Saturday, May 11, 2013

There are heroes and then there are HEROES!

(This entry from our home in the woods.)Forest Lake 001

In 1942, The USA needed something that told us we could win the war with Japan. We were down in the gutter with morale after Pearl Harbor.

Doolittle Raiders

Our planes could not reach Japan and return, so 80 men including Colonel  Doolittle, volunteered to take some B-25 bombers and head for Tokyo. Knowing they had enough fuel to get there but not enough to come back. There was the possibility of getting to China, but it was very slim.

This crew was from the “Whirling Dervish”.

Crew of the Whirley xxxxx Griffin in the center

Pilot Lt. H.F. Watson

Co-Pilot Lt. J.M. Parker Jr.

Navigator Lt. T.C. Griffin (remember that name)

Bombardier Sgt. W.M. Bissell

Engineer Gunner Tsgt. E.V. Scott

These men took that chance.They bombed Tokyo , and then flew as far as they could. Four planes crash-landed; 11 more crews bailed out, and three of the Raiders died. Eight more were captured; three were executed. Another died of starvation in a Japanese prison camp. One crew made it to Russia.


Of the 80 Raiders, 62 survived the war. They were celebrated as national heroes, models of bravery. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer produced a motion picture based on the raid; "Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo."  They had their final reunion last month, only 4 of them left.

To me, as a boy, those were heroes, but let me tell you about one of the men, Tom Griffin.  He survived the flight and ended up in another theater of the war and being shot down in Germany and spending 22 months as a POW. He survived, he was a hero. BUT that is not what I am here to tell you.

In 2002 Tom’s wife became very ill.  She was put in a nursing home.  Every day he walked to see her, to feed her to take care of her. Taking the soiled clothes home, washing and ironing them, to return them the next day.  Every day for three years until her death. THAT MY FRIENDS IS THE MARK OF THE TRUE HERO. That characteristic was in Doolittle Raiders. That selflessness was what made America’s military great.  It enabled us to rise from near defeat to become victorious. Tom died this past February at the age of 96.

He asked nothing special, seldom talked about the escapades, just a soldier doing his part. AND in the end just a husband meeting a promised responsibility.

(from our picture window)

Forest Lake 004

Thanks for coming by the log.

Nite Shipslog


Heroes come in all shapes and sizes, both sexes, all races and ages. Not every hero is known, but usually the ones on which the effort was spent,  remembers them. Those girls who were held captive will always remember someone coming to their aid once they were able to get someone’s attention.


What is that up front, could it be a 1941 Chevrolet Coupe?

Forest Lake 002

Yes and a young couple, she waved wildly as we passed. A beautiful restoration.

Forest Lake 003


BlueRidge Boomer said...

Love the framed pictures on the dash!!
Enjoy, Linda

Anonymous said...

Pearl Harbor. In no way am I trying to say it was some sort of teaching experience, but I do believe that you need to understand a war hitting close to home to really understand war. We talk a lot about war, but when the bombs are HERE it is very different than when they are in Europe or elsewhere.

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

Just like those raiders there are many heroes around us everyday. I know a few too. My hero has always been my grandmother. Gone but not forgotten. Hopefully none of us will ever forget those heroes that fought so bravely and all those around us too. They do deserve our thanks and admiration.

Paula said...

Yes heros are everywhere but especially our men and women who have served our country in the past and serving now. Like your home location. It looks so peaceful. Happy Mother's Day to Sherry.

shirl72 said...

Very good blog..We should always
remember the wars that was fought is the reason we have our freedom.


A beautiful story about one special man. A heroe indeed.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Griffin was one special hero...he took the tough times and just kept going! Your motorhome is looking seeing those flags flying!

Louis la Vache said...

What a great story about Tom Griffin!
There is a San Francisco Bay Area connection to this story. The B-25 bombers were loaded onto the flight deck of the carrier Hornet, CV8, at Pier 3 of the Alameda Naval Air Station here. So the Doolittle raid sailed for Tokyo from San Francisco Bay. A large street connecting Oakland and San Leandro is named in honor of Col. Doolittle, Doolittle Drive. Sadly, most people today have no idea of the significance of the name. Hornet CV8 was lost in the Battle of Santa Cruz Island in the Philippines in October, 1942. A new Essex class carrier, CV12, was under construction. CV12 was slated to be called Kersarge, but because the Navy had had a Hornet since the late 1700s, CV12 war christened Hornet rather than Kersarge, and another carrier then took the Kersarge name. Hornet CV12 went on to be the carrier that picked up 2 Apollo capsules. She is now a museum in Alameda, docked at Pier 3 where CV8 took on Doolittle's bombers.

Chatty Crone said...

This is funny Jack - guess what Andy was just studying in history for his test this week. An extremely interesting time and subject. sandie