Making History Project
"Preserving Veterans' Stories"
501(c)(3) Non-Profit Organization

Veterans Oral History Interviews

508 PIR All Era & All Airborne Reunion

508 PIR Reunion: The Family and Friends for the 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment for the 82nd Airborne is having its Veterans’ Reunion this June in Columbus, Ohio. Specifically, please mark your calendars for June 23, 2021, through June 27, 2021.

Current or past paratroopers are all welcome including their family and friends. This is a great time to catch up with old friends and make new ones. All indications point to this being a live event, and we certainly need that kind of interaction given what we have gone through the past year.

The goal as always is to share the company of all paratroopers from different eras, including those from World War II, Korea, Vietnam, operations in Central/South America and the Caribbean, Iraq, Afghanistan, and active duty.

If possible, I hope we can organize another oral history presentation or perhaps even a veterans panel so paratroopers can discuss their experiences.

As always, I will make myself available to conduct oral history interviews for any Veterans wishing to preserve their stories and memories for either themselves, their family, or with the U.S. Library of Congress through the Veterans History Project. My interviews are recorded by video and you are provided a copy of the unedited interview on a DVD that same day. If interested in reserving a time with me, please contact me as soon as possible.

In Tribute: Rock Merritt – A life well-lived.

On March 10, 2021, we all lost a legend. Rock Merritt was a World War II Paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne. Rock was one of my heroes and was also my first oral history interview.

Paratrooper Rock Merritt, 1944

Rock Merritt was an inaugural member of the All American Hall of Fame for the 82nd Airborne. To put that into perspective, Rock was one of twenty members inducted and his class included eight legendary Generals. Rock jumped on D-Day as one of the first boots on the ground in Normandy. Rock also jumped during Operation Market Garden and participated in the Battle of the Bulge. Photos from his long and distinguished military career can be viewed here.

My first oral history interview was with Rock Merritt on June 5, 2014 at La Fiere, Normandy, France during the 70th Anniversary for D-Day.

Rock Merritt served his country in World War II, Vietnam, and right to the end. Rock was mentioned prominently during President Obama’s address during the 70th Anniversary of D-Day. He once famously told President Obama that he only need make the call as Rock was ready to serve when needed. Rock was bigger than life. Beloved at Fort Bragg and respected by our current soldiers as a soldier’s soldier.

Rock was a caring and kind soul who gave everything to his country. He impacted so many lives with his advice, knowledge, and smile. Forever a member of the Greatest Generation. Fly high Rock. Salute.