Re-enlistment a family affair

Capt. Kenneth Graves, from left, administers the re-enlistment oath to his cousin, Air Traffic Controller 2nd Class Justin Graves. Looking on are Justin’s wife, Rachel, and father, Jerry Graves.

When Air Traffic Controller 2nd Class Justin Graves decided to re-enlist in the U.S. Navy, he knew which officer he wanted to administer the re-enlistment oath; his first cousin, U.S. Navy Capt. Kenneth Graves. The ceremony was conducted at the Norfolk Naval Base where Justin is a supervisor in the control tower.

Both men followed in their fathers’ footsteps in opting for careers in the Navy. Capt. Graves, a graduate of Pepperell High School, was appointed to the U.S. Naval Academy, graduating in 1994, and has been assigned duties in areas of increasing responsibility from a P-3C aircraft patrol squadron to the Office of the Secretary of Defense. After completing his initial six-year commitment he was recalled to active duty for an additional three years as commander of a CENTCOM Theater Support mission. He has also commanded Naval Reserve squadrons in Pensacola, Florida, and Fort Worth, Texas. Capt. Graves and his wife, the former Angie Patterson of Rome, have three children and reside in Augusta. He works in a civilian capacity with Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center, Atlantic, at Fort Gordon, and serves as Reserve Chief Staff Officer for the U.S. Tenth Fleet.

Capt. Graves is the son of the late Bill Graves and Sylvia Graves, of Rome. His father retired as a chief petty officer after 23 years in the Navy and became a manager for the Georgia Department of Labor in Rome and Dalton.

ATC Graves graduated from Rockmart High School in 2008 and attended Kennesaw University prior to enlisting in the Navy in 2014. He soon will be reassigned to the nuclear aircraft carrier, USS George H.W. Bush, currently also in Norfolk. He is married to the former Rachel McIntyre, of Marietta. His parents are Jerry Graves, a Navy veteran and career police officer in Rome and Marietta, and Beverly Walker Gorman, of Dallas.

His service on an aircraft carrier will be another step along the career paths of his father and uncle. Jerry and Bill Graves were both assigned to the maiden voyage of the USS Kitty Hawk II in 1961 and remained together until, complying with military regulations, Bill Graves was reassigned when the ship was deployed to the Vietnam war zone in 1963.