Peter S. Griffin (Grif) was born 14 November 1946 in Oswego, New York. He joined the U.S. Army on 13 March 1964 and was honorably discharged on 10 March 1967. His unit assignments were Co. A, 2/502nd Infantry, 101st Airborne Division and Co. C, 2/505th Infantry, 82nd Airborne Division. On Memorial Day weekend, 1998, he was inducted into the 502nd Infantry Distinguished Members of the Regiment, Halls of Fame, in a ceremony at Ft. Campbell, Kentucky.
He is a "Boat Person", arriving in Viet Nam on board the "U.S.N.S. GENERAL LEROY ELTINGE", 29 July 1965. (The 1st Brigade of the 101st Airborne operated seperately until 1968, when the rest of the division arrived.) After discharge he attended the Police Academy at Syracuse, New York and served as a Police Officer in Oswego, New York from 1968-78. He also attended the State University College at Oswego, taking Public Justice courses.
His military decorations include, the Viet Nam Service Medal with two bronze battle stars, the Silver Star, the Army Commendation Medal, the Good Conduct Medal, the Republic of Viet Nam Campaign Medal with device (1960), the Presidential Unit Citation with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Valorous Unit Citation, the Meritorious Unit Citation, the Republic of Viet Nam Cross of Gallantry with Palm, the Parachute Badge, the Vietnamese Paratrooper Badge, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Recondo Patch, the National Defense Service Medal and the Expert Rifleman Badge. He recently received the Conspicuous Service Star with four accoutrements and the Conspicuous Service Cross from the State of New York for his patriotic service.
After his well-deserved retirement, LTG Henry (Gunfighter) E. Emerson, Grif's former battalion commander (then Lieutenant Colonel) directly and personally decorated Grif with a Silver Star Medal (bearing the General's name) and an Air Medal with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters. The General also posthumously awarded Grif's KIA brother, John with the Bronze Star Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, also bearing the General's name. Although unofficial, this most honorable, gracious and remarkable act of brotherhood and recognition of military deeds of valor and merit of the two combat paratrooper brothers will forever remain in the thoughts, hearts and minds of the entire Griffin family. Gunfighter was a most beloved, gallant officer and true friend and his personal relationship with the Griffins will forever be honored, respected and deeply cherished. Grif and his wife, Brenda were honored to have been personally invited to the General's funeral at Arlington National Cemetery. Their attendance to honor this great man and leader was an experience they will never forget.
DISTINGUISHED MEMBER OF REGIMENT
CPL John T. Griffin - "G" Company,
187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team
11th Airborne Division
~KILLED IN ACTION~
Parun-ni, South Korea
25 March, 1951...
This poem was written by Peter S. Griffin
and lovingly dedicated to his brother, John.
Death, my friend, comes to everyone,
If one is old, it is not so shunned....
But to lose one's life, before it's begun,
Is a loss, that leaves all stunned....
For a young man to go to war,
To love his country, enough to die for....
Is a noble thing indeed,
To give up all, for his friends in need....
Politics do not play a part,
The soldier's love is from the heart....
To toil and suffer all day long,
To give his all, to right a wrong....
To ease the suffering of those in need,
Is, my friend, a noble deed....
For he was hungry, cold and wet,
But still he fought, and his eyes wept....
For you see, before death came,
He laid his eyes, upon the lame....
He saw the evil that men can do,
He saw the hatred, as it grew....
War is hell upon our earth,
A curse we fight, from it's birth....
For when men can't get along,
Battle lines are often drawn....
When "A SOLDIER IS NO MORE",
Death was caused, by an act of war....
He suffered much, in his pain,
He gave his life, for our gain....
We owe him a debt, we can't pay,
He sacrificed, all his days....
He lost his love, never again, to hold her near,
So we could live without the fear....
We are obliged to carry on,
He would want us to be strong.....
For us to live our whole life free,
We turn his death - to victory.....
"A SOLDIER IS NO MORE", or less,
Than our country's very best.....
For one to martyr his own life,
The ultimate sacrifice, for our plight.....
He gave his life for you and me,
Never forget, it was willingly....
For my friend, his death will never be,
Just a fading memory....
They say, "Old Soldiers Just Fade Away,"
That's not true, they risked their days....
There is no better thing to do,
To serve your flag, your whole life through....
A soldier's life is always condensed,
A life of service, to be spent.....
They know when they take up arms,
To love and serve, in spite of harm.....
"A SOLDIER IS NO MORE", than this,
The winds most silent, loving kiss.....
The bright sun, lighting all our days,
The tears shed, upon his grave.....
Rest in peace, my brother gone,
I 'll think of you, not forlorned....
For I know your spirit soars,
Tis Heaven's gain, "A SOLDIER IS NO MORE"....
In October 1951, a HUE AND CRY, went unheard,
Of atomic blasts, our government, longed to learn....
So it came to be, soldiers, used, in atomic testing,
The human tragedy, be still unfolding....
Obedient soldiers, all were they,
Under strict orders, none would stray....
883 men, all trapped, no way out,
Over time, ailments and death, would result.....
All of them, every Mother's son,
In the Nevada desert, cooked, till done....
"Operation Buster/Jangle", it was named,
U.S. Paratroopers, thrown, into a deadly game....
To what benefit, could this serve?,
To illuminate, a human's every nerve...?
Guinea pigs, forced, they would become,
Perform, they would, for the country they loved....!
The war in Korea, was still raging,
Chinese communists, all fronts, staging....
Atomic bombs, to be used, in close support,
Total annihilation, the last resort.....?
Was this the reason, unheard, the HUE AND CRY?,
Whatever the risk?, our soldiers, "to do and die".....!
Be they just fodder?, to use at government will?,
For a better way, to maim and kill....!
These soldiers, not provided, any, protective gear,
The government said, "you have nothing to fear.....,
To your health, exposure, will have no effect,
Any danger, we'll surely detect"....!
These soldiers, exposed to seven detonations,
Did not share, the government's exhilaration.....
Ordered to "Police", after each equation,
All were subjected to contamination.....!
"Camp Desert Rock", certainly, no place to be,
Ionizing-radiation exposure, not a victory....
Life was at extremely high risk,
None of these Paratroopers, had a death wish....!
The government constructed, several "Doom Towns"
Amongst the buildings, animals were bound.....
Sheep, goats, dogs and pigs, caught in the blast,
Seared to death, with their last gasp....!
"Ground Zero", where the bomb exploded,
A place where courage and valor, could be eroded....
Never the less, these soldiers had to go,
Through these "Tulips", soldiers, couldn't tiptoe...!
Just one bomb, detonated on November 1st,
Equaled the bombing, that sealed Nagasaki's fate....
In just minutes, soldiers, at "Ground Zero",
Not a single one, ever called "HERO"....!
Compensation made, to civilians down wind,
When will "Atomic Vets", JUST DUES begin....?
Devastating health problems, plague their lives,
Pain stabs their bodies, like a knife....!
Over 20% fathered children with genetic defects,
The government claims, no radiation effects....!
If politicians born, such daughters and sons,
Damned straight, something, would soon be done....!
You, the American people, please , NOW, hear their HUE AND CRY,
For it was for you, they risked their lives....
Our government, recklessly, put them in harm's way,
They need your voice, to save the day....!
The Veterans Administration, surely then, would address their needs....!
Your strong voice, our government, would heed....!
Your HUE AND CRY, would bring just compensation,
Finally, they would experience, their exhilaration...!