MASTER SERGEANT GEORGE R.
SERIAL NO. 7031051
RADIO OPERATOR ON "SALLY"
LT. GENERAL GEORGE C. KENNEY'S B-17
"Dick" Graf during WW2
"Dick" Graf May 2002
Master Sergeant George R. "Dick" Graf, Serial No. 7031051 was firstly in the 22nd Bomb Squadron, of the 7th Bomb Group, and then the 435th Bomb Squadron, of the 19th Bomb Group, and then a member of General George C. Kenney's staff on HQ and HQ Sq., 5th Air Force, and finally ex HQ and HQ Sq., Far East Air Force.
"Dick" and Phyllis Graf
on 19 May 2002
Dick flew combat with the 435th Bomb Squadron from February 1942 until September 1942. When the 19th Bomb Group returned to the US, Dick stayed in Australia as the radio operator of B-17E #41-2633, "Sally", General Kenney's personal aircraft until March 1945.
Dick Graf was involved in the evacuation of General Douglas MacArthur. Dick was Captain Lewis's radio operator in B-17E #41-2435. Three B-17's left Batchelor flown by Bostrom, Lewis, and Chaffin.
Chaffin's B-17 developed engine trouble, and went up the next night. Pease and Henry Godman had attempted to rescue MacArthur previously. Godman had crashed into the water, losing some of his crew. Godman travelled out with MacArthur, and later on became the pilot of MacArthur's B-17E "Bataan". MacArthur also travelled on "Sally" on many occasions.
Dick Graf was also involved in the Battle of the Coral Sea. Dick told me about a story involving his friend Harry Spieth. On the afternoon of the 7 May 1942, the Allied Task Force in the Coral Sea was attacked by twelve twin-engined Japanese torpedo bombers. They dropped their torpedoes and strafed the ships causing minimal damage. Five of the Japanese aircraft were shot down in the encounter. Not long after this attack, the Allied Task Force was again attacked by nineteen heavy bombers flying over at 18,000 feet. But this time they were not Japanese! They were American B-17 Flying Fortresses, of the 435th Bomb Squadron, 19th Bomb Group, based at Townsville. That were returning to Townsville after a bombing raid in New Guinea. Their bombs straddled HMAS Australia, whose upper decks were swamped with water from the explosion. Some minor damage was reported by bomb shrapnel. A further three aircraft then dropped bombs from 25,000 feet near the USS Perkins. Harry Spieth was one of the pilots involved in this accidental bombing incident. HMAS Australia returned fire with its anti-aircraft guns.
The Orders for DFC for all crews who evacuated MacArthur etc, and later, President Quezon provide details of the evacuations in rather florid language.
Dick Graf watched "Sally" crash land at Horn Island. It was pilot error. Dick had just returned from a mission. "Sally" was patched up and flown to the Townsville Air Depot with gear down, repaired and eventually became Kenney's private aircraft
It had no bottom turret, plywood floor in the bomb bays, to carry baggage, and a small refrigerator which held two case of coke. After the crash, Sally's" AFCE, a B17's autopilot, did not work. Because of this, Dick Graf was occasionally given the opportunity to fly "Sally" on long trips to give the pilot a break. This of course was HIGHLY UNOFFICIAL!!!!!.
Dick Graf's Discharge papers
Can anyone help me with more information?
"Australia @ War" Research Products
© Peter Dunn 2015
This page first produced 12 May 2002
This page last updated 11 September 2018