James Mitchell Rockwell – Lieutenant General, United States Army

James Mitchell Rockwell 
Born June 26, 1928 – Died January 2, 1990


James Mitchell “Rocky” Rockwell was born in Wellsville, New York on 26 June 1928. He was appointed to West Point from the 40th Congressional District. Rocky was a descendant of a long line of Naval officers and started his own unification program when he dedicated four years of his life to the Point. A good natured fellow he gained many friends. His Irish instincts, his straight-faced humor and a Yankee will no doubt helped to carry him to the lofty ranks of the Infantry foot soldier.

James M. “Rocky” Rockwell, 61, a retired Army Lieutenant General who specialized in advanced communications, died of cancer on January 2, 1990 at his home in Alexandria, Virginia. At his death, Rockwell was senior vice president of the Reston based Emhart Advanced Technology, Inc. with responsibility for command, control, and communications and information systems.

He served 36 years in the Army before retiring in 1987 after having served in Brussels as deputy director general of NATO’s integrated communications systems management systems agency, an assignment that involved planning the modernization of NATO’s communications infrastructure.

A native of Wellsville, NY, Jim was an infantry platoon leader and company commander during the Korean War and was awarded a Silver Star and a Combat Infantryman’s Badge. His other decorations for subsequent service were the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit (with Oak Leaf Cluster), the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Bronze Star Medal (with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters), 14 Air Medals, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Commendation Medal (with Oak Leaf Cluster), Parachutist’s Badge, and Army Aviator’s Badge. In 1961 he was assigned to the Army Signal Corps, where he specialized in tactical and strategic communications planning and management. He had served in field signal units in France, and in 1966 and 1967 he commanded the 121st Signal Battalion in Vietnam.

In 1973 Jim was commander of the First Signal Brigade in Korea, then in 1978 he was named director of joint tactical communications at Fort Monmouth where he worked on modernizing Army communications capabilities. Subsequently he served in Hawaii before being assigned to NATO. Rockwell had received a Masters in Public Administration degree from George Washington University and a Doctorate in Public Administration from the University of Pittsburgh. Jim was a member of the Army-Navy Country Club, and he attended St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Alexandria. Survivors include his wife of 38 years, Ann Scott Rockwell of Alexandria, Virginia and five children, Martie R. Strafer, J. Mitchell Rockwell, Jr., and Rebecca Ann Smith, all of Alexandria, Scott Thomas Rockwell of Woodbridge and Jessamine Marie Rockwell of Arlington; three brothers and six grandchildren.


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