Thursday, April 01, 2010

Marine Lance Cpl. Tyler O. Griffin

Remember Our Heroes

Marine Lance Cpl. Tyler O. Griffin, 19, of Voluntown, Conn.

LCpl Griffin was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.; died April 1, 2010 while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

By all indications, Tyler Owen Griffin was born to serve in the Marine Corps.

When given the artistic freedom during his culinary arts classes at Griswold High School, Griffin's first inclination was to create a cake shaped like the Corps emblem.

As a freshman, instead of asking GHS Principal Mark Frizzell, a 30-year member of the Marine Corps who retired in 2005 as a Chief Warrant Officer 4, for advice on whether to join the Corps, Griffin flat out said he would serve. "He had the mindset even before he joined. There were no second thoughts," Frizzell said Monday morning. "He didn't ask me, he told me."

On Thursday, Lance Cpl. Griffin, 19, was killed in combat operations in Afghanistan's Helmand province, according to the Department of Defense.

Griffin, who graduated from Griswold High in 2008, was assigned to 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Lejeune, N.C. Friends and acquaintances said he had been in Afghanistan for only about 30 days. He wanted to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery, according to someone who knew him as a child.

Devin Quinn’s parents choked back tears after Easter morning service at the Voluntown Baptist Church. “I just looked at Tyler’s picture,” said Wayne Quinn, his voice breaking. “It’s hard to look. He’s one of the guys.”

“Tyler was very kindhearted,” Kathy Quinn said. “He would give the shirt off his back.”

"It's a terrible thing, but this is one kid who wouldn't have it any other way," Frizzell said. "He truly believed in the Marine Corps, and as sad and as cold as it sounds, if he had to go at an inopportune time, this is what he wanted to be doing. I know he's a man, but boy, he's a kid. A great American."

Monday, teachers and students at Griswold High remembered Griffin as an energetic, enthusiastic and respectful student and peer whose primary goal in life was to be a Marine.

At the end of the morning announcements Monday, the school held a moment of silence that was broken by Frizzell's voice at the end. "Semper Fidelis," he said.

In Voluntown, there is a sense of sadness. A resident was seen weeping in front of one of the American flags that now hangs at half-staff. A sign at the corner of Routes 138 and 165 and Beachdale Avenue read "Tyler Owen Griffin A Voluntown Hero."

Monday evening, Wendy Vachon, the youth leader of the Voluntown Baptist Church, remembered Griffin as a vivacious young man with an infectious smile, healthy sense of humor and always a kind word to share. Griffin was active in the church when he was younger.

"He was a beautiful young man, not only in appearance, but on the inside," said Vachon, who worked as a paraprofessional at the Voluntown Elementary School, which Griffin attended. "I could tell from an early age that he was loyal to his country.

"I'm just thankful for the service and life that he gave but I'm sorry and will miss him greatly," she said after taking a moment to keep her emotions in check. "I just pray that God will carry that family through this time."

Gov. M. Jodi Rell said Monday afternoon she planned to call Griffin's family.

"My thoughts and prayers and sympathies go out to his family," Rell said. "It's easy for us to stand back and say he died doing what he wanted to do and what he loved. That's of little comfort to his family. But the truth is, he was doing his life's dream, and that has to count for something."

Griffin's mother, wearing a Marine Corps sweatshirt, declined to talk to a reporter at the family's house Monday afternoon.

U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District, called Griffin a "hero that every person in Connecticut should pay homage to."

"He stepped up and volunteered to make us safe and free," Courtney said.

Dean Wittwer, a member of the Voluntown Baptist Church and its spokesman, said the church is prepared to support the family and that a memorial service would be scheduled for Griffin as soon as the family contacts the congregation.

Maj. Charles K. Jaworski Jr., spokesman for the Connecticut National Guard, added Monday that he was also waiting to hear whether the Guard would be needed in any kind of support role, such as assistance with the funeral.

Marine Lance Cpl. Tyler O. Griffin was killed in action on 4/1/10.


Anonymous said...

God Bless the Griffins. I'm sorry for your loss...I am an older brother of a young Marine just like Tyler...I am keeping them, all of my young Americans in my prayers. Thank you Tyler for everything that you did for us and I know you are i a better place! May the Lord bless you and protect your soul in the afterlife! God bless

rick said...

its been six years and I for one have not forgotten what you did for my country. rest in peace young man. God take care of this marine.