Graves, Howard Dwayne, LTG

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Last Rank
Lieutenant General
Last Service Branch
Last MOS Group
General Officer
Primary Unit
1991-1996, Office of the Commandant, United States Corps of Cadets, United States Military Academy
Service Years
1961 - 1996


Lieutenant General

Three Overseas Service Bars

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by the Site Administrator to remember Graves, Howard Dwayne, LTG USA(Ret).
Contact Info
Home Town
Roaring Springs
Last Address
College Station, TX

Date of Passing
Sep 13, 2003
Location of Interment
U.S. Military Academy West Point Post Cemetery - West Point, New York
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

 Official Badges 

Office of Secretary of Defense Joint Chiefs of Staff 1st Cavalry Division 82nd Airbone Division

US Army Retired Army Staff Identification US Army Retired (Pre-2007)

 Unofficial Badges 

Engineer Shoulder Cord

 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

Howard Dwayne Graves (August 15, 1939 – September 13, 2003) was a former United States Army Lieutenant General, Superintendent of the United States Military Academy (1991–1996), and Chancellor of Texas A&M University (1999–2003). A 1961 graduate of West Point, he was a Rhodes Scholar, earning three degrees from Oxford during his army career. During his service in the Army, he was the personal aide to two Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Admiral William J. Crowe and General Colin L. Powell.

Early life and education


Graves was born in Roaring Springs, Texas to Tommy J. and Velma Lee Clifton Graves. He almost drowned trying to baptize a cat in a pond behind their home but was revived at a Civilian Conservation Corps camp that was close to their rural home. After spending his youth in Amarillo, Texas and graduating from Amarillo High School in 1957, Graves received an appointment to West Point as a member of the class of 1961. Upon graduation, he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Engineer branch in 1961. He earned a Rhodes Scholarship and spent the first three years of his military career at Oxford, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1964. He was advanced to Master of Arts in 1968 and gained a Master of Letters degree in 1971.

Early military career


Upon returning to the United States from his first tour at Oxford, he joined the 82nd Airborne Division where he commanded an Engineer company in the Dominican Republic in 1965. He saw combat in Vietnam, 1968–1969, where he was an Engineer Battalion S-3 and Assistant Division Engineer for the First Cavalry Division. After his second tour at Oxford, Graves returned to West Point in 1970, assigned to the Department of Social Sciences, where he taught International Relations and Comparative Foreign Governments.

Senior military career


In 1974, Graves was appointed Military Assistant to the Secretary of Defense, James Schlesinger. His duties included coordinating Schlesinger's travel and public appearances, preparing briefings and speeches for Congressional hearings, and providing counsel on matters affecting the Army. In 1976, Graves took command of the 54th Engineer Battalion in Germany, returning to the United States in 1978 to attend the Army War College at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania. After graduation, he served on the faculty of the War College for the next two years. In 1980, Graves took command of the 20th Engineer Brigade. He was then promoted to Brigadier General, after which he joined the First Cavalry Division in 1982 as the Assistant Division Commander. The next year, Graves was appointed Deputy Chief of Staff, Engineer, U.S. Army Forces Command. In 1984, Graves became Deputy Director for Strategy, Plans, and Policy, of the Army Staff. The next year he was promoted to Vice Director of the Joint Staff. In 1987, Graves was appointed Commandant of the Army War College. Lieutenant General Graves then returned to Washington, D.C. to become Assistant to the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff. In 1991, Graves was appointed the 54th Superintendent of the United States Military Academy, a position he held until his retirement in 1996.

Post military


Graves later joined the Harry Guggenheim Foundation as a Director and in 1998 was visiting Professor, Lyndon Baines Johnson School of Public Service at the University of Texas. In 1999, He was selected to be the 11th Chancellor of the Texas A&M University System. During his tenure as chancellor, Texas A&M added three new universities to its system, Texas A&M University–San Antonio, Tarleton State University-Central Texas in Killeen, West Texas A & M University in Canyon, Texas. Graves battled cancer for several years, finally succumbing at his home in College Station, Texas on September 13, 2003. He is survived by his wife, Gracie Newman Graves, son, Colonel Gregory Howard Graves who is also graduate of West Point (class of 1988), daughter Gigi Graves Kail and husband Colonel Eric Kail who is an Army officer, sister Dwanelle Graves van Dyk and brother Tommy Dan Graves, a veteran of the Air Force. He is interred at the West Point Cemetery

Other Comments:

A Tribute to Howard D. Graves
By Greg Graves
Given on 16 September 2003 at
Grace Bible Church, College Station, Texas

Let me tell you a little bit about a man I was privileged to call my friend. I also called him “Dad.” I’d like to start out by reading something:

“One of my earliest memories is looking up at a smiling face wearing an olive-green hat with two silver bars on it. It looked like it was ten feet up in the air, but I could tell that it expressed love. As I grew older, the face got closer to mine, and the hat changed and eventually disappeared, but the expression of love remained the same.

“I also remember Dad’s strength. He would pin me to the floor when we wrestled in the living room, and I remember when he gave me boxing gloves for Christmas and then popped me in the nose when we tried them out. His strength showed in his discipline methods as well. It was firm and occasionally painful at the time but never excessive, and it was always accompanied by an explanation of why what I did was wrong. That was true discipline and training, and I appreciate it now that I have children of my own.

