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

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.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

About Author

Patrick Russell

Director and oral historian for the Making History Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving Veteran stories for future generations. Resides in Miami, Florida, where he is a full-time mediator and has been a practicing lawyer since 1994. Proudly serves as a staff member for the University of Florida Samuel Proctor Oral History Program, in addition to being a member of the Oral History Association, American Historical Association; Friends and Family of the 508 P.I.R.; and the Battle of the Bulge Association. Graduated from Marquette University with a B.A. in Political Science, and a law degree from the University of Miami School of Law. Additional courses and workshops for oral history and museum studies have been taken at Baylor University and Harvard University, Harvard Extension School. Contact info: (305) 608-2977 or patrick@making-history-project.com

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.