GRIFFITH, THOMAS EDWARD JR.
Name: Thomas Edward Griffith, Jr. Rank/Branch: O4/US Air Force Unit: 335th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 4th Tactical Fighter Wing Age: 34 Home City: Goldsboro NC Date of Loss: 17 January 1991 Country of Loss: Unknown Loss Coordinates: Status: Released POW 03/04/91 Acft/Vehicle/Ground: F15E
Other Personnel in Incident: David W. Eberly (released)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 09 March 1991 from one or more of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, published sources, interviews. Updated by the POW NETWORK 2002.
REMARKS: OPERATION DESERT STORM
SYNOPSIS: In the early days of hostilities in the Middle East, about one dozen American pilots were shot down and declared missing. The Pentagon, reluctant to release more information than was necessary, released only name, rank, branch of service and age of each missing man. Family members, friends and media sources reported more.
On January 20, 1991, the Pentagon announced that Major Thomas E. Griffith, Jr., US Air Force, navigator onboard an F15E, was missing from early offensive strikes over Iraq and Kuwait. He and his pilot, Col. David W. Eberly, did not return from their mission on January 17. Both men were from the 4th Tactical Fighter Wing based at Seymour Johnson Air Base in Goldsboro, North Carolina. No further information was given as to date of loss, location of loss or probability of survival.
On January 20, 1991, a video interview of Allied POWs was broadcast on Iraqi television. First the audio portion, then the video, were shown in the U.S. by Cable News Network (CNN). Seven Allied POWs (including three Americans) had been paraded through Bagdhad in a propaganda move and coerced into making "peace" statements. All appeared to be speaking under extreme duress.
On January 25, the Iraqis again broadcast interviews with Allied prisoners of war. Maj. Griffith was shown on CNN. He said he was an F-15 navigator based at al-Kharj, Saudi Arabia. Col. David Eberly, the pilot of Griffith's fighter was also shown. A third man who identified himself as Lt. Lawrence Randolph Blake, 26, a carrier pilot, was later identified by the Press as Lt. Lawrence Randolph Slade, shot down over Iraq January 25.
On March 3, 1991, Thomas E. Griffith was released by the Iraqis, followed by Eberly on March 6. Griffith was released in a group of six Americans and Eberly was released with a group of 15. Generally, the POWs reported they were treated well.