Some of this information comes from the biographical file for pilot Graves, CG-528000-01, reviewed by me in the archives of the National Air & Space Museum (NASM), Washington, DC.


Brown, Russell K. 1988. Fallen in Battle: American General Officer Combat Fatalities from 1775. New York: Greenwood Press.


the register


I'm looking for information and photographs of pilot Graves and his airplanes to include on this page. If you have some you'd like to share, please click this FORM to contact me.






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The New York TImes, January 3, 1930 (Source: NYT)
The New York TImes, January 3, 1930 (Source: NYT)


D.D. Graves passed through our west coast Registers regularly. He landed at least seven times at Santa Monica (he didn't enter first name or initials for one landing, but the type of airplane he flew and his homebase make it likely that it was D.D. Graves). He also landed at Tucson, AZ and is signed five times in the Davis-Monthan Airfield Register. His landings at Clover Field occurred between March, 1930 and November, 1931.

All but one of his landings at Santa Monica were in various models of the Boeing B-12 series. And all of his visits originated from, and, after remaining overnight, returned to San Diego, CA, Rockwell Field, the next day. Santa Monica was the turnaround point in his round-robin flights. The airplanes he flew were 28-321, 29-333, 29-343, 31-156, 31-210 and 31-245 (he didn't enter an airplane number on his June 15, 1931 visit.

Not all his flights were round-robins to Santa Monica. The article, right, from The New York Times of January 3, 1930 describes a near tragedy that occurred over San Diego while he was testing a pursuit aircraft at altitude.

D.D. Graves Obituary, The New York Times, March 10, 1944 (Source: NYT)









According to the 1940 U.S. Census, Graves (age 36) was married and living in Montgomery, AL with his wife, Eleanor (32), and two children Eleanor (2) and Caroline (age 2 months). They lived in a rented home ($80/month) at 205 Inner Circle. His neighborhood on Google Earth today appears to be one of large, stately homes on generous lots. His income was cited as $4,300/year, a decent wage for an Army Captain in 1940.

U.S. Army Register, 1945 (Source: Web)
U.S. Army Register, 1945 (Source: Web)


The photograph, left, is from The New York TImes of March 10, 1944. It documents the sad occurence of Graves' demise near San Stefano in Italy during WWII. The official Army Register for 1945 summarized his final military record as above, right. The Army bureaucracy hadn't caught up with his death yet.

The information below is quoted from the Brown reference in the left sidebar. It briefly summarizes Graves' miitary service during the interbellum, as well as his service during WWII.

GRAVES, Davis Dunbar 1903-1944, New York, U.S. Army Air Force, missing in action, declared dead 8 February 1944 at San Stefano, Italy. Davis D. Graves was the only Army Air Force general killed in World War II who was not associated with strategic bombing. Born in Buffalo, he graduated from Stanford University in 1927 and became a Flight Cadet in the Air Corps Reserve. He entered active duty as a 2nd Lieutenant in 1929 and remained in the 95th Pursuit Squadron until 1933. Promoted 1st Lieutenant in 1934 and Captain in 1935, Graves spent two years in Panama, followed by three years at Bolling Field in Washington, D.C., on the base staff. From 1939 to 1941 he was operations and intelligence officer of an air group. In March 1941 Graves was promoted to Major, and in January 1942 he was made Lieutenant Colonel and commander of the 56th Pursuit Group. In June 1942 he took over the New York Air Defense Wing of the First Air Force, charged with the air defenses of the Greater New York area. He was promoted Colonel in August 1942, and in December given command of the 2nd Air Defense Wing. Graves went with his wing to North Africa in January 1943 to provide air base defense for the Twelfth Air Force during the Tunisian and Mediterranean campaigns. In August 1943 his unit was redesignated the 63rd Fighter Wing and he was concurrently named Air Commander, Corsica. Graves was promoted Brigadier General USA on 21 January 1944. On 8 February 1944 Graves piloted one of a flight of eight B-25s of the 310th Bomb Group on a raid on enemy shipping at San Stefano. His plane was hit by enemy ground fire, went into the sea, and sank. No survivors were located despite frantic searches and Graves was listed as missing in action. He was declared dead on 9 February 1945.

As far as I know, neither he nor his airplane were ever found.

Dossier 2.2.94