Calvin L. Graham, who gained attention as the boy who lied so he could enlist in the Navy at age 12 during World War II, died Friday in his house in Fort Worth. He was 62 years old.
He died of heart failure, said his stepson, Ronnie O'Donley.
The young Mr. Graham was a gunner on the U.S.S. South Dakota while it was buffeted by the Japanese in the Battle of Guadalcanal in 1942. He was struck in the jaw and mouth by shrapnel while his battleship suffered 47 enemy hits. Though seriously wounded, he helped pull other crew members to safety.
The next year, the Navy discovered Mr. Graham's age. He became known to headline-writers as the "baby vet" after the Navy gave him a dishonorable discharge and revoked his disability benefits and his decorations, including a Purple Heart and Bronze Star. Sought Return of Medals
In later years he struggled to get the decorations and the benefits back and to get an honorable discharge, retroactively. He was aided by political figures like the Senators Lloyd Bentsen, a Democrat, and John G. Tower, a Republican, both of Texas.
In a 1978 interview, Mr. Graham said the discharge program for Vietnam War deserters had given him a hope of getting his discharge at last. He said he "damn sure" deserved one more than a deserter did.
Eventually, he got the discharge, and won back all his decorations, except the Purple Heart. In 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed legislation that granted him disability benefits.
Mr. Graham, the youngest of the six children in a farm family, was born in Canton, Tex., grew up in Crockett, Tex., and quit school there to join the Navy. For years after the war he sold subscriptions to Life, Look and other magazines by telephone.
In addition to Mr. O'Donley, he is survived by his wife of 24 years, the former Mary Winfield O'Donley; a stepdaughter, Lora O'Donley, both also of Fort Worth; a step-granddaughter; and a sister, Eve Lue Sharman of Polk County, Tex.