Saint Martin's University student killed in Afghanistan

November 3, 2009

Lacey, Washington – Sgt. Dale Russel Griffin, a Saint Martin’s University student, was one of the seven soldiers killed in the roadside bomb incident in southern Afghanistan last Tuesday, October 27. Sgt. Griffin, a 29-year-old from Terre Haute, Indiana, was part of the 5th Stryker Brigade Combat Team at Fort Lewis. He was taking classes at the University’s Fort Lewis extension campus and online, majoring in Business with a concentration on Finance. He had filed his application to graduate later this year.

“Sgt. Griffin was a soft-spoken, kind young man with a beaming smile,” said Robin Pellerin, Program Specialist at the Fort Lewis extension campus. “He was always on top of his educational goals and did everything that was required of him as a Saint Martin’s University student. Before leaving for Afghanistan in May, we spoke at length about his academic goals. His fervent wish was to remain on target for graduation upon his return in 2010. I will miss Sgt. Griffin walking into my office, leaning on my front counter as if at home, asking questions about his educational plans. I am proud to have known Sgt. Griffin and proud of his service to our country. I will miss him dearly.”

“For over 37 years, Saint Martin’s University has helped countless numbers of servicemembers, family members, and returning veterans reach their academic goals and educational aspirations,” said Director of Extension Programs Cruz Arroyo. “However, no matter how appreciative and supportive Saint Martin’s has been, our thanks and admiration can never come close to repaying the eternal debt we owe our military-affiliated students for what they do, have done, and sacrificed on all of our behalf. We’ll never forget Sgt. Griffin’s ultimate sacrifice nor his presence as a Saint Martin’s University student.”

Sgt. Griffin’s body was flown from Afghanistan to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware and arrived last Thursday morning. President Barack Obama was present and stood at attention as the caskets of all of the servicemen were carried from a military transport plane.

His body is being flown back to Terre Haute for the funeral. The funeral will take place on Veterans Day, November 11 at 2 p.m. at the Terre Haute South Vigo High School. After the funeral, Sgt. Griffin will be buried at Highland Lawn Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to: The Dale Russel Griffin Memorial Fund at the Wabash Valley Community Foundation, 2901 Ohio Boulevard, Terre Haute, IN 47803.

Fort Lewis will also hold a memorial ceremony for Sgt. Griffin and the other six soldiers involved on Tuesday, November 10th at 1:00 p.m. at the North Fort Chapel. Condolence cards can be sent to the unit on Fort Lewis, and will be forwarded to Sgt. Griffin’s family. Cards should be address them to: To the Family of SGT Dale Griffin, 1-17 IN BN, BOX 339554, North Fort Lewis, WA 98433.

Saint Martin’s University is an independent four-year, Catholic, coeducational university located on a 380-acre wooded campus in Lacey, Washington. Established in 1895 by the Catholic Order of Saint Benedict, the University is one of 18 Benedictine colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, and the only one west of the Rocky Mountains. Saint Martin’s University prepares students for successful lives through its 21 majors and six graduate programs spanning the liberal arts, business, education and engineering. Saint Martin’s welcomes 1,250 students from many ethnic and religious backgrounds to its main campus, and 650 more to its five extension campuses located at Fort Lewis Army Post, McChord Air Force Base, Olympic College, Centralia College, and Tacoma Community College.

For additional information:

Cruz Arroyo Director
Extension Programs

Genevieve Canceko Chan
Director of Communications & Marketing