Griffiths, Richard D.

Richard D. Griffiths

Maj. Richard D. Griffiths, a rescue helicopter pilot for the US Air Force for 16 years, died of complication from spine cancer Friday in New England Deaconess Hospital in Boston.

He was 56 and had lived in Kingston since 1975.

Mr. Griffiths was discharged from the Air Force in 1975. From 1970 to 1973, he had flown a stand-by rescue helicopter for Air Force One, the president’s plane.

Throughout his Air Force career, Mr. Griffiths received several commendations and medals for bravery and flying expertise.

In 1969, while serving in the Vietnam War as the flight commander of a helicopter at the Da Nang Airbase in Vietnam, he received a Distinguished Flying Cross for the rescue of 11 downed pilots and crew members during hazardous missions under adverse weather conditions and the threat of hostile groundfire and attack.

Mr. Griffiths also received medals while station in Alaska, including one in 1967 for participation in the rescue of 132 persons from the flood waters that had inundated the city of Fairbanks, and the transport of 64 firefighting apparatus over mountainous terrain to forests of Tok Junction in 1966.

He was born in Pembroke and graduated from Pembroke Hight School in 1950. Mr. Griffiths enlisted in the Air Force in 1952, became a pilot in 1959 and a major in 1969.

After his discharge, he became an electronic engineer for the Stone and Webster Engineering Corp. for six years until 1986. In 1980, Mr. Griffiths received a bachelor’s degree in engineering technology from the Wentworth Institute.

He leaves his wife, Mary Lou (Washburn); two daughters, Dawn Manning of Boston and Heather L. Jones of Kingston; a son, Richard Jr. of Waldorf, MD.; his mother, Angelina (Mazzucchi) of Bryantville, and three grandchildren.

Service will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday in the Shepard Funeral Home in Kingston.

Burial will be in Ashdod Cemetery, Duxbury.


Capt. Griffiths served a tour in the Vietnam War as a HH-3E pilot with the 37th ARRS in the 1968-1969-time frame.

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