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Gen Lewie Griffith "Griff" Merritt
Birth: Jun. 26, 1897
Ridge Spring
Saluda County
South Carolina, USA
Death: Mar. 24, 1974
San Antonio
Bexar County
Texas, USA

US Marine Corps Major General. Merritt's early education was in the local public schools in Saluda County, South Carolina. He then attended Furman University, then a preparatory school where he graduated in 1913 at sixteen years old. It was his aspiration to attend The Citadel, the military college of South Carolina and it was there that he began his college freshman class in 1913. He graduated on May 31, 1917 and was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps. Shortly after graduation he reported to Marine Corps Infantry School on Parris Island, South Carolina and was subsequently assigned as an infantry officer and platoon commander in the Dominican Republic. Lt. Merritt was then assigned to France during World War I where he became a part of the famous "Devil Dogs" of Marine Corps legend at the Battle of Belleau Wood in 1918. After the conclusion of World War I he was assigned to Marine Corps Quantico, Virginia and Marine Corps Headquarters working on the staff of Major General George Barnett, Commandant of the Marine Corps. In 1920 Merritt now a captain was selected by Major General John A. Lejeune, the new Marine Corps Commandant to serve on his staff. By 1924 Merritt was designated a naval aviator and during this assignment was credited with developing special tactics which recognized that Marine air power was an integral parts of the Marine air, land and sea mission. Included in his achievements was his contribution to the development of dive bombing as well as being among the first Marine Corps aviators to qualify for aircraft carrier landings. Shortly before being selected by the Marine Corps to attend George Washington University he was promoted to major and graduated from George Washington with a law degree in 1928. By 1941 when the United States entered World War II, now a Colonel, Merritt was one of the senior ranking naval aviators. At the time of Pearl Harbor he was in command of Marine Corps Air, Fleet Marine Force at Naval Air Station, San Diego, California. He was transferred to London, England and assigned to the U.S. Embassy as Air Attache'. In 1942 Merritt was selected for brigadier general and was reassigned to fly with the British Royal Air Force in the Northern Africa Campaign on a top secret mission. On January 7, 1942 while en route to a then secret location in North Africa his plane was shot down by German anti-aircraft artillery. He and his crew were rescued by British commando's who fought their way from behind enemy lines while under constant fire. Upon completion of his mission in Europe he was reassigned to command the Fourth Marine Air Wing in the Central Pacific. His leadership was instrumental in the success of the Tarawa and Kwajalein Air Campaign, and critical air support of amphibious operations in the Pacific. After the war Merritt returned to South Carolina and briefly practiced law. In 1949 he was appointed Director of the South Carolina Legislative Council by Governor Strom Thrumond and in 1954 was selected by then Lt. Governor George Bell Timmerman to run his successful run for Governor. After twenty years in public life along with his thirty years of military service Merritt retired to private life. (bio by: Saratoga) 
 
Family links: 
 Parents:
  James Albert Merritt (1864 - 1927)
  Blanche Griffith Dorset (1871 - 1955)
 
 Spouse:
  Grace M Merritt (1902 - 1998)
 
Burial:
Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington
Arlington County
Virginia, USA
Plot: Section 11, Site 133-2
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: Saratoga
Record added: Oct 08, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 59754772
Gen Lewie Griffith Griff Merritt
Added by: Saratoga
 
Gen Lewie Griffith Griff Merritt
Added by: Saratoga
 
Gen Lewie Griffith Griff Merritt
Added by: Saratoga
 
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Sir, Thank You sir for your service, this is coming from the 5 Miller brothers who also proudly served Our Country.
- Robert David Miller
 Added: Jun. 12, 2014
Semper Fi Marine
- mike easterwood
 Added: Mar. 23, 2014

- Doug Lind
 Added: Nov. 12, 2013
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