“Dad was always the head of the home whether he was physically present or not. He modeled authority and inspired respect through his actions, not just his words. He placed exceptional emphasis on integrity, doing your best, and integrity again.

“As the head of the home, he made sure that we were unified as a family. Moving around helped to keep us close. Dad showed me that our family was important and that I was an important member. He always emphasized doing things together. He was there for the important events in my life despite his extremely busy schedule. He always made time for us. Our family was important to him.

“He was our provider. He provided emotionally as well as financially. He loved Mom, and it showed. That in itself provided more security than any amount of money or things ever could. He provided spiritually. He trained me in God's Word at home. He led Bible studies and Sunday school wherever we went. On numerous occasions he expressed his faith publicly in front of his superiors, peers, and subordinates. These things combined to show that his personal walk with God was real and important.”

I originally wrote the words I just read eight years ago. I had the wonderful opportunity to share these and a few more like them with Dad in person at Christmas in 1995. For those of you familiar with Mom and Dad’s home, you’ll find them in a frame hanging on the wall just outside their bedroom. I thought when I wrote them that I had captured my thoughts and feelings about my father, but I have found that that is not entirely true. Since then, and especially since he was diagnosed with cancer, I only saw Dad’s faith in God grow and become more central to his life. He never asked, “Why me?” He continually said, “God is sovereign, and He is good. We have so much to be thankful for.” Many of you prayed along with us that God would heal him from the cancer. God did not heal him in this life, but He did grant Dad 2 ½ more virtually pain-free years before taking him home. And so I echo Dad and say, “God is sovereign, and He is good. We have so much to be thankful for.”

Dad’s focus was on how he could share the gifts that God had given him with others. Your presence here with us today is a testimony to his sharing of those gifts. Many of you have told me what a strong, remarkable man and gifted leader Dad was. I couldn’t agree more. But I know that Dad’s strength was drawn from his personal relationship with God, and his leadership was modeled after the servant-leadership of Jesus Christ. As I’ve reflected on Dad’s life and death over the past few days, the words of 2 Corinthians 4:5-7 stand out as characteristic of him:

For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.

Dad leaves a legacy of servant-leadership and relying on God’s power. That is how he would want to be remembered. And for those of us who know and love him best, we will.

But Dad was never one to dwell on the past. Even when he was approaching death, he continued to focus on where he was going. His intensely personal relationship with and faith in Jesus Christ saturated his life and his outlook. His perspective was eternal, and it remains eternal since he is now in the presence of the Eternal God and His Son, Jesus Christ, who lived as a man on earth, who died for our sins, and who rose again, conquering sin and death, to provide a way for those who believe in Him to share eternity with Him. For those of us who remain here on earth, we still have the opportunity to affect how we will spend eternity. The questions facing each of us are “What do I believe about this man called Jesus Christ?” and “When it’s all been said and done, what saturated my life and my outlook?” I know how Dad would answer those questions. What each of you must ask yourself is, how would you?

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 Enlisted/Officer Basic Training
  1957, US Military Academy (West Point, NY), B
 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
Basic Airborne Course (BAC) Airborne School82nd Airborne Division8th Engineer BattalionEngineer Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division
Engineer Officer's Advanced CourseUnited States Military Academy West Point (Staff-USMA)Department of Defense (DOD)54th Engineer Battalion
Army War College (Staff)20th Engineer Brigade1st Cavalry Division US Army Forces Command (FORSCOM)
Department of the Army (DA)Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), Office of Secretary of Defense (SECDEF)
  1957-1961, 1221, Basic Airborne Course (BAC) Airborne School
  1961-1961, Basic Airborne Course (BAC) Airborne School
  1965-1968, 1331, HHC, 82nd Airborne Division
  1968-1969, HHC, 8th Engineer Battalion
  1968-1969, HHC, 8th Engineer Battalion
  1969-1969, 2162, HHC, Engineer Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division
  1969-1970, Engineer Officer's Advanced Course
  1970-1974, United States Military Academy West Point (Staff-USMA)
  1974-1976, 2030, Office of Secretary of Defense (SECDEF)
  1976-1978, 1331, 54th Engineer Battalion
  1978-1980, Army War College (Staff)
  1980-1982, 20th Engineer Brigade
  1982-1983, 00GD, HHC, 1st Cavalry Division
  1983-1984, HQ Forces Command (FORSCOM)
  1984-1985, 00G3, DA/Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Plans (DCSOPS)
  1986-1987, Joint Staff, Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS)
  1987-1990, 00GC, Army War College (Staff)
  1990-1991, Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), Office of Secretary of Defense (SECDEF)
  1991-1996, Office of the Commandant, United States Corps of Cadets, United States Military Academy
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1965-1966 Operation Power Pack (Dominican Republic)
  1968-1968 Vietnam War/Tet Counteroffensive Campaign (1968)
  1968-1968 Vietnam War/Counteroffensive Phase IV Campaign (1968)
  1968-1968 Vietnam War/Counteroffensive Phase V Campaign (1968)
  1968-1969 Vietnam War/Counteroffensive Phase VI Campaign (1968-69)
  1969-1969 Vietnam War/Tet 69 Counteroffensive Campaign
 Colleges Attended 
United States Military AcademyOxford University, EnglandArmy War CollegeTexas A&M University
  1957-1961, United States Military Academy
  1961-1964, Oxford University, England
  1978-1980, Army War College
  1999-2003, Texas A&M University
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