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James Graff

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Captain James Howard Graff

Marengo, IL

Capt. Graff was born on June 21, 1939 in Pittsburgh, PA and is the son of the late Howard and Geraldine Lea Graff. He was of the Presbyterian faith. Prior to entering the Air Force, Capt. Graff graduated from Case Institute of Technology in Ohio, where he earned a degree in Management Science. He was also a member of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity. Once out of college he entered the US Air Force where he became a pilot. On October 3, 1965, on the plane First Lt. Graff co-piloted failed to arrive at Nha Trang Air Base. All five crewmembers were then listed as Missing in Action. While in MIA status, First Lt. Graff was promoted to the rank of Captain. On October 11, 1965 a recovery team located the wreckage of the C130E aircraft appox. 40 miles south of Nha Trang and approx. 12 miles northeast of Phan Rang, RVN. There were no survivors and comingled human remains were recovered. Capt. James H. Graff and the other crew members were buried in a mass grave in Arlington National Cemetery on October 26, 1965. From 1985-1996, the CIL received human remains from numerous unilateral sources - primarily refugees fleeing Southeast Asia - that were purported to be the remains of US Military personnel lost in the vicinity of Khanh Hoa Province, Vietnam. Not having the technology to resolve these cases during this time period, the CIL placed the remains in a Hold status pending future developments. In addition to the remains, an identification card with the name James H. Graff and thumbprints, as well as a tooth, was turned over by a CA congressman in 1996. In 2001, after improvements to DNA testing procedures were made, a DNA sample was obtained from Geraldine Graff, mother of Captain Graff. In January 2011, dental and skeletal remains were positively associated to Captain Graff. On February Feb. 22, 2011, Jim's daughter Lora, was notified by a representative of the Air Force Mortuary Affairs office that her father's remains had been positively identified. Capt. James Howard Graff received a Purple Heart and the Distinguished Flying Cross for his honorable military service. He is survived by two daughters: Lora (Brad) Booher of Greenville and Janette (Robert J.) Wenger of Fort Walton Beach, FL; six grandchildren: Jessica Troxel, Ryan Finch, Aaron Finch, Kristen Booher, Megan Booher, and Caleb Booher; one brother: David (Ellen) Graff of Los Gatos, CA; one sister: Carol (John) Freimark of Longmont, CO.

Funeral services will be conducted on June 4, 2011 at 11:00 AM at the M.J. Dolly Cooper Veterans Cemetery in Anderson, SC. Flowers are not accepted at the cemetery. Therefore, the family request that memorials be made to the: Rolling Thunder 10 Crossvine Way Simpsonville, SC 29680.

Published in The Greenville News on June 2, 2011
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