Gilbert James Graham

United States Navy
24 February 1946 - 28 September 1967
Anaheim, California
Panel 27E Line 024



TF 116
Gilbert James Graham

Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Gilbert James Graham

10 Dec 2001

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Seaman Gilbert Graham and Engineman Second Class Joseph Musetti were crewmembers aboard River Patrol Boat 100 (PBR-100). On the afternoon of 28 September 28, 1967, Graham was the forward gunner on a routine patrol of the Mekong River approximately five miles northeast of Vinh Long, South Vietnam.

PBR-100 was investigating watercraft near the mouth of a canal when it was hit by three rocket rounds. The explosion and fire consumed the boat and made it impossible to remove the bodies. From the survivors of the incident, it was determined that Graham and Musetti were killed instantly when the rockets exploded nearby. Both crewmen were declared Killed in Action/Body Not Recovered.

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From Hal and Maddy

14 Oct 2003

Hi - I am proud to say that I served with these two courageous young men on that terrible day. Our two boat patrol went north and they went south on the river. There's not a day that goes by that I don't think of that morning.

From a friend,
Vincent J. Longobardo (Buddha)
345 W. Trenton Avenue, Morrisville, Pa 19067

23 Jan 2006

Gil and I were good friends between 1961 and 1967. We spent many memorable days surfing, fishing or playing sandlot football. If you know the complete story of Gil's final mission you know how brave and ready for action he always was. The first memorial service for Gil was abruptly halted when his status was changed from 'killed' to 'missing' in action. Apparently, someone was seen swimming away from the patrol boat and there was hope that it was Gil. Everyone at the service was overjoyed but that report proved to be incorrect and a month later the memorial sevice was held again. Gil was a happy, fun-loving friend and his memory has not faded - even after forty years.

From a friend,
Chuck Dickerson

13 Oct 2006

I am Gil's widow, and I would like to say what a wonderful person Gil was and will always be in my heart. I think of him each and every day and I was very proud of him. If there is anyone who knew Gil he will know what I am talking about. He was very much loved.

Carol D. Orrell

28 Sep 2007

Dear Gil,

Well, here it is 40 years after we lost you and we still miss and love you as much as ever!

Love Always from your sister, Wendy

Wendy Graham

A Note from The Virtual Wall

The US Naval Forces Vietnam command history for September 1967 contains this account of the incident:
"During the afternoon of 28 September, PBRs 86 and 100 were investigating sampan traffic in the Cai Coi Canal off of the Mekong River about five miles north of Vinh Long. While in the process of checking a sampan, PBR 100 was ambushed with a B-40 rocket and small arms fire. The PBRs evaded to the west to clear the ambush site. Four Navy UH-1B armed helicopters scrambled to escort the river boats as they transitted back through the enemy positions to reenter the main river. Upon approaching the ambush site, a B-40 rocket struck the lead boat, PBR 100, inside the coxswain's flat and exploded. Three U. S. sailors and one Vietnamese policeman were blown over the side from the explosion which started a raging fire aboard the craft. PBR 100 went out of control and beached on the south side of the river, where it was completely consumed by fire. Meanwhile PBR 86 recovered the three U. S. sailors from the water as the overhead helicopters made attacks into the ambush area to drive any looters away from the stricken PBR. The Vietnamese policeman could not be found initially but was later recovered in the main river by a passing sampan. Later that evening, Vietnamese Navy RAG units salvaged two .50 caliber machine guns and one gun mount from the demolished boat. The bodies of Engineman Second Class J. T. MUSETTI, Jr., and Seaman G. J. GRAHAM were not recovered but a survivor's eyewitness account stated that MUSETTI was cremated aboard the boat, and GRAHAM was not seen after the first explosion. Pending further investigation, both of these men are officially considered missing in action. There were also four sailors wounded in this encounter."

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
his widow,
Carol D. Orrell

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 10 Dec 2001
Last updated 06/17/2008