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U.S. Air Force Helicopter History
Jerry M. Griggs, Lt. Colonel, USAF (Retired)August 02, 1936 – January 02, 2021
Jerry Griggs was born August 2, 1936 to Hazel and Jerry W. Griggs in Draper, NC. He attended school in Kannapolis and decided to pursue a career as an Air Force Aviator. After flight school he was stationed at Stead Air force Base in Reno where he met his forever love, Betty. They were married and had son Jonathan there. Jerry was then assigned to Da Nang Vietnam where he was the pilot in command of a rescue helicopter picking up downed pilots. For his numerous rescues where he exhibited bravery and perseverance under fire, he returned to the States highly decorated, including the Air Force Cross, two Silver Stars and a Distinguished Flying Cross. He was then stationed at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage, Alaska continuing rescue work in helicopters and it was there that daughter, Chelsey was born.
During the Cold War, Jerry was assigned to the Strategic Air Command flying B-52 bombers from Barksdale Air Force Base in Bossier City, Louisiana. He was promoted to Lt. Colonel and was Operations Officer for his Squadron. Jerry retired there and quickly obtained his bachelor’s degree in accounting and moved the family west to Boise, Idaho. Jerry worked in leadership positions in several businesses in Boise and also in Bremerton, Washington where they lived for a time. Jerry retired from the business and property management world and they moved to Elko, Nevada where he enjoyed retirement with family and friends. Colonel Griggs took his final flight on January 2, 2021 and is survived by his wife Betty “I did not want to let my forever love go”, sisters Linda (John) and Nancy, brother Mike (Felicia), son Jon (Shellie), daughter Chelsey, grandchildren Wyatt and Mackenzie and numerous nieces and nephews. A Celebration of Life will be held this Summer.
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