Major Thomas C. Griffin (known simply by friends and family as Tom) passed away Tuesday, February 26 in a Kentucky Veterans Affairs nursing home. The 96 year old earned his stripes navigating a B-25 bomber in the Doolittle Raid on Japan during World War II.
One of the original 80 who participated in the dangerous mission of April 18, 1942, there are now only four Raiders who survive him. Doolittle’s Raid came just 4 months after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor: a year ago, Griffin had explained that the United States needed to strike back and show their mettle in the face of Japanese aggression. The counterattack in which he was so instrumental did a lot for American morale at a time when Japanese resolve seemed bulletproof.
Having run out of fuel, Griffin ended up having to parachute over China. He evaded the Japanese and went on to serve again in North Africa before being shot down and captured by the Germans.
Griffin died a mere two months before the final Raiders reunion in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. He will be greatly missed by his family and his compatriots.