By K.B. Sherman, Contributing Writer
Grafton – The Trustees of Soldiers and Sailors Memorials in Grafton is involved in a project to identify the graves of all Grafton military veterans. The trustees are largely military veterans themselves.
Vietnam veteran Andrew Kjellberg is in charge of the Grafton project.
“There are four main cemeteries in Grafton, plus another four satellite ones,” he said. “Plus, we are also looking for veterans who may be buried in other towns, other states and other countries.”
The project seeks to locate all such graves by GPS coordinates within 10-20 feet for easy location by family members and others so interested.
The project calls in any usable data, such as that from the Grafton Historical Society, personal scrapbooks, letters or family stories. Once a grave is located, the Memorial Committee seeks to place a veterans’ flag holders on each grave.
“The markers used to be bronze,” said Kjellburg, “but lately thieves have been stealing them for sale as scrap metal.”
Now they are made of plastic.
Kjellburg served with the U.S. Air Force’s 622 RADRON (radar squadron) at Pleiku. Pleiku was strategically important during the Vietnam War because it was the primary terminus of the military supply logistics corridor extending westwards along Highway 19 from the coastal population center and port facilities of Qui Nhơn. During his 15 months in Vietnam, Kjellburg also served in air traffic control and went on a number of search and rescue missions.
Originally from Worcester, he said he has been “adopted” by his wife’s family in Grafton. They have two sons.
Kjellburg notes there are over 1,400 military veterans buried in Grafton and the research continues. He welcomes any help in locating veterans’ graves to ensure that all are properly marked to denote military service. Any information can be sent to the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Commission via Town Hall, 30 Providence Road, Grafton, MA 01519.