Local News

Family to hold memorial for fallen Fuquay-Varina Marine

Posted January 19, 2012
Updated March 12, 2012

— This weekend, family members are holding a third memorial to remember the life of Maj. Samuel Mark Griffith, a Marine from Fuquay-Varina who gave his life to save a comrade.

Griffith grew up in Fuquay-Varina building model cars. He soon started working on real ones after he was old enough to buy a 1968 Ford Mustang. 

"(He) literally brought it home on a trailer and in boxes," his father, Sam Griffith, said Thursday. 

The father and son spent hours in the shop putting the car back together. 

"We would work for hours and never say a word," Sam Griffith said. 

Samuel Griffith's interests led him into the Marines in1997. He was a forward air controller who coordinated air strikes with pilots. Despite his dangerous job, his father said he always tried to put his parents at ease.

Last month, the Marine was on his third deployment to Afghanistan when his group came under heavy fire. A fellow Marine ahead of the group barely survived enemy fire, so Samuel Griffith decided to step up. 

"He said, 'Tomorrow, when we go out, I will take your place,'" Sam Griffith said. "The next day, the ambush was a lot harder, a lot bigger and Sam got hit." 

The 36-year-old died on Dec. 14. He left behind a wife and two sons. 

At his funeral, his wife, Casey Griffith, sang "I'll Be Home for Christmas." 

"She sung it to Sam. I love her, and I couldn't do what she did," his stepmother, Cherie Griffith, said. 

Maj. Samuel Mark Griffith Memorial planned for fallen Fuquay-Varina Marine

Samuel Griffith was posthumously awarded the purple heart and a combat in action ribbon.

The Marine he switched positions with wrote a letter to the family to tell them how Griffith had saved his life. 

At times, his father still remembers the hours of working alongside his son in the garage. 

"We really worked well together, and we are going to miss that," Sam Griffith said. 

Services were held in Virginia Beach, Va., where Griffith was stationed, and Florida, where Griffith's mother lives. On Saturday, the Enloe High School graduate and former Eagle scout will be remembered during a service at the United Methodist Church.  


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  • msgtlen Jan 20, 2012

    The Major, a true Marine receives a salute from a retired USAF Msgt. Thanks you Sir!!!!!! hurrrrah

  • 426X3 Jan 20, 2012

    God always has room in heaven for a Marine. "SEMPER FI"

  • moveyextraz Jan 20, 2012

    "Most people live their whole lives wondering if they made a difference. The Marines do not have that problem." Ronald Reagan.

    Thank-you Major Griffith.

  • gunny462 Jan 20, 2012

    "He will be honored every Memorial Day forever. tatermommy52"

    "Guarding the Gates of Heaven - Marines don't die, they get promoted" Semper Fi Wife"


  • gunny462 Jan 20, 2012

    Rest in peace

  • Stilllearnin Jan 20, 2012

    Well said Semper Fi Wife!

    Semper Fi Brother!!!!

  • 08fjchic Jan 20, 2012

    Why isnt WRAL letting me post this

    "Guarding the Gates of Heaven - Marines don't die, they get promoted"

  • lost in translation Jan 20, 2012

    To think is easy, To act is difficult, To act as one thinks is the most difficult. Maj. Samuel Mark Griffith accomplished the most difficult. The Country thanks his family and hopes for God's blessings.

  • bombayrunner Jan 20, 2012

    RIP my brother.

  • puzzled Jan 20, 2012

    This is a true American Hero. He gave his all. To bad men like him are paid a few bucks while some others who people put on a pedastal and call heros are paid mega bucks. Rest in peace young man and your reward awaits.