Scoop is saddened to report the passing of Doolittle Raider Tom Griffin, who has died at the age of 96. The former navigator’s death leaves only four surviving members of the group of 80 who under the command of General Jimmy Doolittle carried out a daylight bombing raid on Tokyo in the most desperate days of World War II.
According to USA Today, the Green Bay, Wisconsin native Griffin died Tuesday night in his sleep at the Fort Thomas Veterans Affairs hospital. He was a long-time Green Township, Ohio, resident.
Reeling from loss after loss, the Doolittle raid saw 16 B-25 bombers take off on one-way trips from the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Hornet for which by any rational standard they were too big. The physical damage inflicted by the raid paled in comparison to the psychological victory and moral boost it gave the U.S. The April 18, 1942 attack came just five months after the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor and sent the message that the war would come to the Japanese home islands.
The four survivors are Dick Cole, Robert Hite, Edward Saylor and David Thatcher.
“The remaining Raiders will have their 71st reunion April 17 through 21 in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., where Griffin's passing will be noted. He had planned to attend the event,” USA Today said.
Those of us who cherish our freedom owe Griffin, who always rejected the term “hero,” a tremendous debt.