ROBERT S. GRAUSTEIN, LCDR, USN
Robert Graustein '61
Date of birth: September 29, 1939
Date of death: December 21, 1972
From the 1961 Lucky Bag:
From the July-August 1975 issue of Shipmate:
LCdr. Robert Stewart Graustein USN was declared presumed killed in action over North Vietnam on 3 March 1975. He had been shot down while on a night low-level combat mission just prior to action in that area drawing to a close. He was pilot of an A6 in Attack Squadron SEVENTY-FIVE. A memorial service was held in his home town of Fryeburg, Maine, with LCdr. Michael C. Roth USN representing his classmates.
Entering the Naval Academy from the State of Maine, LCdr. Graustein was graduated with the Class of 1961. While at the Academy, he was captain of both the football and basketball teams in his first class year, and he was an excellent skier.
His decorations included the Silver Star, seven Distinguished Flying Crosses, and several other awards.
He is survived by his widow, Maxine, 178 Main Street, Fryeburg ME 04037; three sons; his mother and step-father, and his father; two brothers and a sister.
From a newspaper clipping:
FRYEBURG — A Navy flier who was killed in Vietnam in 1972 will be buried this week in his hometown of Fryeburg, a Navy spokesman said.
Lt. Cmdr. Robert Graustein's remains, which were returned to the United States by Vietnam last December, will be flown to Portland and driven to Fryeburg today for burial Thursday, said Bill McLoughlin, a public affairs officer at Brunswick Naval Air Station.
Graustein was flying a bomber from USS Saratoga, an aircraft carrier, when he was shot down over North Vietnam on December 21, 1972. He was listed as missing in action at the time but was later presumed to have been killed action.
McLoughlin said Graustein's remains were among those of seven servicemen turned over to a team of Americans who were excavating a B-52 crash site in Vietnam last December. The remains were taken to a military laboratory in Hawaii, where they were positively identified as Graustein's, McLoughlin said.
Lt. Cmdr. Graustein was born in Boston on September 29, 1939. He graduated from Fryeburg Academy in 1957 and the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Md. in 1961.
In 1962, he was designated a naval aviator. He served as an instructor in flight training in Pensacola, Fla., and as a pilot in antisubmarine squadron 37 in San Diego, Calif.
He was a graduate of the Empire Test Pilot School in England and served as a Navy test pilot at the Naval Air Test Center at Patuxent River, Md.
At the time he was shot down, he was the operations officer of Attack Squadron 75 aboard USS Saratoga.
A highly-decorated airman, he was on his third combat tour when his plane failed to return from a night low-level mission near Haiphong.
He has been awarded the Silver Star, seven Distinguished Flying Crosses, three single strike air medals, 15 Strike Flight air medals, two Navy Commendation Medals with Combat V, a Navy Achievement Medal, the Purple Heart, a Combat Action Ribbon, the Vietnam Campaign Medal, the Vietnamese Gallantry Cross, the Republic of Vietnam Service Medal, and the National Defense Medal.
He is survived by his widow, Maxine Graustein-Andrews; three sons, Robert Stephen, Scott Archie and Kent Stewart; his mother and stepfather, Mr. and Mrs. David R. Hastings II., all of Fryeburg; his father, A.R. Graustein Jr. of Tenafly, N.J.; two brothers, John Graustein of Falmouth Foreside and David R. Hastings III of Fryeburg, and a sister, Ann Hastings of Holbrook, Mass.
From Wall of Faces:
Bob, was Operations Officer of the VA-75 Sunday Punchers when he and Bart Wade went missing after a strike on Kien Ann Airfield near Haiphong. I had flown some combat missions with Bob after my pilot, CO VA-75 CDR Charles M. Earnest was killed on 28 Nov 1972. Bob was a consummate professional Naval Officer, pilot and family man. His wife and family can stand tall and proud for the legacy Bob left for their children and grandchildren, which he never met.
As a side note, I took over as Ops Officer after Bob was killed and shortly thereafter Kien Ann Airfield was on target list again. LT JJ Miller and I took that target assignment, however we attacked from the back door and laid down a perfect string of MK-82's Snake eyes across the runway with very little AAA and one SA-2 missile being fired. RADM GRADY L. JACKSON, USN (RET), RADMJAX@AOL.COM, 12/19/15
From Wall of Faces:
I'll always remember your smile SYLVIA MARCOTTE-CLOUTIER, 10/26/01
From Wall of Faces:
I set up the inertial system on his last flight. A day doesn't go by that I don't think of him and LCDR Wade. May God bless them both. STEVE SKUBA, 10/7/01
From Hall of Valor:
The President of the United States of America takes pride in presenting the Silver Star (Posthumously) to Lieutenant Commander Robert Stewart Graustein, United States Navy, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action against the enemy as a Pilot of jet aircraft, serving with Attack Squadron SEVENTY-FIVE (VA-75), attached to the U.S.S. Saratoga (CV-3), during combat operations in Southeast Asia. On 12 October 1972, Lieutenant Commander Graustein was pilot of a single aircraft that conducted a daring, night low-level seeding and reconnaissance mission deep into heavily defended enemy territory. In spite of the intense enemy surface-to-air missile threat and the unrelenting hail of intense and accurate anti-aircraft artillery fire, he skillfully piloted his aircraft to the heavily defended waterway segment, delivering his ordnance precisely as planned. Lieutenant Commander Graustein's aggressiveness and determination in the face of overwhelming enemy reaction successfully impeded the flow of urgently required war material along a vital rail line at the heart of the enemy's supply system. His superb airmanship, courage and devotion to duty reflected great credit upon himself and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
Action Date: October 12, 1972
Rank: Lieutenant Commander
Company: Attack Squadron 75 (VA-75)
Division: U.S.S. Saratoga (CV-3)
Newspaper clippings from Find A Grave.
Willard Marshall '61 was also a member of 21st Company.