Veterans who have served the country deserve respect and praise wherever they are, those who served in-country, out of the country, during combat or not, all have given up their lives to protect others.
One such dedicated man not only served in the United States Army but did so for 35 years and retired as a decorated soldier. Command Sergeant Major Rick Merrit, who graduated from Valley High School in Lucasville in 1979, entered the Army in March 1984. He and his family went to South Korea first and served there for more than three years.
Merritt’s first duty assignment in the Army after becoming an Infantryman was with Company C, 1st Battalion, sixth Infantry Regiment, Illesheim, Germany as a Rifleman and M60 machine-gunner. During his initial service, Merritt served as Squad Automatic Rifleman, Fire Team Leader, Rifle Squad Leader, Weapons Squad Leader and Rifle Platoon Sergeant.
In 1996, he was assigned to the Jungle Operations Training Battalion as a Senior Instructor and Team Sergeant at the U.S. Army Jungle School, Fort Sherman, Panama. After 17 months, he was assigned to 1st Battalion 75the Ranger Regiment at Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, Georgia. as a Rifle Platoon Sergeant.
Then in 2002, Merritt attended the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy and was selected to serve at Fort Benning, Georgia. In 2005, he became Operations SGM for the 75th Ranger Regiment and six months later, he returned to the 3rd Battalion. And in 2009, Merritt was selected as the CSM to the Regimental Special Troops Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment. In 2010, he was selected as the 14th Regimental Sergeant Major for the 75th Ranger Regiment.
As Merritt continued his service, in 2012, he became a nominative CSEL, serving as the Division Command Sergeant Major for the 10th Mountain Division (light infantry), in Fort Drum, New York. He was then reassigned to the Office of the Sergeant Major of the Army, Pentagon, Washington D.C. in 2014 as a liaison for special projects.
As if this man has not already served his country well, in 2015, he was selected as the CSEL to the Commanding General, Eighth U.S. Army Korea, Camp Yongsan and later reassigned to their new HQs on Camp Humphreys.
Command Sergeant Major Merritt has attended all the standard Basic and Advanced Noncommissioned Officers Courses including Battle Staff Course and the British Section Commander’s Course in Brecon Wales. He also completed various Army and Joint Nominative Senior Enlisted Courses. CSM Merritt graduated from Shawnee State University and was a Paramedic before joining the U.S. Army.
Merritt has fought in numerous combat operations, including Panama, Somalia, Afghanistan and Iraq.
CSM Merritt’s awards and decorations include the Army Distinguished Service Medal; Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters; Bronze Star Medal with four oak leaf clusters; Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters; Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal with arrowhead and star; Army Commendation Medal with four oak leaf clusters; Joint Meritorious Unit Award; Valorous Unit Award; Combat Infantryman’s Badge, second award; Expert Infantryman’s Badge; the Global War on Terrorism Medals, and numerous other awards and badges.
Merritt is married to the former Elizabeth Henderson of Savannah, Georgia and they reside in Richmond Hill, Georgia, with their two children; a 16 years old son, Lindsey and their daughter Bonnie, 14. Merritt’s parents are Ralph and Sandy Merritt of Lucasville.
There was a retirement ceremony held for CSM Merritt in November 2019 at Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, Georgia. Learning about Merritt and his service for our country once again reminds us that we should hold these men and women up with the most respect and a thanks that can never be repaid. Hats off to Rick Merritt.
Reach Kimberly Jenkins (740) 353-3101 ext. 1928
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