A Fallen Soldier's E-mails to Home
Editor's Note: Below is a selection of E-mails between Army Staff Sgt. Darrell Griffin Jr. (whose family called him "Skip") and his father, Darrell Griffin Sr. They were sent during his two deployments to Iraq from late 2004 until his death in March 2007. These E-mails were given to U.S. News by Darrell Griffin Sr. Some spelling and syntax have been corrected for clarity and noted with brackets.
From: Darrell Griffin, Jr.
Sent: Thursday, November 11, 2004 6:57 AM
To: Darrell (DAD) Griffin
Subject: your son
Dearest Mom and Dad,
I have been so busy lately and am sorry that I have not been writing as often. I went on my first combat patrol on foot today through the heart of downtown Tal Afar. There were people everywhere and you just don't know where the next bullet is going to come from. The insurgents from Falujah are expected to come here to Tal Afar so we have made our dominance known throughout the city just waiting for someone to pick a fight with us. The city is predominantly Shi'ia Muslim so the people are very jittery about our presence there. We do not know whose side the people will take when given the opportunity. Many police uniforms have been stolen from Mosul so we had to be skeptical when linking up with Iraqi police today. It will be like this for awhile until we can somewhat identify who's who. Last night we were over watching a checkpoint when gunfire erupted about 400 meters from where we were positioned. Another Stryker that went to investigate received small arms fire so we went down to plus them up in order to pull back due to limited night visibility. Yes we do have night vision but it depends on ambient or available light that our [night vision goggles] have available. We are tasked to hold Tal Afar at all costs; that is our company mission as of right now. We are expecting insurgent forces to make an incursion into this city and have been receiving strong indicators that it has begun. Well, that's the [news] for my corner of the pie. I love you guys dearly and have not been receiving your packages as of yet. But mail tends to be sporadic so I will continue to be on the lookout for it. I am going to call you guys right now. I love you.
Your faithful son,
From: Darrell Griffin, Sr.
Sent: Thursday, November 11, 2004 9:19 AM
To: Darrell Griffin, Jr.
Subject: RE: your son
Son keep safe. We have been writing every day and sending the letters once a week. I hope you start getting them soon. We have also sent two packages to you so far. It appears that the Coalition kicked butt in Fallujah but as you said a big percentage of the bad guys ran to fight another day.
Carie from my office wants to know if any of your guys don't have people writing them or sending them packages. If you have guys like this she would like to know about them and write to them and send them packages.