Bruce Graening was born on July 30, 1946, in Akron, Ohio. He enlisted in the U.S. Army on April 6, 1966, and after attending basic training at Fort Benning, Georgia, from April to June 1966, he completed Infantry Indirect Fire Crewman training at Fort Polk, Louisiana, in August 1966. PFC Graening then deployed to Southeast Asia, where he served as an indirect fire crewman with Company D, 5th Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment of the 1st Cavalry Division in South Vietnam from October 1966 to May 1967. During this time, he was captured by Viet Cong forces and taken as a Prisoner of War on March 9, 1967, and managed to escape from his captors 7 days later, on March 16, 1967, making it back to friendly forces on March 18, 1967. After returning to the U.S., he served as an ammo bearer with L Troop, 3rd Squadron of the 6th Cavalry Regiment at Fort George E. Meade, Maryland, from July 1967 until he left active duty on April 5, 1968. SP4 Graening was honorably discharged from the Army Reserve on April 5, 1972. Bruce Graening died on July 15, 2014.
His Bronze Star Medal w/Valor Citation reads:
For heroism in connection with military operations against a hostile force. Private First Class Graening distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous action during the period 9 to 17 March 1967, while a captive of the Viet Cong. During this period, Private First Class Graening was observant of everything around him, a fact which proved to be of considerable intelligence value upon his return to friendly forces. On 16 March 1967, Private First Class Graening moved to escape from his Viet Cong captors, wounding three of them in the process. He traveled barefoot for two days in enemy infested territory until he finally succeeded in reaching friendly troops. During this period, Private First Class Graening demonstrated great courage and determination in applying the principles of escape and evasion. His outstanding display of personal bravery and dedication to duty is in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service, and reflects great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.