From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Joseph Griffin '43

Date of birth: June 13, 1920

Date of death: July 6, 1943

Age: 23

Lucky Bag

From the 1943 Lucky Bag:


Joseph was lost when USS Helena (CL 50) was sunk on July 6, 1943 by multiple torpedoes in the Battle of Kula Gulf.

From Detroit Free Press on August 5, 1943:

An honor graduate of Holy Redeemer High School, Griffin attended St. Anne's School and the University of Detroit Engineering School prior to his appointment to Annapolis in 1939. After graduating from Annapolis with distinction, he was commissioned lieutenant (j.g.) on May 1, 1943, and immediately assigned to duty aboard the Helena. He participated in all major engagements in the Solomons aboard the Helena and wore a campaign bar with three gold stars.

He was survived by his parents.

From the Class of 1943 anniversary book "25 years later…":

Griff was born on 13 June 1920 in Detroit, Michigan. He was appointed from Michigan and entered the Academy on June 1939. After graduation he reported for duty aboard the cruiser USS HELENA. On 10 August 1943 the HELENA was lost with Griff as the result of torpedo attack by enemy ships in the Kula Gulf. He wore the Purple Heart, American Defense Service Medal with Fleet Clasp and the Asiatic-Pacific Area Campaign medals. He was survived by his mother, Mrs. Pauline Sebastian Griffin who lived at 921-24th Street, Detroit Michigan at Griff's death.

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Elmer Buerkle '25, John Mooney, Jr. '35, and Arthur Yeates, Jr. '38 were also lost when Helena was sunk. Charles Cecil '16, the ship's commanding officer, survived only to be lost later in the war.

Class of 1943

Joseph is one of 84 members of the Class of 1943 on Virtual Memorial Hall.

The "category" links below lead to lists of related Honorees; use them to explore further the service and sacrifice of the alumni in Memorial Hall.