Wednesday, December 21, 2011
His Star Has Turned From Blue to Gold
Maj. Samuel M. Griffith, 36, of Virginia Beach, Virginia
A Marine Reservist, killed in action in Afghanistan. He is the 1857th Troop to die in Afghanistan since 2001.
1857 families will look at an empty chair this Christmas.
Griffith's mother said her son had a passion to serve his country and his community. "He was doing what he loved. That was his gift. That was his passion," she said.
Sam Griffith's hometown is Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina, near Camp LeJuene, where his father still lives. Sam was an Eagle Scout who grew up dreaming of becoming an astronaut, and going to flight school and being a military pilot. He graduated from Enloe High School in Raleigh in 1993, and joined the Naval ROTC program at Penn State University.
When Sam Griffith graduated from Penn State in 1997, he was commissioned in the Marine Corps, where he trained as a pilot. He met his future wife, Cassandra, as a student at Penn State University. They married shortly after he returned from flight school Pensacola.
Maj. Griffith flew F-18s with All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 533 based in Beaufort, S.C., and also worked as an instructor for forward air controllers. Griffith was promoted to the rank of major in 2009. He deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan while on active duty.
Maj. Griffith received a series of awards and decorations, including two Air Medals and the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal. About two years ago, he became an inactive reservist in the Forward Air Control Unit for 4th Anglico.
Major Griffith arrived in Afghanistan less than a month ago with the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force from Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. He volunteered earlier this year to go to Afghanistan as a forward air controller, identifying enemy targets and calling in aircraft. He was one of 17 members from his 230 member Marine Reserve unit deployed in Afghanistan.
He leaves a wife and two sons.
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May Almighty God Bless this brave warrior.
May Almighty God bring comfort to his family and friends.
May Almighty God protect all who serve.