 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 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 one of his men was hit by the enemy fire, 2nd 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, 2ndLt. 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 2ndLt. 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, 2ndLt. 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. 2ndLt. 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."

On February 15, 1968, 2ndLt. Terry Graves led a 3rd Force Recon team of eight Marines on a walk-out from Dong Ha, heading east. Soon the patrol came across a small group of North Vietnamese Army soldiers. The patrol quickly set up an ambush and killed seven NVA. However, the first group of NVA was apparently an advance group of a much larger NVA infantry force. The patrol quickly found themselves surrounded by force of an estimated company size. Casualties quickly mounted among Graves' team. They suffered five killed, three wounded, and a helicopter shot down.
From Larry Vetter's "Never Without Heroes", Marine Third Reconnaissance Battalion in Vietnam, 1965-70: