Information on Hyde County Veterans

Grafton O. McKinney (1917-1975)
Contributed by Morris L. McKinney

World War II

Born: May 1, 1917 - Hyde Co., NC
Died: March 3, 1975 - Veterans Hospital, Hampton Va.

Branch of Service: U. S. Navy
3/14/1944: Entered Service at Portsmouth, VA .

Ratings: Apprentice Seaman, Seaman 2nd Class, Seaman 1st Class.


3/15/1944: Reported to US Naval Training Station, Great Lakes, Ill. (Boot Camp)

6/29/1944: Reported aboard the U.S.S. Bradford (DD545). U.S.S. Bradford (DD-545) (Fletcher Class Destroyer) was launched 12/12/1942 by Bethlehem Steel Co., Terminal Island, Calif. and commissioned June 12, 1942, Commander R. L. Morris in command.

6/30/1944 - 8/27/1944: Participated in the Third Bonins Raid, Capture and Occupation of Guam, Tunian, Carolines Raid and the Fourth Bonins Raid as member of Task Group Fifty-Eight Point One.

9/1944: Returned to the U.S. for a complete overhaul.

12/1944: U.S.S. Bradford, steamed to Pearl Harbor.

2/19/1945: Participated in the Capture and Occupation of Iwo Jima as Fire Support Ship as member of Task Force Fifty-One.

3/26/1945 to 6/23/1945: Participated in the Capture and Occupation of Okinawa as screening vessel for Escort Carriers supporting the Tenth Army and as Radar Picket Ship.

7/25/1945 to 8/10/1945: Participated in 3rd Fleet operations against Japan. She acted as a fire support and fighter director ship for the mine sweeping operations in the East China Sea-Ryukyus area.

10/31/1945: U.S.S. Bradford left for San Diego.

12/12/1945 - Grafton O. McKinney Honorably Discharged.

Medals: Asiatic-Pacific & 4 Stars; American: Victory-World War II.

10/9/1946: The Secretary of the Navy awarded the Navy Unit Commendation to the U.S.S. Bradford for outstanding heroism in action as a Fighter Direction Ship on a Radar Picket Station during the Okinawa Campaign, from May 14 to June 16, 1945.

"By virtue of your service in the Bradford during the whole or part of the period from May 14 to June 16, 1945, you are hereby authorized to wear as part of your uniform a Navy Unit Commendation ribbon, one of which is transmitted herewith." "This authorization has been made part of your official record in the Bureau of Naval Personnel." By direction of Chief of Naval Personnel.

11/4/1946: Received Navy Unit Commendation awarded the U.S.S. Bradford.

Grafton O. McKinney lived in Hyde Co., NC until he was 17. He moved to Norfolk Co., VA (Chesapeake, VA) and lived there until his death.

Dad never recovered from all the killing he witnessed while aboard the Bradford. The sound of guns shooting, air planes bombing would go to bed with him each night. They did not get professional help during or after the war. Dad died in 1975 struggling with life.

Copyright 2000

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