Monday, March 19, 2001

Flier on Tokyo raid to speak at NKU

By Ben L. Kaufman
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Bridgetown resident Thomas C. Griffin, who flew on Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle's 1942 raid on Tokyo, will speak on his World War II experiences Thursday at Northern Kentucky University.

        “I wanted to be where the action was,” he recalled on Friday, “and I was.”

        Mr. Griffin, 85, was the navigator for one of 16 twin-engine B-25s that bombed Tokyo and three other Japanese cities.

        The raid followed Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor by four months and was launched from the carrier Hornet as much to boost American morale as to worry the Japanese on the home islands.

        Fifteen planes reached China, where their crews bailed out. One B-25 landed in the USSR.

        Mr. Griffin said his B-25 ran out of fuel 300 miles into unoccupied China where the crew bailed out and reached Allied forces. He later served in North Africa and Italy.

        Mr. Griffin was a coastal artillery officer before the United States entered the war.

        He concluded that “the war was going to be fought in the air” and he transferred to the Army Air Corps.

        His unit was chosen for the raid because it was one of the few training with the B-25 “Billy Mitchell” that Lt. Col. Doolittle chose for the novel carrier-based attack.

        Mr. Griffin's talk about his World War II experiences will begin at 7:15 p.m. Thursday in Room 200 at Northern Kentucky University's BEP Center. His lecture is free to the public. Information: (859) 572-5461.


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