James Lloyd Griffin – Commander, United States Navy

Date of Birth: 27 December 1932
Date of Casualty:21 May 1967
Home of Record: GATES, TENNESSEE
Branch of Service: NAVY
Casualty Country: NORTH VIETNAM
Captured by the enemy on 19 May 1967 and died on 21 1967.  His remains were returned in April 1974.  Buried with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetery.

Remains Returned 03/1974
Name: James Lloyd Griffin
Branch/Rank: United States Navy/04
Unit: RVAH-13
Date of Birth: 27 December 1932
Home City of Record: GATES TN
Date of Loss: 19 May 1967
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 210500 North  1055100 East
Status (in 1973): Died in captivity
Category: 1
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: RA5C
Missions: 100+
Other Personnel in Incident:
Source: Compiled by P.O.W. NETWORK from one or more of the following: raw
data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA
families, published sources, interviews and CACCF = Combined Action
Combat Casualty File. Updated in 2001.


Having just learned of your POW info site, I thought you might like to have
more complete information on my first husband, James Lloyd Griffin.  The
information from the following is from my own knowledge, information
furnished me by the US Navy, and an obituary published at the time of his
death in the Washington Post (the source for which I believe was the US
Navy.) Feel free to include any of the following information on your site.
Thank you. Dora Bell
Commander James Lloyd Griffin
Born in Gates, Tennessee 27 December 1932, he attended the University of
Tennessee at Martin before entering the U.S. Naval Adacemy.  Upon graduation
from the academy in 1955 he entered flight training in Pensacola, Florida, and got
his wings in 1956.

He attended the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, and received
a professional degree in aeronautical engineering from University of Mchigan
in 1963.

He served in VA-83, deploying to the Mediterranean and flying missions in
Lebanon in 1958 aboard the aircraft carrier USS Essex and in 1959-60 aboard
USS Forrestal.  He joined RVAH-13 in 1964, servinge in Vietnam on two
cruises from 1965-1967.  In April of 1967 Commander Griffin had completed
100 combat missions; his plane was shot down over Hanoi on May 19, 1967–Ho
Chi Minh1s birthday.

Commander Griffin's awards included the Distinguished Flying Cross with gold
star; the Air Medal with bronze Star (eight awards); the Naval Commendatiion
Medal with gold star and combat distinguishing device; the Navy Achievement
Medal; the Purple Heart; Navy Unit Commendation Medal with bronze star;
Republic of Vietnam Meritorious Unit Citation (Galantry Cross Medal Color
with Palm); Vietnam Service Medal with three bronze stars; and the Republic
of Vietnam Campaign Medal.

On the day of his “shoot-down” a radio broadcast from Hanoi announced that Commander Griffin and his navigator had been captured, and, although gravely injured, he read a statement which was broadcast.  A photo of his military ID card was displayed in a museum in Hanoi. He was carried in a “missing in action” status until January, 1973, when his death on May 21, 1967 was revealed by the North Vietnamese. On January 16, 1974 the Secretary of the Navy verified that Commander Griffin had died while a prisoner of war. A plaque marking the event of his “shoot down” stands on the corner of a building in downtown Hanoi.

Survivors include his wife Dora, his son James, and his daughter Glyn Carol Griffin, his parents, two brothers and a sister.

Jim Griffin ('55) was shot down on 19 May 67. The plague in Hanoi that commemorates his shootdown has the date 5-19-67 which is the shootdown date and also Ho Chi Minh's birthday. The Navy and AF hit Hanoi hard that day and we lost 5 aircraft in the process. The plaque the Vietnamese erected on a wall in downtown Hanoi was to commemorate the shoot down of Jim Griffin's RA-5C.

I launched on the same strike as Jim on 19 May.  He was flying an RA5C, I was flying an EA3B.  My mission was electronic reconnaisance and early warning; his was BDA (bomb damage assessment).  I understand, from what I heard at the mission debrief, that his photo mission was low level which put him in range of the smaller stuff, (23mm).  His airspeed was in excess of Mach 1.0 so if something even that small hit him, his aircraft would start coming apart immediately.  I have visited his section of “The Wall” several times over the last 25 years.
Bob Newbegin



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