Doolittle Raider Thomas Griffin Dies

Retired Maj. Thomas C. Griffin, one of the Doolittle Raiders who, along with 79 other airmen, carried out a daring bombing attack on Tokyo on April 18, 1942, died in his sleep in a veterans’ hospital in Cincinnati on Feb. 26, reported He was 96. Griffin, a native of Green Bay, Wisc., served as navigator on aircraft No. 9, one of the 16 B-25 bombers under the command of then-Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle that took off from the deck of the carrier USS Hornet in the Pacific Ocean to bomb Tokyo on that spring day in 1942, just four months after Japan’s strike on Pearl Harbor. Griffin, then a lieutenant, bailed out with his crewmates over China after the raid and made his way back to allied lines. Eventually returning to combat, he later spent 22 months as a prisoner of war in Germany after his airplane was shot down in July 1943. Griffin’s death leaves four surviving Doolittle Raiders: retired Lt. Col. Richard Cole, co-pilot on aircraft No. 1; retired Lt. Col. Bob Hite, co-pilot on aircraft No. 16; retired Lt. Col. Edward Saylor, engineer on aircraft No. 15; and retired MSgt. David Thatcher, engineer-gunner on aircraft No. 7. Those four are scheduled to gather in mid-April in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., for the Doolittle Raiders’ 71st reunion. (For more on the historic mission, read Doolittle’s Raid from Air Force Magazine’s archives.) (See also National Museum of the US Air Force’s Facebook posting on Griffin.)