The 12-year-old who became a Navy hero in World War II

The 12-year-old who became a Navy hero in World War II


Calvin Graham was just 11
years old when he first thought of lying about
his age to join the navy. He had his friends forge
his mother’s signature, stole a notary’s stamp, and
told his mom he was going to visit relatives for a while. Graham was five foot two, 125 pounds in his older brother’s clothes, and somehow made it through
the recruitment screening. He was sworn into the
Navy on August 15th, 1942. At 12 years years, 4
months and 12 days old, he was the youngest individual to serve for the US in World War II. Graham sailed aboard the USS South Dakota, known as Battleship X, as a loader for a 40 millimeter anti-aircraft gun. November 14th, 1942, during
the Battle of Guadalcanal, the battleship was struck
47 times by Japanese fire, an explosion threw our young sailor down three decks of stairs. He suffered severe burns
and was seriously wounded by shrapnel that tore through his face and knocked out his front teeth. In spite of his injuries he tried to help his fellow sailors quote, “I took belts off the dead
and made tourniquets for the living and gave them
cigarettes and encouraged them all night, it was a
long night, it aged me. I didn’t do any complaining
because half the ship was dead.” Graham received the Bronze
Star and a Purple Heart for his efforts, but a
year later Graham’s mother learned of what her son had been up to and informed the Navy of his real age. He was thrown in the
brig for three months, had his medals stripped from him, and was dishonorably discharged, which meant he couldn’t receive any disability benefits
despite his injuries. Graham lived a hard life afterward. Getting married and
fathering a child at 14. Then getting divorced and
enlisting in the Marines at 17. He broke his back when he fell
from a pier three years later, ending his service career. Graham had to fight for medical benefits and a clean service record. In 1978, President Carter gave
him an honorable discharge, and reinstated all of his medals, except for his Purple Heart. In 1988, his story came
to public attention through the TV movie, “Too Young The Hero”. President Reagan eventually granted Graham full disability benefits
and increased his back pay. Calvin Graham died of heart
failure in November of 1992. Two years later his Purple
Heart was reinstated and presented to his widow
at a special ceremony. He also received the National
Defense Service Medal, The Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, with Bronze Battle Star Device, and the World War II Victory Medal. Like, share and comment below. Let’s recognize the heroic
acts of men like Graham, who did so much and received so little.

39 comments

  1. Yesssssssss๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ

  2. RIP to all those real heroes – you save us continually, and ask nothing for it. We now the free, owe your memories kept forever.

  3. That young kid had more heart Courage honor Loyalty that most men triple his age did not have I gotta say since learning about the man I have nothing but respect and he's a hero to me as well May he rest in peace

  4. Three most stupid American phrases are: "awesome", "valour" and "hero". They are used to veil the inconvenient fact told by H.L.Mencken almost 100 years ago that American soldiers in warfare have always been hundreds of times more likely cowards than heroes. All this pro-patriotic propaganda is fueled by US Military Industrial Complex to make American public to open their wallets and give all money to their slimy warlords.

  5. hate these people who somehow think they will go into heaven by opening their mouth on everything. God would have never gave him that idea if he wasn't supposed to be there in that moment in time. Nevy too where pieces of shit

  6. While Graham is the youngest to have signed up for the Navy in WW2 he's not the youngest to have served overall.George Holle signed up for the marines 6 weeks after turning 12 in late october 1941 and was still younger than Graham when Pearl Harbor happened.Graham is thougth the youngest combat vet since Holle went into combat later on Guadalcanal.He was discharged at 13 when the Corps realised how young he was.As a side note he was over 6 feet despite being 12.

  7. Quite a contrast from what the public believes that what people today think young people are capable of. I'm always astounded when I hear 'experts' claim things such as an actual gov't pamphlet from Ireland that says kids can't safely cross the street by themselves till age 12! Many people consider children as pets that must be constantly looked after.

  8. I've seen the movie several times, it is a very sad story that such a young boy has to run away from his home due to abuse from a step parent, his mother was no good at all. I can relate to his story as my husband came to the USA via the Peter Pan program for children from Cuba, when the Castro regime took over and they were going to send the children to Russia, thinking that it was going to be for a few months that turned into seven years. When he arrived to this country he was eleven years old, and the aunts and uncles spouses didn't want to have him. I know him since he was two weeks away from turning thirteen. He struggled in life and by the age of 14 he was going to school and working full time supporting himself. At the time we were best friends. We are going on 51 years of marriage, I remember that my mother and the neighbors used to cook meals for him so he could live underground, pretending he had a family. So that he wouldn't be placed in a foster home. Thank God he is not traumatized as he was always a little man, that made him stronger. I've always admire my first and only love, my husband Gabriel.

  9. I watch this movie several times and it's the first time I've watched any of the videos I'm YouTube. What I find more disturbing then what the United States did to this young man that served his country is the 34 thumbs down. how can anybody give this young man a thumbs down. But I'm not surprised that our government treated this young man in the way they did. Our government should be ashamed of their selves because he went to war to protect them. Our government talks about honor but they are the cowards themselves. They do so much wrong to the people that serve to protect them and to the taxpayers of this country. The only good is that Calvin has passed away and he doesn't have to look at our Jerry Springer government. Thank you Calvin, for all you did and serving your country and God rest your. soul.

  10. Damn he is brave not saying all of them where but when I was 12 I was scared that my dick was growing

  11. 125 at 5'2" he must have been solid as a rock, no wonder they made him a loader. I was an inch or two taller at age 18 but barely broke the 100 mark and they told me to eat bananas to "make weight" but I could not afford bananas so I drank a fuckton of water and made it. Thank goodness for good military food! Basic was great because of all the food, and tons of new clothes and shoes etc. Best thing you can do if you are poor is join the military.

  12. 0:02 as soon as the music hits i was like WARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR

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