4 years ago my dad & I set out on a father & son journey that turned into a life changing mission.
Army SPC Joseph Graves
KIA 25 Jul 06 Baghdad, Iraq
Joey Graves was born in Castro Valley and was raised by his father in the East Bay. Being very involved in sports, of course Joey was an Oakland Raiders fan. Joey was the only child of Kevin Graves.
When our country was attacked on 9/11, Joe was a sophomore at Liberty High School. That event had enough of an impact, that in his senior year Joey joined the Army though the delayed entry program. He was 17 years old.
His basic training was at Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri. He then spent a month jumping out of perfectly good airplanes to get his wings at Ft, Benning, Georgia.
His first deployment lasted a year and was spent at different bases in South Korea.
He then joined his unit, the 110th MP Company, at Ft. Hood, Texas where he began training for his deployment to Iraq. Three weeks prior to deployment he came home to be the best man and his father’s wedding. That would be the last time that most of the family would see Joe alive.
His father went back to Ft. Hood on the day of deployment to say goodbye to his only son, for what would be the last time.
On 25 July 06, a parent’s worst nightmare came true as Kevin received a knock on the door from two uniformed officers.
Since then Kevin and his wife Leianne have kept the memory of Joey and all his fallen comrades alive through their foundation ‘Some Gave All – The Joey Graves Foundation’ (www.somegaveall.us). Today the Graves, as do so many others, hold dear the memories so that they will never forget…We shall never forget.
Mike Garcia is a native of Texas. We won’t mention who his favorite team is. Mike joined the Army right out of high school and completed his basic training at Ft. Leonard Wood. He then was assigned to the 110th MP Company at Ft. Hood, Texas, where he met SPC Joey Graves. They became fast friends and did everything together.
On 25 July 06, Mike Garcia was the gunner in the lead Humvee when the convoy that he and Joey were traveling in was ambushed. Mike’s vehicle took the initial explosion that stopped the caravan. Even though the vehicle was disabled, Mike continued to provide fire to not only protect his men, but repel the attack.
Mike Garcia received an Army Commendation medal with Valor for his courageous actions that day.
Mike and Joey’s dad, Kevin, have developed a unique and close relationship. Mike has even provided Kevin with two surrogate grandchildren. Mike currently serves as a full time AGR Career Counselor in the Army reserves and recently moved to Northern California to spend some time with the Graves’ family.
Please join us in thanking SSG Garcia for his service and for helping keep SPC Graves legacy alive!