HOMECOMING of CPT James Howard Graff, USAF

From Vernon Brickey:

Subj: PGR Statewide – SC NC GA TN VA: CPT James Howard Graff, USAF,

MIA Vietnam, Greenville SC – 02, 04 JUN 2011


HOMECOMING of CPT James Howard Graff, United States Air Force,

Missing In Action More Than Forty Years

Not very far from Nha Trang in Kanh Hoa Province there is a ravine.

Near the bottom of that ravine it is very dark.  Very little sunlight can make

it through the jungle canopy.  Even in the middle of the day the light down

there is subdued. On 03 OCT 1966 an American C-130 crashed there and fell

to the bottom of the ravine.  CPT James Howard Graff was the pilot of that

aircraft and he died in the crash.

And there he lay in the darkness, alone in the jungle. His family never knowing

where or how or, on some days, if he died.

After more than forty years in the jungle at the bottom of that ravine,

Captain Graff is coming home. Home to South Carolina.  Home to a family

that now knows the truth; the answers to all those questions.

Home to a proper burial in soil that is familiar to his spirit.

It has been so long.  Listed as MIA – Missing In Action – CPT Graff, we now know,

was actually KIA – Killed In Action – way back in 1966.

Funerals are sad occasions always but this one will have a definite note of joy.

The Captain is finally coming home.  He who was missing has been found.

And you can be a part of this homecoming.  The Patriot Guard in conjunction

with Rolling Thunder will conduct an Honor Mission for

James Howard Graff, Captain, United States Air Force next week.

The family has requested our presence.  They wish to hear the rumble.


Mission Details


Staging Location:                    Waffle House

3310 Mulberry Church Road (I-85 Exit 33 – Billy Graham Pkwy)

Charlotte NC

Staging Time:                         1600 (4PM)

Briefing:                                 1630

Kickstands Up:                       1645

Aircraft ETA:                           1712 (5:12PM)

Escort:                                   95 miles to Greenville SC with LEO Escort

- prepare for interstate speeds

Ride Captain:                          Keith Arbuckle





Staging Location:                   Graceland Mortuary

4814 White Horse Road

Greenville SC

Staging Time:                        1800 (6PM)

Briefing:                                1845

Flag Line:                              1915

Escort:                                  None – Establish and hold Flag Line

for CPT Graff’s arrival.

Ride Captain:                         Ricky Velez






Staging Location:                 Graceland Mortuary

4814 White Horse Road

Greenville SC

Staging Time:                      0800  (8AM)

Briefing:                              0830

Flag Line:                            0845

Family Arrives:                    0915 Family Escort provided

by Rolling Thunder

Kickstands Up:                   0945

Escort:                               35 miles to MJ ‘Dolly’ Cooper Veterans Cemetery

Ride Captain:                      Ricky Velez





– M.J. ‘Dolly’ Cooper Veterans Cemetery – ANDERSON SC

Staging Location:               M.J. ‘Dolly’ Cooper Veterans Cemetery

140 Inway Drive

Anderson SC 29621

Staging Time:                    0945 (9:45AM)

Briefing:                            1015

Flag Line:                          1030

Ride Captain:                     Bill Hopkins




As you can see, this is a complex mission.  Each element is equally important.

It’s been more than forty years that this family has waited for the Homecoming

of CPT Graff.  It is our duty to make this special.They deserve to see our

presence at the Airport and on the Escort down Interstate 85.

They need to be  greeted with a sea of Red, White and Blue  when they

arrive at Graceland Mortuary in Greenville.

They need to see those flags and our riders on Saturday morning as they once

again arrive at the mortuary.And upon arrival at the cemetery they need to see

the largest display of flags yet.

How do we accomplish this?  How do we make sure that we don’t have some

elements of this mission overly attended while some have poor attendance?

Please go to the South Carolina Forum on this site.  Indicate there which

element of this mission you plan to attend.

This link will take you directily to the that thread if you are signed into the PGR site:


Randy Stevens
South Carolina Senior Ride Captain
Patriot Guard Riders

Web editor NOTE: You do not need to be a member of PGR to take

part in these events. But membership is welcome.

2 Responses to “HOMECOMING of CPT James Howard Graff, USAF”

  • I am writing about Capt. Graff as his sister lives her locally. I’d like to use your blog writing as part of the article. I’ve only just learned of the PGR and the Rolling Thunder and have such admiration. My hope is to show the honor given to Capt. Graff by you all and in turn, honor his sister with this article in our local community paper. May I use your writings?
    Kelly Martindale

  • sirwm says:

    KELLY, please know that this is not a MVVA writing. This post about Capt Graff is from The Patriot Guard Riders. If the article is not for profit I believe you could use it but you should credit the PGR and include the PGR website and info as listed, and perhaps, that you saw the information on the mvvanc.org. Thanks for visiting our website. Bill.

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WEDNESDAY 3rd: Regular Monthly Meeting, 1900hrs. VFW Post 9488, The Plaza, Charlotte.

TUESDAY 16th: TERRY BEAVER. Family greeting friends 10am -11am at Newell Baptist Church. Celebration of life begins at 11am. Burial to follow at the Church Cemetary.

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