Thomas C. Griffin, Doolittle Raider
Thomas C. Griffin
Thomas C. Griffin, a B-25 bomber navigator in the audacious Doolittle’s Raid attack on mainland Japan during World War II, died Feb. 26 at a veterans nursing home in northern Kentucky. He was 96.
The family announced the death but did not disclose the cause. His death leaves four surviving Raiders.
Mr. Griffin was among the 80 original volunteers for the daring April 18, 1942, mission. When they began training, they were told only it would be “extremely hazardous,” coming in the aftermath of Japan’s devastating attack on Pearl Harbor and a string of other Japanese military successes.
The attack on Tokyo, with a risky launch of 16 land-based bombers at sea from an aircraft carrier, shocked the Japanese and was credited with providing a major lift to American morale.
The planes lacked fuel to reach safe bases after dropping their bombs. Then-Maj. Griffin parachuted over China after the attack, eluded Japanese capture, and returned to action in bombing runs from North Africa before being shot down in 1943 and spending nearly two years in a German prison camp.
Thomas Carson Griffin was a native of Green Bay, Wis., and settled in the Cincinnati area after the war and had an accounting business. He died less than two months from what now will be the Raiders’ final annual reunion, April 17-21 in Fort Walton Beach, in the Florida Panhandle where the Raiders trained for the attack.
Dale Robertson, an Oklahoma native who became a star of television and movie Westerns during the genre’s heyday, died Feb. 26 at a hospital in La Jolla, Calif. He was 89.
Mr. Robertson’s niece, Nancy Robertson, confirmed the death but did not disclose the cause.
Dale Robertson had bit parts in films before landing more high-profile roles, such as Jesse James in “Fighting Man of the Plains,” starring Randolph Scott.
Mr. Robertson later moved into television, starring in series such as “Tales of Wells Fargo” (1957-62), “Iron Horse” (1966) and “Death Valley Days” (1968-70). He subsequently landed roles in the popular nighttime soap operas “Dallas” and “Dynasty.”
In 1993, he took what would be his final role, as Zeke in the show “Harts of the West,” before retiring from acting to spend more time at his ranch in Yukon, Okla., where he lived until moving to the San Diego area in recent months, Nancy Robertson said.
Born Dayle Lymoine Robertson in Harrah, Okla., he attended Oklahoma Military College at 17 and boxed in professional prize fights to earn money. He served in the Army in North Africa and Europe during World War II.
While stationed at San Luis Obispo, Calif., he had a photograph taken for his mother. A copy of the photo displayed in the photo shop window attracted movie scouts, and the 6-foot-tall, 180-pound Mr. Robertson soon was on his way to Hollywood.
— From news services