- NATO Kosovo Force
- Operation Enduring Freedom
- Operation Freedom’s Sentinel
- Operation Inherent Resolve
- Operation Iraqi Freedom
- Operation New Dawn
- Operation Octave Shield
- Operation Odyssey Lightning
- Operation Spartan Shield
- U.S. Africa Command Operations
- U.S. Central Command operations
- The People Behind The Sacrifice
Air Force Staff Sgt. Travis L. Griffin
Died April 3, 2008 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom
28, of Dover, Del.; assigned to the 377th Security Forces Squadron, Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M.; died April 3 near Baghdad of wounds sustained when his vehicle encountered an improvised explosive device.
Airman remembered as confident leader
The Associated Press
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Air Force Staff Sgt. Travis Griffin knew the dangers of serving in Iraq, but the 28-year-old volunteered anyway as part of a yearlong deployment to help train Iraqi police officers.
Griffin was on patrol in central Baghdad on Thursday when his vehicle encountered a roadside bomb and he was killed, officials at Kirtland Air Force Base confirmed late Friday.
Griffin, who had served in the Air Force for nearly nine years, was a member of the 377th Security Forces Squadron at Kirtland. He had been stationed at the Albuquerque base since July 2004.
Griffin’s mother, Christine Herwick of western Ohio, was at the Clearcreek Christian Assembly in Springboro, Ohio, on Thursday when she learned of her son’s death. Griffin’s picture is on a prayer wall at the church.
“He died doing what he loved,” she said.
Herwick and Griffin’s stepfather, Donald Herwick III, said he was born in Okinawa, where the Herwicks were both on active duty, and traveled with them from base to base.
“We knew there was risk every day,” Donald Herwick said. “He wanted to be there.”
Col. Robert Suminsby, installation commander at Kirtland, said Griffin’s mission in Iraq was much more dangerous than what most airmen are confronted with.
“Most deploy for four to six months. He actually volunteered to go on a 365-day tour,” Suminsby said. “He was one of the folks that really stepped up to do not just a very dangerous and demanding mission, but one that was going to last a lot longer.”
Griffin, of Dover, Del., had been in Iraq since October and was working with the 732nd Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron. As part of the squadron’s Detachment 3, Griffin and his fellow airmen were focused on helping build Iraq’s police force.
Capt. Kevin Eberhart, operations officer of Kirtland’s security forces, had regular talks with Griffin before he deployed last fall. The two talked about Griffin being safe and taking care of his troops as well as the importance of the mission.
“The biggest thing that comes to mind when I think about him is he was definitely the right person if you had to pick one individual from our unit to go over and do this training. He was that one,” Eberhart said.
In a November interview with the American military newspaper Stars and Stripes, Griffin said: “I want to leave knowing that we’ve done something.”
Eberhart described Griffin as competent and confident but not arrogant.
“He had a capability and a charisma about him,” he said.
Kirtland Air Force Base spokeswoman Jillian Speake said a memorial service was being planned for Griffin but no date has been set.
Griffin is the second Kirtland airman to die in Iraq in the past month. Sgt. Christopher Frost, 24, a native of Wisconsin, was killed in March near Bayji, Iraq, when the Iraqi Army Mi-17 helicopter in which he was riding crashed. He was assigned to Kirtland’s 377th Air Base Wing and worked with the base’s public affairs office.
Air Force Staff Sgt. Travis L. Griffin remembered
The Associated Press
Travis L. Griffin was blessed with patience, stamina and an “internal motor” that kept him going hours into a job, said Capt.
Kevin Eberhart. “Everyone else would be dragging, but it seemed like he was never worn out.”
“His lot in this world,” Eberhart added, “was to train people. He used humor, sometimes self-deprecating humor, to get his points across.”
Griffin, 28, of Dover, Del., was killed April 3 near Baghdad by a roadside bomb. He was assigned to Kirtland Air Force Base and was on his fourth tour in Iraq — his seventh assignment in the Middle East.
Col. Robert Suminsby said Griffin’s mission in Iraq was much more dangerous than what most airmen are confronted with. “Most deploy for four to six months. He actually volunteered to go on a 365-day tour,” Suminsby said. “He was one of the folks that really stepped up to do not just a very dangerous and demanding mission, but one that was going to last a lot longer.”
Eberhart described Griffin as competent and confident but not arrogant. “He had a capability and a charisma about him,” he said.
He is survived by his wife, Krista, and son, Elijah, 5.