Dale Edward GRIFFITH

GRIFFITH, Dale Edward

Major Dale Edward Griffith USAFR (Ret.) of Austin passed away Thursday, December 5, 2013 peacefully in his home at the age of 89. He was raised in rural Iowa and graduated from Malcolm High School class of 1941 in Brooklyn, Iowa.

Dale enlisted in the Army Air Corps in WWII and served in the Tenth Army Air Force 80th Fighter Group as fighter pilot in Burma and India. His unit, known as the Burma Banshees, flew Republic P-47 'Thunderbolts' as dive bombers for close air support of ground troops fighting to open the Burma Road to China. He completed over 110 dive-bombing missions and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, with Oak Leaf Cluster for his service.

He was recalled to duty in 1962 as one of the first thirty U.S. Air Force pilots sent to Viet Nam as advisors. A member of the esteemed 'Dirty Thirty', he was assigned to the Vietnamese Air Force where they usually served as C-47 co-pilots in round-the-clock supply operations that forced them to live and sleep in their flight suits.

Returning to the United States, he completed his career in the Air Force as a flight instructor retiring as a Major having logged over 9475 hours of flight including 350 hours in combat. Asked if there was anything he couldn't fly, he replied that helicopters were the only aircraft he wouldn't fly twice.

In 1976, he married Anne Griffith and they enjoyed a wonderful 34 years together in Austin where they enjoyed dancing and dining on Tex-Mex.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Floyd and Lula Griffith, wife Anne Griffith and three brothers Herchel, Fred and Ike.

Survivors include his nephew Richard Griffith, nieces Helen Sass and Barb Walz, 3 children Capt, Dr. Victor Mote of Houston, who had served as a Captain in the Marine Corp, Sharon Franke of Cedar Park and LTC Kim Mote USA(R) of Grapevine, 6 grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren.

A celebration honoring his life will be scheduled for a future date. At his request, no formal services are planned.

Memorial contributions can be made to the Paralyzed Veterans of America @ www.supportveterans.org.

Published in Austin American-Statesman from Dec. 7 to Dec. 8, 2013