Jay C. Groff
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Jay C. Groff
  • March 29, 1922 - January 3, 2018
  • Springfield, Virginia

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Jay C. Groff. Jr., age 95, a longtime resident of Springfield, Virginia passed away on January 3, 2018 at The Fairfax, Fort Belvoir, Virginia. He was born in Quarryville, PA and graduated from Quarryville High School in May 1940. Soon after he enlisted in the Army Air Corps and was shipped by transport to Hickam Field on Oahu, Hawaii in September 1940. He was assigned to the Rescue Crash Boat Service the following year and participated in the defense of Hickam Field during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Within minutes of the first bombs falling from Japanese aircraft, Groff was setting up machine guns along 6th Avenue at the airbase. During a lull between attacks, he reported to his duty station on the water where he manned a machine gun on the roof of the boathouse firing at the attacking planes. He continued in the marine career field for fifteen years attaining the Boatmaster-Marine Superintendent title, serving at Hickam, Johnston Island, Brookley Field in Mobile, AL and Hamilton AFB in California. He transferred to the administrative field when the Air Force retired the rescue crash boats. This change led to assignment at NATO Land Southeast in Izmir, Turkey and the Office of the Secretary of the Air Force from where he retired and was awarded the Legion of Merit in 1970. CWO4 Groff received a BA degree in History/Geography from San Francisco State College in 1967 and did post graduate work at American University. He was active in the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association and the AF/USAF Crash Rescue Boat Association until his death.

He married Kaye T. Ishikawa of Waimea, Kauai on V-J Day, August 14, 1945 in Honolulu. She predeceased him in January 2012. Survivors include daughter Susan McClure, Springfield, VA, son Jay Groff (Kendra), Chapel Hill, NC, grandchildren Jason McClure, Heather Mason, Michael Groff and Allison Cambi and fourteen great-grandchildren.

Burial arrangements at Arlington National Cemetery are pending. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Pacific Historic Parks, P.O. Box 29940, Honolulu, HI 96820.