Flag flies for David Griffin

Flag flies for David Griffin Photo

In its mission to take history out of the textbooks by honoring a local veteran each month of the school year, the Hampton Bays School District is paying tribute to Vietnam veteran David Griffin by flying an American flag in his honor through the month of May.

“The district is proud to honor Mr. Griffin for his bravery and service to the United States,” said Superintendent of Schools Lars Clemensen.

Mr. Griffin was honored at a ceremony held May 26 at Hampton Bays Elementary School. During the event, select musicians from the Class of 2017 performed; high school student Ava Bianchi sang “The Star- Spangled Banner” and high school senior Dylan Durand, who will be entering the military upon graduation, introduced Mr. Griffin by reading his biography. Also, public officials, including Southampton Supervisor Jay Schneiderman and Suffolk County Legislator Bridget Fleming spoke in Mr. Griffin’s honor. The ceremony concluded with the raising of the American flag.

Mr. Griffin was born in 1942 at Southampton Hospital. He and his parents lived on his grandparents’ farm in Bridgehampton until his parents bought a house in North Sea in 1947. Mr. Griffin graduated from Southampton High School in 1961. After high school, he worked for Ernest Julke as a carpenter. He held a variety of jobs and in early 1963 he met his wife, Paulette, in Montauk. She was tending bar at Gurney’s and Mr. Griffin was driving a cement truck for Bistrian Cement Contractors in East Hampton. They married in 1963 and their first child, Linda, was born in 1964.

In 1965, Mr. Griffin received his draft notice for induction into the U.S. Army. He took a bus from Smithtown to Whitehall Street, the Armed Forces Induction Center, in lower Manhattan. Mr. Griffin was offered the choice of joining the Army or the Marine Corps and he chose the Marines. He went home for 30 days before reporting for duty. He was sent to Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, North Carolina for in-processing. From there, he was sent to boot camp at Parris Island in Beaufort South Carolina. When he completed boot camp, he was trained as a sniper.

After graduation and another 30 days’ leave, Mr. Griffin returned to duty and boarded a troop ship to Vietnam. He was assigned to sniper duty and spent three days at a time in the jungle waiting to ambush enemy forces. Seven other Marines also went out three days at a time. In 1966, he was wounded and awarded his first Purple Heart. He returned to the U.S. and then deployed for his second tour of duty in Vietnam from 1967-1968. He was assigned to the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force at Khe Sanh. Mr. Griffin was wounded in June 1967 and was treated on the USS Repose, a hospital ship and awarded his second Purple Heart before returning to complete his tour of duty at Khe Sanh.  

After completing his second tour of duty, Mr. Griffin returned to the U.S. before enlisting for a third tour in Vietnam from 1968-1969. He fortunately was not wounded again. Upon completion of his third tour, Mr. Griffin returned to the U.S. and was honorably discharged.  

For his service, Mr. Griffin was awarded two Purple Hearts, the Vietnam Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.

After his service, Mr. Griffin returned to North Sea and worked as a carpenter and was a member of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters in Medford, New York. He and Paulette had a son, Michael, in 1972. They stayed married until 1982. Mr. Griffin continued to work as a carpenter and retired in the late 1980s or early 1990s. He now resides in Hampton Bays.