Fort Story celebrates life of 159th Transportation Company commander
By Joanna Hawkins/Fort Story Public Affairs
FORT STORY, Va. (TRADOC News Service, Nov. 27, 2006) -- Hearts were filled with sadness as the Fort Story community gathered at the post chapel Thursday for a memorial ceremony honoring the life of Capt. John A. Griffin, commander of the 159th Transportation Company, who was killed in a recreational diving accident Nov. 11 in Currituck, N.C.
“We will miss this captain, who worked hard for everything he got,” said Lt. Col. Tammie Pettit, 11th Transportation Battalion commander. “He will always remain in our hearts, and we will never forget him.”
Griffin, who arrived at 11th Bn. in May 2005 and first served as the battalion training officer, took command of the 159th in January. Affectionately called “J-Griff” by fellow company commanders, he was known for his innovative thinking, thirst for adventure, constant candor, dedication to Soldiers and training, and ability to overcome any obstacle.
Capt. Nikea Brame, former commander of the 241st Transportation Company who served with Griffin, paid tribute to her friend during the ceremony.
“If you look at John’s life, you would know without a doubt he lived life to the fullest each day,” said Brame. “His adventurous attitude, broad range of interests and happy demeanor made him a wonderful person to know.”
Griffin enlisted in the Army in 1991 as an armor crew member. After completing his enlistment at Fort Carson, Colo., he returned to his home state of Alabama to finish his bachelor’s degree at the University of South Alabama, while simultaneously serving in the Army National Guard. He then earned his master’s degree at the University of Central Florida, where he received his commission as a second lieutenant from the Florida Army National Guard’s Officer Candidates School program.
Griffin then transferred to the Army Reserves and served as a movement control officer with the 257th Movement Control Battalion. In 1999, he moved to the 16th Psychological Operations Battalion. In May 2007, Griffin was planning on returning to the Psychological Operations Corps, after being board-selected to become an elite member, fulfilling his dream of working psyops in the Army.
In 2001, Griffin returned to active duty as a transportation officer, serving with the 181st Transportation Battalion in Mannheim, Germany, deploying with this unit in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in February 2003.
After redeployment, he took command of HHD, 93rd Medical Battalion, but was later reassigned to 11th Bn. In his final position as the 159th commander, Griffin was the epitome of an excellent Soldier, inspiring his troops and leading with passion, integrity and enthusiasm, according to 2nd Lt. Shanna Johnson, 159th platoon leader.
“Warrior Pride company area will not be the same without the unique motivational presence of Capt. John Griffin,” said Johnson. “We, of the 159th, have lost a great leader and a good friend.”
Griffin is survived by his wife Nicole Bauer Griffin, mother Topsy Griffin, stepfather Mike Rogers and sister Rochelle Williams. He was preceded in death by his father, Robert Griffin.