Command Sgt. Major Rick Merrit, a 1979 graduate of Valley High School, and the son of Ralph and Sandra Merritt, was honored Jan. 11 at a Change of Responsibility Ceremony in Fort Benning, Ga.
Merritt entered the U.S. Army in March 1984. His first duty assignment was with Company C, 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry Brigade, Illesheim, Germany, as a rifleman and M60 machine gunner. His initial service with the 75th Ranger Regiment started with Company B, 3rd Bn., 75th Ranger Regiment at Fort Benning, Ga., as a squad automatic rifleman, team leader, rifle squad leader, weapons squad leader, and rifle platoon seargeant. A follow-on assignment included one year with the Ranger Indoctrination Program at the 75th Ranger Regiment’s Ranger Training Detachment. In 1996, Merritt was assigned to the Jungle Operations Training Battalion as a senior instructor and team sergeant at the U.S. Army’s Jungle School, at the former Fort Sherman, Panama.
In 2002, he attended and graduated the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy and returned to 3rd Bn., 75th Ranger Regiment in 2003 as the Battalion Operations Sergeant Major. In 2005, Merritt became the Operations Sergeant Major for the 75th Ranger Regiment as the Command Sergeant Major. In January 2009, he was selected as the Command Sergeant Major to the Regimental Special Troops Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment. In March 2010 he became the 14th Regimental Sergeant Major of the 75th Ranger Regiment and served as the US-JSOTF-AFG Command Sergeant Major.
Merritt has served 61 months in combat with the 75th Ranger Regiment in Panama, Somalia, Afghanistan and Iraq. He has attended a host of various Army Academy’s and trainings, including the British Section Commander’s Course in Brecon, Wales, and holds an Associate’s Degree from Shawnee State University. Merritt’s awards and decorations include: Legion of Merit; Bronze Star clusters; Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal; Army Commendation Medal with four oak leaf clusters, Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Valorous Unit Award, Joint Service Achievement Award; Combat Infantryman’s Badge-2nd award; Expert Infantryman’s Badge; the Global War on Terrorism Medals, and numerous other awards.
Merritt is married to Elizabeth Merritt. They have two children; a son, Lindsey Merritt, and a daughter, Bonnie Mac Merritt. CSM Merritt’s next assignment is Fort Drum, New York, as the Post and 10th Mountain Division Command Sergeant Major.