Body of fallen soldier returns to Hammond Saturday; funeral set
HAMMOND - The first of four fallen Louisiana National Guard soldiers returns to Louisiana Saturday.
CW4 George Wayne Griffin Jr. died in a Black Hawk helicopter crash last week off the coast of Florida. Griffin and three others based out of Hammond were with seven Marines from North Carolina on a training mission along the beach when the helicopter crashed on a foggy night.
Griffin's body will arrive at the Hammond guard base and will be moved from a plane to Brandon G. Thompson Funeral Home until a wake Sunday.
Funeral services are set for Monday morning and burial later in the day in Lafayette.
Griffin lived with his family in Hammond; his parents lived in the Lafayette-area.
He leaves behind a wife and children.
"I'd call and say, 'What are you doing' and he'd say, 'Hanging out with my little buddies," his stepmother, Linda, said in a TV interview with KATC TV. "That's what he called them."
Griffin served for 21 years in the military. His service included two tours in Iraq in 2004-2005 and 2008-2009. He also served during Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Isaac. He had logged more than 6,000 flight hours, including more than 1,000 combat hours.
The wake is Sunday, March 22 from 5 p.m. To 9 p.m. at Brandon G. Thompson Funeral Home on Highway 190 in Hammond. Funeral services are Monday at Holy Ghost Catholic Church, also in Hammond. Interment, with full military honors, is at Fountain Memorial Cemetery in Lafayette.
A preliminary investigation on the crash could be complete in two weeks.
Follow the publisher of this post on Twitter: @treyschmaltz