Graham, Calvin, SN

 Service Photo   Service Details
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Last Rank
Last Primary NEC
SN-9700-Seaman - Infantry, Gun Crews, and Seamanship Specialists
Last Rating/NEC Group
Primary Unit
1942-1943, USS South Dakota (BB-57)
Service Years
1942 - 1943
Official/Unofficial US Navy Certificates

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

9 kb

Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Kent Weekly (SS/DSV) (DBF), EMCS to remember Graham, Calvin (12 year old sailor), SN.

If you knew or served with this Sailor and have additional information or photos to support this Page, please leave a message for the Page Administrator(s) HERE.
Contact Info
Home Town
Not Specified
Last Address
Born in Canton, Tx, grew up in Crockett, Tx. Died in Fort Worth, TX

Date of Passing
Nov 06, 1992
Location of Interment
Not Specified
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

 Official Badges 

 Unofficial Badges 

 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
Calvin Graham, 62, Who Fought in War As a 12-Year-Old 

Published: November 9, 1992

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.

Other Comments:
He enlisted in the US Navy at the age of 12.

If anyone has any other information about Calvin Graham please contact me..
 Photo Album   (More...

  1942, Recruit Training (San Diego, CA)
Recruit Training (San Diego, CA)

Company, Class or Division
Not Specified

Start Date 
Sep, 1942

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Last Updated:Jan 30, 2017
My Photos From This Recruit Training
Boot Camp Photo

  34 Also There at This Training:
Name Co Ptn Start Date
Changlin, Vincent, PO2 Sep, 1942
Colgan, William Winfield, PO2, (1942-1944) Sep, 1942
Cullen, Wilford J., PO3, (1942-1945) Sep, 1942
Gordon, Finley Arnold, PO3, (1939-1944) Sep, 1942
Hale, Donald Eugene, S1c, (1942-1943) Sep, 1942
Johnson, Russell Harry, HA1c, (1942-1944) Sep, 1942
Lee, James Luther, PO3, (1942-1943) Sep, 1942
Martorano, John, PO2, (1942-1945) Sep, 1942
Mueller, Carl, PO3, (1942-1945) Sep, 1942
Munns, Ivan Louis, PO3, (1942-1945) Sep, 1942
Patrick, Sr., Donald H., PO2, (1942-1945) Sep, 1942
Philpott, Gordon, PO2, (1942-1945) Sep, 1942
Shupe, Willard, PO3, (1942-1944) Sep, 1942
Wekluk, Michael, PO1, (1942-1946) Sep, 1942
Accardi, Vito Thomas, PO2, (1943-1944) Oct, 1942
Boone, Richard Allen, PO1, (1942-1945) Oct, 1942
Bowles, Edgar, PO2, (1942-1945) 1942 Oct, 1942
Buckner, Bennie, PO1, (1942-1956) 1942 Oct, 1942
Cox, Melvin, S1c, (1942-1946) Oct, 1942
Deen, Loyce Edward, PO2, (1942-1944) Oct, 1942
Hammill, Don, PO1, (1942-1945) 1942 Oct, 1942
Herwer, Alex, PO1, (1942-1946) 1942 Oct, 1942
Herwer, Robert, PO2, (1942-1945) 1942 Oct, 1942
Irvine, Laurence, PO3, (1942-1951) 56 Oct, 1942
Jackson, Arthur (Al), PO2, (1942-1945) Oct, 1942
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