Preserving The Oral HistorIES of Combat Veterans

COMBAT STORIES FROM World War II

Rock Merritt | 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment

3:31   |   You will never forget the first combat order you are issued. Paratrooper Rock Merritt was a corporal when he was given his first real task during the invasion of Normandy. Part 3 of 4. (This interview made possible with the support of JOHN & BARBARA MCCOY.)

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Keywords   :     Rock Merritt    paratrooper    Normandy France    D-Day    Operation Overlord    machine gun    Grenade No. 82 (Gammon Bomb)    tracer    machine gun

Videos ( 12 )
WWII
  • Rock Merritt  |  WWII  |  508th Parachute Infantry Regiment  |  5:53

    He was set to join the Marines but when Rock Merritt saw a poster recruiting paratroopers that promised extra pay and a special uniform, he went Army. The 508th Parachute Infantry regiment was activated at Camp Blanding and prepared to join the fight in Europe. The first order of business was trimming the number of men, which was an interesting process. (This interview made possible with the support of JOHN & BARBARA MCCOY.)

  • Rock Merritt  |  WWII  |  508th Parachute Infantry Regiment  |  5:01

    Rock Merritt had no knowledge of what he was training for in Nottingham, but soon the paratrooper was part of the vast invasion of Normandy. He describes the huge scope of the effort, the airplanes they used, and a unwanted responsibility he had regarding a bicycle. (This interview made possible with the support of JOHN & BARBARA MCCOY.)

  • Rock Merritt  |  WWII  |  508th Parachute Infantry Regiment  |  5:37

    They jumped at 0230. Paratrooper Rock Merritt missed the drop zone and he was lucky because it was flooded. After struggling out of his parachute and unpacking his weapon, he deployed his Crackerjack cricket and clicked once when he heard a noise. Part 1 of 4. (This interview made possible with the support of JOHN & BARBARA MCCOY.)

  • Rock Merritt  |  WWII  |  508th Parachute Infantry Regiment  |  7:50

    Rock Merritt had no idea where the rest of his unit was. The paratrooper had dropped into Normandy and soon became part of a group of 37 men from many outfits. A chaplain among them did a great job of keeping up morale as they tried to get a foothold and move on the Germans. When his unit finally assembled, his platoon was issued weapons with which he was totally unfamiliar. Part 2 of 4. (This interview made possible with the support of JOHN & BARBARA MCCOY.)

  • Rock Merritt  |  WWII  |  508th Parachute Infantry Regiment  |  9:02

    Rock Merritt was dug in listening to a German propaganda speaker when a machine gun started up. The paratrooper grabbed some Gammon grenades and crawled 500 yards under constant fire. He was able to walk back and the push into France continued. Part 4 of 4. (This interview made possible with the support of JOHN & BARBARA MCCOY.)

  • Rock Merritt  |  WWII  |  508th Parachute Infantry Regiment  |  8:06

    Operation Market Garden, a huge airborne drop into Holland, was considered a failure, but, to paratrooper Rock Merritt, it was a great success following the chaos of Normandy. Years later, he would meet the author of A Bridge Too Far, which documented the battle. (This interview made possible with the support of JOHN & BARBARA MCCOY.)

  • Rock Merritt  |  WWII  |  508th Parachute Infantry Regiment  |  9:30

    The paratroopers traveled through Belgium to the cheers of onlookers, but they were miserable in the open trucks. Rock Merritt says it was the coldest he's ever been. There had no cold weather gear except snow shoes as they rushed to defend Allied gains in the Battle of the Bulge. (This interview made possible with the support of JOHN & BARBARA MCCOY.)

  • Rock Merritt  |  WWII  |  508th Parachute Infantry Regiment  |  3:58

    Rock Merritt tells the incredible story of a man he pulled from a bomb crater and sent back to the rear. He was sure the man was dead, but six years later, he got a surprising phone call. (This interview made possible with the support of JOHN & BARBARA MCCOY.)

  • Rock Merritt  |  WWII  |  508th Parachute Infantry Regiment  |  5:27

    In the spring of 1945, paratrooper Rock Merritt was selected in a program that sent one man from each line company home for a ten day leave. He returned to Europe on the day the war there ended. His outfit, the 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, was then chosen to be the honor guard for Eisenhower's headquarters in Frankfurt. (This interview made possible with the support of JOHN & BARBARA MCCOY.)

  • Rock Merritt  |  WWII  |  508th Parachute Infantry Regiment  |  1:45

    Former paratrooper Rock Merritt discusses the origin of the 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment's logo, the Red Devil. (This interview made possible with the support of JOHN & BARBARA MCCOY.)

Vietnam
  • Rock Merritt  |  Vietnam  |  Multiple Units  |  2:51

    He had thirty years in the Army, but Rock Merritt was tapped for a job in Vietnam as Sergeant Major to a general in Cam Ranh Bay. It was a plum post that he volunteered for because of a policy that all Sergeant Majors had to serve a tour there. (This interview made possible with the support of JOHN & BARBARA MCCOY.)

N/A
  • Rock Merritt  |  N/A  |  Multiple Units  |  3:24

    He already had a long, distinguished career in the Army but Rock Merritt wasn't done. He served in the Dominican Republic, where he had a hard time believing that taxpayer money was being used to buy off the combatants, and in Panama, where he got to bring his wife with him. (This interview made possible with the support of JOHN & BARBARA MCCOY.)

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