Griggs, Jerry M.

Jerry M. Griggs, Lt. Colonel, USAF (Retired)
August 2, 1936 – January 2, 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 Airforce 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.




The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Air Force Cross to Jerry M. Griggs, Major, U.S. Air Force, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an opposing armed force as Rescue Crew Commander of an HH-3E helicopter of the 37th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron, 3d Air Rescue and Recovery Group, DaNang Air Base, Vietnam, SEVENTH Air Force, in action near the A Shau Valley, Republic of Vietnam, on 30 March 1968. On that date, Major Griggs flew over hostile territory in low overcast weather to reach the survivors from six American helicopters which had been shot down by hostile fire. After his aircraft received substantial battle damage from intense opposing ground fire, Major Griggs, with undaunted determination, indomitable courage, and professional skill, persisted in the rescue attempt until he rescued four survivors, although he sustained further battle damage from the intense hostile ground fire. Through his extraordinary heroism, superb airmanship, and aggressiveness in the face of hostile forces, Major Griggs reflected the highest credit upon himself and the United States Air Force. Home Town: Elko, Nevada

Integrity, Honor, and Respect
Some of the best things cannot be bought, they must be earned

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