Griff was born January 21, 1980, in Naha, Okinawa, Japan where his two parents were both on active duty with the U.S. Military. This was Griff's fourth tour in Iraq. He was part of a detachment of Defenders from the U.S. Air Force's 732nd Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron. As a Defender, Griff and his fellow Security Force members were placed in direct combat roles traditionally performed by Army units. While most Airmen deploy for only four to six months, Griff volunteered to deploy for a full year.
While most Airmen serving in Iraq rarely venture outside the confines of the safety of the base, Griff and members of his team (Detachment 3) would go outside the wire on an almost daily basis. Defenders are skilled in the employment of a variety of weapons and train frequently on advanced combat techniques. Griff's skills were among the best and he would often be seen teaching the younger Defenders.
Griff kept many of us going during tough times, using humor to bring a smile to our faces. His contagious personality and enthusiasm was often times, the nucleous of the small teams we operate in. To many of us Griff was more than an Airman, he was a friend, a mentor, a warrior, and a brother. Griff was killed on Apr 3, 2008 when an improvised explosive device detonated underneath the vehicle he was riding in. He was scheduled to leave Iraq, only a few weeks after he was killed.