Alaska WWII and Korean War Veteran Looks Back on 27 Years of Service

Murkowski Spotlights 91-Year-Old Veteran from Anchorage

Today Senator Murkowski is releasing her 26th Veteran Spotlight interview, focusing on the military service of WWII and Korean War veteran Robert Grant of Anchorage. Grant was just 18 years old when he volunteered to join the U.S. Army where he served as a ball turret gunner for the Army Air Corps in the 486th Bombardment Group. After being stationed in England during WWII, flying over Germany, he later went on to be a radar observer in the 319th Fighter Squadron during the Korean War. His military career later led him to receive a stage waiver to go through pilot training in the U.S. Air Force. 

Robert reflected on his 27 years of service, including his time as ball turret gunner in WWII, “The heroes in that war were in the ground. They were the heroes, not me. Those were the guys that did all the real fighting.”

During his interview, Robert recalled his experience fighting in WWII valuable to helping his fellow serviceman during the Korean War, especially when they came under fire. At this time, Robert was a radar observer, sitting directly behind his pilot.

“Our job was to intercept those airplanes at nighttime. My pilot had never been in combat before so it shocked him and surprised him with these explosions going off outside the airplane. That was all new to him, and I was busy with my radar scope and he was flying the airplane and I was telling him, you go left, port, starboard, and all that,” said Robert Grant. “Sure I was scared, but I didn’t have time to be scared. He needed help. He was flying the airplane, and he needed help because it was frightening to him and I’d been through it, so I knew what the hell it was.”


(Click image to watch video.)

“Major Robert Grant’s long career of military service is truly commendable. He has shown tremendous sacrifice, commitment, and bravery to our nation,” said Senator Lisa Murkowski. “We can all learn from his life story—his selflessness and his dedication. Mr. Grant truly exemplifies what makes him a part of the Greatest Generation, and that can easily be seen throughout this video.”

During Robert Grant’s military career, he was stationed in England, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, and Cuba.

The “Veteran Spotlight” project is Senator Murkowski’s focus on an Alaska veteran of American conflicts worldwide to honor and draw well-deserved attention to Alaska’s men and women who served.  Today’s installment is the twenty-fifth in the series that began on Memorial Day weekend of 2012.  Throughout the year, Sen. Murkowski posts a biography and an interview with an Alaskan who served our country abroad in conjunction with the Library of Congress’ Veterans History Project which recognized Murkowski’s series in 2013 as a model of best practices. You can watch them all by clicking here.

Senator Murkowski invites all Alaskans to nominate a veteran from the 49th state to be featured in the Veteran Spotlight project.  If you have a family member or friend in the community you think has a story to share, email Spotlight@Murkowski.Senate.Gov.