CPT Daniel Graybeal
Serving in the Army was a life-long dream of Captain Graybeal. After graduating from Happy Valley High School in 1983, he enrolled at East Tennessee State University. He received his commission as a Second Lieutenant as a junior and earned his bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and Military Science in 1987. He rose to the rank of First Lieutenant in 1989 and earned the rank of Captain in 1991.
Graybeal was an Aeromedical Evacuation Officer and a member of the 3rd Platoon, 507th Air Ambulance Medical Company, 1st Medical Group, 13th Corps Support Command, stationed at Fort Hood, Killeen, Texas. He was a Dustoff pilot, who are medics and pilots who rush into “hot” zones and willingly risk their lives to rescue soldiers. Captain Graybeal was called into action as a Dustoff pilot in support of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm in 1990, providing medical care for wounded American soldiers while under hostile fire. On February 27, 1991, Captain Graybeal paid the ultimate price for freedom when he volunteered for a mission that took his life. On that date, Graybeal and his crew volunteered for an urgent medical mission to evacuate 12 seriously wounded soldiers from an Iraqi area still under hostile fire. Upon reaching the site, Graybeal’s aircraft was hit by enemy fire and crashed. He flew in extremely adverse combat conditions, including limited visibility, high winds, and unsecured landing sites, littered with unexploded ordnance. Captain Graybeal’s heroism and selfless dedication to service reflect great credit upon him, ETSU’s Army ROTC, the 507TH Medical Company, and the United States Army.
Captain Graybeal loved his country dearly and received several awards, including the Purple Heart for wounds received in action in Southwest Asia; the Air Medal with “V” Device for Valorous acts while engaged in offensive combat operations; the Army Commendation Medal for meritorious service in support of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm; and the Southwest Asia Service Medal with star.
Captain Graybeal, known as Danny by his family, had a wonderful sense of humor. He loved helping people. When stationed at Fort Hood, Captain Graybeal flew medivac missions for local hospitals. “Captain Graybeal was the best aviator we had,” said Staff Sgt. Roberto Rojas, senior medic and unit instructor for the 3-507th. During a ceremony in Texas commemorating Captain Graybeal’s loss, his superiors said, “Those who go to war do not die in vain as long as we remember their sacrifices and what they believed in.”