Remains Returned 14 August 1985

Name: James Scott Graham
Rank/Branch: O2/US Navy
Date of Birth: 25 October 1941
Home City of Record: Ardmore PA
Date of Loss: 04 May 1967
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 194523N 1955231E (WG907838)
Status (in 1973): Prisoner of War
Category: 1
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: A4C

Other Personnel in Incident: (none missing)

Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 June 1990 from one or more of the
following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with
POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews. Updated by the P.O.w.


SYNOPSIS: When nuclear powered USS ENTERPRISE arrived on Yankee Station on
December 2, 1965, she was the largest warship ever built. She brought with
her not only an imposing physical presence, but also an impressive component
of warplanes and the newest technology. By the end of her first week of
combat operations, the ENTERPRISE had set a record of 165 combat sorties in
a single day, surpassing the KITTY HAWK's 131. By the end of her first
combat cruise, her air wing had flown over 13,000 combat sorties. The record
had not been achieved without cost.

One of the aircraft that launched from the decks of the ENTERPRISE was the
McDonnell Douglas A4 Skyhawk was intended to provide the Navy and Marine
Corps with an inexpensive, lightweight attack and ground support aircraft.
The design emphasized low-speed control and stability during take-off and
landing, as well as strength enough for catapult launch and carrier
landings. The plane was so compact that it did not need folding wings for
aboardship storage and handling.

Lt. James S. Graham was a naval aviator. He had served one tour of Vietnam
onboard the USS KITTY HAWK when he deployed to Vietnam as an A4C Skyhawk on
the ENTERPRISE. On May 4, 1967, Graham and another aircraft launched on a
combat mission over Thanh Hoa Province, near the city of Thanh Hoa, one of
the points of what was referred to as the "Iron Triangle." This was also the
location of the famed "Dragon Jaw" bridge which had been the object of many
joint-service attacks in the two previous years. The mission was Graham's
172nd combat sortie.

Graham's aircraft was hit by enemy fire during the mission, and he
successfully ejected. His wingman, risking the fire of surface-to-air
missiles (SAMs) followed Graham in and watched his descent. Graham waved to
him as he parachuted into some trees. When the wingman circled around,
Graham was gone.

Without question, more information was received by the U.S. Government about
James S. Graham. He was classified Prisoner of War -- a category not
assigned without reason. His parents patiently waited for the war to end,
never hearing a word from their son.

In 1973, 591 lucky Americans were released from Vietnamese prisoner of war
camps and returned home. Jim Graham was not among them. Military officials
had been prepared for hundreds more who were known or suspected to be held
prisoner. The Graham family was told that returning POWs did not see their
son in captivity.

Intelligence reports surfacing over the years during the war and following
build a strong case for a well-organized second prison system, and a
well-orchestrated plan to keep prisoners within systems from intermingling.
As it is widely believed that the Vietnamese withheld the release of many
prisoners until peace agreement terms were met (specifically, reconstruction
aid), it is logical to assume that one prison system's inmates were released
while another were held back for possible release at a later date. It is
also logical to assume that the scenario might be played to its fullest,
including convincing each man in a two man crew that had been separated,
that the other was dead.

Ultimately, the U.S. Government declared that Graham must have been killed
in captivity, since there was no proof that he was alive.

In 1984, Jim Graham's father died, never knowing the fate of his son.

In 1985, the Vietnamese "discovered" and returned the remains of James S.
Graham. Mrs. Graham said, "It's quite a blow. If it's over, I suppose it's a
relief. On the other hand, it's just like losing him all over again." At
last, Graham's family could begin a grieving period, without doubt and

Over 2300 Americans remain missing, prisoner or otherwise unaccounted for
from the Vietnam war. Nearly 10,000 reports received relating to these men
have convinced many authorities that hundreds of them are still alive
waiting for their country to secure their freedom. If so, what must they be
thinking of us? It's time we brought our men home.

                                  PROJECT X
                        SUMMARY SELECTION RATIONALE




RATIONALE FOR SELECTION: LTJG Graham's parachute was observed by flight
members, The flight leader made a pass within 200 feet of the parachute at
an altitude of about 800 feet and saw LTJG Graham raise his hand and wave.
The parachute was observed all the way to the ground and was seen to land
in some low trees bordering a small town. There have been two source
reports of LTJG Graham's possible capture, with no correlated reports of

REFNO: 0667 19 Apr 76


1. On 4 May 1967 LTJG James S. Graham, Flying an A4C, (BUNO 148514), was
assigned as second section wingman for an attack on a newly implaced
surface-to-air missile site located about three miles WNW of Sam Son, North
Vietnam. The flight rendezvoused as briefed and proceeded to the target
area. Light 37 mm anti-aircraft artillery (AAA) fire was seen over Sam Son
and in that vicinity. The flight leader skirted the barrage of fire, and
the flight attacked in sequence, (with approximately five seconds between
aircraft), and encountered increasing AAA fire as the attack progressed.
During his dive attack recovery, LCDR [blank], the section leader, noticed
a parachute over the target area, and caught a brief glimpse of an A4C
passing under him. He alerted the flight and began a radio check, which
determined the Missing aircraft to be that of LTJG Graham. The flight
leader passed within 200 feet of the parachute and saw LTJG Graham raise
his hand and wave. The flight leader then climbed and alerted Search and
Rescue (SAR) forces for any call from LTJG Graham. He instructed the
remainder of the flight to stay high and outside of the target over water.
The parachute was observed all the way into low trees bordering the small
town of Kieu Thon in the vicinity of grid coordinates WG 917 846. The
flight leader made a low pass over the area parallel to the tree line where
the parachute was last seen, but did not sight either the parachute or LTJG
Graham. No radio signals were heard from LTJG Graham, so it was determined
that the commitment of SAR forces would be futile,, and that LTJG Graham
must be presumed to have been captured. The flight leader terminated the
SAR efforts after thirty minutes and returned to the USS ENTERPRISE. (Ref

2. Two North Vietnamese sources independently provided information which
was tentatively correlated to this incident and LTJG Graham. Both sources
reported he had been captured. One source stated that LTJG Graham landed in
a tree and shot one of his captors in the right leg. He was then helped
down from the tree and taken by jeep to Hanoi. (Ref 2 & 3)

3. During the existence of JCRC the hostile threat in the area precluded
any visits to or ground inspections of the sites involved in this case.
Details of this case together with information indicating enemy knowledge
of the case were turned over to the Four-Party joint Military Team with a
request for any information which would assist in determining status and
resolution. No response was forthcoming. LTJG Graham is currently carried
in the status of Captured.


1. RPT (U), CDR Attack Sq 113, 7 Jun 67.

2. DD Form 1480 (U), DIR-4H, 7 Oct 75.

3. DD Form 1480 (U), DIR-4H, 30 Jul 75.

                 * National Alliance of Families Home Page