It’s been nearly 45 years since Sgt. Rodney Griffin was listed as MIA (Missing In Action) when the Bell Iroquois utility helicopter (UH-1H) he was a passenger on reportedly received ground fire on the South Vietnamese border, near the City of Memot, Cambodia.
For nearly a half century, his family has often reflected on the precious memories they have of a man who was born in Mexico and was known for his time spent in Centralia.
With no previous recovery of his remains, Sgt. Griffin had never received a proper burial.
This appears ready to change as his cousin, Harold Griffin, reported that Sgt. Griffin’s remains have been found and he appears destined for a proper burial at Arlington National Cemetery.
Harold Griffin, who currently lives in Atlantic Beach, Florida, said his nephew Bob Nevins found out last Friday and then called him on Saturday with the news.
Harold Griffin said his remains were identified using DNA the family gave to officials years ago when they thought another set of remains might have been Rodney’s. He could not confirm if a nonprofit group made the discovery or if it was a government agency.
“It’s amazing (to find him) after 40+ years,” Harold Griffin said. “
Harold Griffin then posted the update on the “Memories of growing up or living in Mexico, MO.” Facebook page.
His post received more than 450 “Likes” and was shared nearly 120 times in the 48 hours after his post. Several friends and family members posted their support for Griffin’s family and shared memories of the late Sgt. Griffin on the social media site.
Hilda Hartling posted an article that appeared in a 1973 issue of the Mexico Ledger. The article made reference to 200 steel bracelets that had his name engraved on them as a POW/MIA.
Several folks on the Facebook site said they wore their bracelet for a number of years in his memory.
“It’s been amazing on the response we’ve had,” Harold Griffin said. “It’s good to know it’s about the love and respect showed to him and showed for all those that died and those that didn’t die.”
Harold Griffin said he was close to his cousin from ages 6-10 but lost touch when Rodney moved to Centralia.
Sgt. Griffin was born on August 1, 1948 to his parents George and Opal Griffin, both of Centralia. Both parents died in the ‘90s and are buried in Mexico, Mo.
No service date, time or confirmed location has been set as of press time.