Former Franklin officer home on leave

Published 9:23 am Saturday, July 2, 2011

Melissa Griggs poses for a photo with her sons Logan, in back, and twins Lance and Luke for a Father's Day gift for her husband, who is stationed in Afghanistan. SUBMITTED/MECHELE CUTCHIN

SUFFOLK—Weary from three days of flying, U.S. Army Sgt. Noland Griggs got a second wind when he saw his wife and sons at Norfolk International Airport.

Logan, 7, and twins Lance and Luke, 4, held signs to welcome their dad home on a two-week leave from Afghanistan, part way through his yearlong tour. A former Franklin police officer, Griggs took five flights to make it home to his native Suffolk.

“It was like I was repeating the same day over and over,” he said.

Griggs perked up when he saw the family.

“You just wake up, and the sleep deprivation goes away,” he said. “All you’re thinking about is seeing the wife and kids for the first time in a long time.”

A member of 170th Infantry Brigade combined team, Griggs was sent to Afghanistan from Baumholder, Germany, in February.

“This is not their first rodeo,” Griggs said of his family dealing with his overseas duty. He also served nine months in Iraq in 2008-2009 while the family was stationed in Fort Bragg, N.C.

However, the family’s move to Germany was a first.

“It wasn’t my first choice,” said Noland’s wife, Melissa Griggs. “It’s one of those things where the Army puts you where they need you. We got used to the idea.”

The family decided last year to move as a unit to the U.S. base overseas for three years rather than send Noland Griggs off for two years by himself. The family is set to return stateside in 2013.

“They enjoy it,” he said. “Germany is a great place and the people are very nice.”

Melissa, a Suffolk native and her sister Mechele Cutchin of Courtland helped make a Father’s Day gift for Noland Griggs from the family.

Cutchin took pictures of the boys and Mrs. Griggs with an American flag in the background and dog tags around their necks.

“He missed so much when they were little, and we started (taking photographs) then,” Melissa Griggs said. “Pictures are a definite must for him. It shows him how they’ve grown.”

Melissa Griggs and the boys are in Virginia for the summer but will return to Germany in August.

Noland Griggs went to Lakeland High School. His wife attended rival Nansemond River High School in Suffolk.