MAJOR GENERAL PERRY BRUCE GRIFFITH
Died January 10,1985
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Perry Bruce Griffith was born in 1911, in Wichita, Kan., the son of the late Reverend and Mrs. Bruce Griffith. He graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in 1934, was commissioned in the Cavalry, and reported to the Presidio of Monterey, Calif., for duty. In 1939 he won the "All-Round Equestrain Championship" at the Cavarly School and shortly thereafter went to flying school and was rated a pilot, transferred to the Air Corps and was posted to Marshall Field, Kan.
When World War II began, he was a major, commanding the 1st Observation Squadron, which he immediately led to Howard Field, Canal Zone. In February 1942 he was made commander, 72nd Reconnaissance Group, and in March he became commander, VI Support Command (containing the 72d Reconnaissance Group, 20th Troop Carrier Squadron, 501st Parachute Battalion, and 511th Air Borne Battalion.) The organization was engaged primarily in anti-submarine warfare in the Caribbean and Pacific oceans, and preparation for combat in the European Theater of Operations and Pacific Theater. In December 1942 he was promoted to colonel and in May 1943 he was ordered to command all air, land and naval components in the Galapagos Islands where the mission was that of long-range patrol in B-24's of the East Pacific against enemy submarines and shipping. He completed more than 350 hours of anti-sub and anti-shipping missions during this period as a pilot.
In September 1944 he was ordered to return to the U.S. and to the IV Air Force where he assumed command of Gowen Field, Idaho, a combat crew training station for B-24s. In the summer of 1945 he was ordered to the Mariannas, but at war's end he was transferred to Bowman Field, Ky., as commanding officer.
When Bowman Field was deactivated in June 1946, Colonel Griffith was ordered to return to the Caribbean Air Command, where he served on the staff of Lieutenant General Hubert Harmon and there assumed command of the 5700th Composite Wing. He held this command until the summer of 1949 when he was ordered to the U.S. and the Air War College as a student.
Upon graduation in 1950 he was transferred to Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., where he assumed command of the 4901st Support Wing (Atomic), a position he held until August 1952. During he service at Kirtland he was one of three key officers who initiated and conducted the first stateside atomic tests in Nevada. He participated in two more tests at the Nevada Test Site while he commanded the 4901st Wing. He was transferred to Headquarters U.S. Air Force as deputy assistant for atomic energy in 1952. He held this position for the next three years, broken only by a special mission to Far East Air Forces and Korea shortly before the end of the Korean War.
In July 1955 he was promoted to brigadier general and ordered to Headquarters Joint Task Force Seven as deputy for air in which position he served on Operation Redwing in the Eniwetok Proving Ground - the 1956 atomic test overseas. He was designated chief of staff Joint Task Force Seven, Sept. 9, 1956 and served as such on the 1958 overseas atomic test Hardtack.
His decorations include two Legions of Merit, Soldier's Medal, Air Medal, two Commendation Ribbons, Air Force Cross (Guatemala), Order of Abdon Calderon (Ecuador), Honorary Pilot (Ecuadorian Air Force). He is a command pilot and an aircraft observer.
(Current as of Aug. 31, 1959)