Miami’s own hero receives highest honor
Published: Thursday, November 10, 2011
Updated: Friday, November 11, 2011 00:11
Fighting in a war is far from the minds of most Miami University students. We worry about class, work and friends. Few of us have the responsibility of fighting in a foreign country or protecting the lives of our comrades. Marine Second Lt. Terrance Graves was an exception. Graves, a 1967 graduate of Miami, posthumously received a Congressional Medal of Honor "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" in the Vietnam War.
The Congressional Medal of Honor is the highest award a member of the military can receive. Graves is the only Miami graduate to have received the award. His parents accepted the award on his behalf Dec. 2, 1969.
Graves was killed in action Feb. 16, 1968 while on a long-range reconnaissance mission near the Quang Tri Province of Vietnam. The Marine Corps announcement of the award said,
"When his (Graves') eight-man patrol ambushed seven enemy soldiers and was subsequently attacked by a numerically superior enemy force, Lt. Graves moved through a fire-swept area and called in air support and artillery fire. After attending the wounded, Lt. Graves and another Marine launched an assault against the surviving enemy soldiers. Later, Lt. Graves was wounded as the patrol came under attack a second time. Again, the lieutenant called in air strikes and artillery fire, while directing the fire of his own troops. Refusing medical attention, Lt. Graves led his men to a landing site and skillfully guided incoming aircraft...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, 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. 2nd 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."
Graves, born in Corpus Christi, Texas, was just 22 when he was killed. While at Miami, Graves received a Bachelor of Arts in history and English, was a member of Beta Theta Pi fraternity and played varsity baseball. He was also a member of the Inter-Fraternity Council and a commander of the Navy ROTC unit at Miami.