HAMMOND, LA (WVUE) - Hundreds were on hand as a fallen soldier returned to his home base in Hammond, Louisiana.
Chief Warrant Officer 4 Wayne Griffin, of the Louisiana National Guard, was laid to rest on Monday morning. He was one of 11 soldiers killed on March 10 following a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter crash. The crash happened during a routine training exercise off of the Florida panhandle.
The helicopter went down off of Navarre Beach on Santa Rosa Sound, which is a barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico between Pensacola and Destin. Four soldiers involved in the crash were from a Hammond, Louisiana-based National Guard unit. Seven Marines based in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina were also on board when the helicopter went down.
Hundreds packed Holy Ghost Church Monday, remembering Griffin as a dedicated pilot, family man and friend.
"His humor, I miss his humor," said Maj. Tim Cleighton. "He was a funny guy. [I] enjoyed playing golf with him, I miss a lot of things."
Griffin, of Delhi, joined the Louisiana National Guard in 1994. He deployed to Iraq in 2004-2005 and again in 2008-2009. He also served during state deployments during Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Isaac as well as in support of Operations River Guardian and Deepwater Horizon.
Griffin commissioned as a warrant officer in 1999 before going on to become the battalion standardization pilot with over 6,000 flight hours, including more than 1,000 combat hours.
"G Wayne Griffin was born to be an Army Aviator," said Chief Warrant Officer 5 Reggie Lane, commander of Detachment 38, Operational Support Airlift Command. "As one of the most talented and respected Warrant Officers in the Louisiana National Guard, he had a tremendous passion for flying, and a God-given natural ability to fly both helicopters and airplanes and to teach others to be the best aviators and crewmembers that they could be.
"He was a great friend and brother to all. With his loss, there will be a void that may never be filled."
Griffin is survived by his wife, four children and father.
After the service, his body will be brought to Lafayette for internment with full military honors.