W. E. B. Griffin (born William Edmund Butterworth III on November 10, 1929) is a writer of military and detective fiction with more than 38 novels in six series published under that name. He has also published under several pseudonyms.
Early Life, Education, and Military Servicemoreless
Griffin grew up in New York City and Philadelphia. He joined the Army in 1946. His MOS was counter-intelligence and in this capacity he served in the Constabulary in Germany, thus earning the Army of Occupation Medal. After completing his active duty military service, Griffin attended Philipps-Universitšt Marburg at Marburg-an-der-Lahn. His college days were cut short in 1951 when he was recalled to serve in Korea, first as an official Army war correspondent, then as public information officer for U.S. X Corps, which included the 1st Marine Division. Griffin received the Combat Infantryman Badge for service at the front lines. His knowledge of combat and garrison life and his friendships with military personnel from different services would well serve his writing. Many of his books are dedicated to fallen comrades who died in Korea or later on in Vietnam or while serving with the international peacekeeping force dispatched during the Lebanese Civil War. Griffin is modest about his own service. He once told a Barnes & Noble interviewer:
My own military background is wholly undistinguished. I was a sergeant. What happened was that I was incredibly lucky in getting to be around some truly distinguished senior officers, sergeants, and spooks.
After the end of the Korean Conflict, Griffin continued to work for the military in a civilian capacity as Chief of the Publications Division of the U.S. Army Signal Aviation Test & Support Activity at Fort Rucker, Alabama. After his first three novels proved successful, he left this job to pursue writing full-time. To date, he has some 130 fiction and non-fiction works to his credit. In recent years, his son, William E. Butterworth IV (previously editor of Boys' Life, the magazine of the Boy Scouts of America) has co-authored some of his books.
Griffin's knowledge of military jargon and administrative writing style shows when fictional orders and dispatches are incorporated in his novels. Many of his characters must battle red tape and bureaucratic mix-ups, sometimes making humorous end-runs around the system.
Griffin's friend, Philadelphia Police Sergeant Zeb Casey, was a source of inspiration and advice for the Badge of Honor series.
Griffin is the co-founder of the William E. Colby Seminar on Intelligence, Military, and Diplomatic Affairs at Norwich University in Vermont, along with his friend, historian, and Patton biographer Colonel Carlo D'Este.
Griffin's mother was Pennsylvania Dutch, a fact that motivated him to learn German and study at Marburg. Incidentally, one of Griffin's duties was delivering food to German general officers and their families, including the widow of would-be Hitler assassin Claus von Stauffenberg. His exposure to German military and civilian aristocracy doubtless supplied much of the inspiration for such Griffin creations as Oberst Graf von Greiffenberg, who appears in several of the Brotherhood of War novels.
Griffin is married to an Argentine wife, and has a stepson, Ignacio. The couple met while Griffin was duck-hunting in Argentina. They divide their time between Buenos Aires and the United States.
Mrs. Griffin's father is a former Colonel in the Hķsares de Pueyrredon; Griffin has mined his father-in-law and other Argentine contacts to develop Argentine and Argentine-American characters for several of his novels which have been set in South America.