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Thomas Griffin, WWII bomber navigator, dies

CINCINNATI -- Maj. Thomas C. "Tom" Griffin, a B-25 bomber navigator in the audacious Doolittle's Raid attack on mainland Japan during World War II, has died. His death at age 96 leaves four surviving Raiders.

Griffin died Tuesday in a veterans nursing home in northern Kentucky. He was among the 80 original volunteers for the daring April 18, 1942, mission. "We needed to hit back" after Pearl Harbor, he said in an interview a year ago.

The attack on Tokyo shocked the Japanese and was credited with providing a major lift to American morale.

The planes lacked fuel to reach safe bases after dropping their bombs. Griffin parachuted over China after the attack, eluded Japanese capture and returned to action in North Africa before being shot down in 1943 and spending nearly two years in a German prison camp.

Griffin was a native of Green Bay, Wis., who settled in the Cincinnati area after the war and had an accounting business. He was preceded in death by his wife, and is survived by two sons. Services will be March 9 at the Green Township Veterans Park, with a B-25 flyover planned.-- AP

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