Painting of Thurston ‘Turk’ Griffith, Jr. Commissioned for Griffith Gymnasium

Preliminary design of the memorial painting to be given to the Los Alamos Public Schools and displayed in Griffith Gymnasium. Courtersy/LAPS Foundation


First Lieutenant Thurston “Turk” Griffith, Jr., was the first New Mexican to be killed in action in Vietnam Jan. 17, 1965. Griffith Gymnasium at Los Alamos High School was soon thereafter dedicated in his memory.

In May 2012, after extensive renovations of the gym were completed, a rededication ceremony was held. At that time, Los Alamos Public Schools (LAPS) Superintendent Gene Schmidt endorsed a proposal by resident Robert Wells, West Point classmate of Griffith’s and a Vietnam veteran, to undertake a memorial painting of Griffith. After considering four regional artists over the past year, Wells commissioned Santa Fe artist Paul Milosevich.

The painting will be completed in April and an installation at Griffith Gym will be held in May. Griffith’s fellow West Point classmates have contributed $8,800 toward the $15,000 project. While donations are not being solicited to accomplish the project, should any local citizen wish to participate in honoring Griffith’s accomplishments and sacrifice, all contributions are welcome and tax deductible.

Donations can be made to: LAPS Foundation, 1900 Diamond Dr., Suite 1, Los Alamos, NM 87544 with Griffith on the memo line, or via the Foundation’s website at