Robert Graham

Country Boy in the Pacific

‘Greatest Generation’ is kind of flattery in a way. But I feel we really did something. Individually and collectively. We stepped up.

Tech. Sgt. Robert Graham, U.S. Army Air Forces

In 1945, the transport planes in Bob Graham’s squadron shuttled everything from C-rations to atomic bomb parts ever deeper into the South Pacific. Every island and atoll extracted an awful price. On flights back to California, the big C-54s were jammed with casualties of savage combat.

Tech. Sgt. Graham was an Army Air Forces flight engineer who went on to serve seven terms as state auditor. His best friend in college was a Japanese American. “It was horrifying to me that 110,000 Japanese were behind barbed wire back home. I thought, ‘My God! This cannot be happening here in free America.’ ”

Robert Graham

Top: Newlyweds Bob and Lloydine Graham depart the Hoquiam Presbyterian Church in 1945. Graham Family Collection

Bottom: Graham is interviewed by John Hughes, a Legacy Washington historian. Laura Mott

Robert Graham

A wounded Marine is given a plasma transfusion by a nurse aboard a C-54 over the South Pacific in 1943. Associated Press

Right: Graham, with his aircrew wings and sergeant’s stripes, in 1945. Graham Family Collection

Robert Graham