From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Henry Graefe '46

Date of birth: October 24, 1921

Date of death: March 30, 1950

Age: 28

Lucky Bag

From the 1946 Lucky Bag:


From Aviation Safety:

The USN aircraft carrier Boxer and the attendant ships of her carrier task group were exercising in the South China sea.

Four F8F Bearcats of VF-194 took off from Boxer to carry out a practice Combat Air Patrol over the ships. At the completion of the CAP the Bearcats were ordered to join the rest of CAG 19 in a simulated low-level strike on the ships.

The four VF-194 pilots made a head-on run at the USS Helena which was proceeding on the port bow of the USS Boxer, and about 2,000 yards off. This move potentially brought them into conflict with a flight of Douglas AD-3 Skyraiders of VA-195, also from the Boxer, and making a 90 degree attack on the carrier's starboard side.

The Skyraiders had completed their attacking run at about the same time as the Bearcats completed theirs.

Just after the Bearcats passed the Helena one of them was seen to climb slightly and commence a turn to the left, colliding at about 400 feet with the leader of the four VA-195 Skyraiders in its path. The Bearcat struck the right wing of the Skyraider at a relative angle of about 45 degrees and passed on to the fuselage just aft of the wing. The AD-3 Skyraider, serial no. 122759, was seen to disintegrate and fall into the sea. The F8F-2 Bearcat lost a wing in the impact which occurred at a closing speed of about 400 knots. It tumbled through the air and crashed in the sea about 500 yards from the point of the collision.

LtJG John B. Caskey USN was killed in the accident, as was LtJG Henry Graefe USN, the pilot of the Skyraider.

From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on April 1, 1950:

Lt. (j.g.) Henry H. Graefe, 2000 East College avenue, a Navy fighter pilot, was killed Thursday in a mid-air collision, presumably near the Philippines, his family was notified yesterday by the Navy Department. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Herman Graefe.

He was 27 years old and unmarried. He entered the Naval Academy in 1942 and was graduated in 1945. Then he was assigned to the Little Rock, a light cruiser, and served part of the time as navigator when the ship visited South America on a good-will tour. In 1947, he training began as a pilot.

After receiving his flight training at Corpus Christi, Tex., Jacksonville, Fla., and Alameda, Calif., he was assigned to the Boxer, an aircraft carrier, last Jan. 10. Surviving, besides his parents, are six sisters and two brothers. The elder Graefe operates a market at the East College address.

Related Articles

John Caskey '46 was also lost in this collision.

John Paul '46, Howard Mather '46, and Brooke Montgomery '46 were also members of 7th Company.

Class of 1946

Henry is one of 36 members of the Class of 1946 on Virtual Memorial Hall.

The "category" links below lead to lists of related Honorees; use them to explore further the service and sacrifice of the alumni in Memorial Hall.