Wallace Eugene Rock


Wallace Eugene Rock

Death 22 Jun 1944 (aged 20)
Burial Heuvelton, St. Lawrence County, New York, USA
Memorial ID 27060161 View Source
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Ogdensburg Journal - July 11, 1944
First Lt. Wallace Rock of the 9th Army Air Force is listed as missing in action in a flight over France on June 22, it was revealed in a telegram received Saturday morning by his mother, Mrs. Leta Rock of DePeyster. According to letters sent to his family recently, "Bud", as Lieutenant Rock is known in his community, participated in the D-Day invasion and had flown several mission since then. He is a nephew of Herbert N. Holland, supervisor of the town of DePeyster.

Watertown Daily Times - May 21, 1997
More than a half-century has passed since Lt. Wallace E. Rock was killed in World War II. On Tuesday, the Army Air Corps lieutenant finally got the burial he deserved.

Members of the Army's 10th Mountain Division from Fort Drum took part in a graveside service for the Heuvelton Central School graduate known as "Bud." The service took place, with full military honors, at the Rock family plot in Hillcrest Cemetery.

Lt. Rock 's P-47 Thunderbolt fighter-bomber was shot down over France in air combat June 22, 1944 . His plane and his body were discovered in 1993 by a French butcher whose hobby is excavating World War II battle sites.

But it took three years for the Army to identify the lieutenant's remains.

An army chaplain Tuesday praised Lt. Rock and all men and women who died in action.

"He reminds us of the cost of war and the debt we owe to those who laid down their lives," Capt. Steven C. Hokana, a Lutheran minister, said of Lt. Rock. "Let us not forget those who died in foreign lands for freedom."

As Capt. Hokana read from the Bible and gave his sermon, seven 10th Division soldiers stood at attention several yards away - one hand behind their backs, the other holding an M-16 rifle. When the captain finished speaking, they fired a 21-gun salute.

A soldier slowly played Taps while veterans and soldiers saluted the U.S. flag.

Another soldier, holding a folded flag, stood guard over Lt. Rock 's remains, which were in a small urn draped with a ribbon and the pilot's wings. The lieutenant's photograph was next to urn.

The flag was presented to Lt. Rock's sister, Marjorie J. Rock, a retired Army lieutenant colonel.

"I feel relief that it is over," Ms. Rock said after the service. "Naturally, anything like this isn't a happy thing. But in a way, it is satisfying."

Ms. Rock waited for this moment for more than three years -- ever since January 1994 when she received a letter from the Frenchman who found Lt. Rock's plane and remains.

The Army forensics laboratory confirmed last December that it was her brother. But Ms. Rock has suspected for 53 years that was her brother's fate; letters she had written to him from Italy, where she was an Army nurse, were returned to her in the summer of 1944 stamped "Missing in Action."

Lt. Rock was born on April 6, 1924, in Long Island. He was brought up in DePeyster.

His father, Wallace Rock, died in 1970, and his mother, Leta H. Rock, a former teacher at Heuvelton Central School, died at the age of 98 in 1988.

Lt. Rock graduated from Heuvelton High School in 1942, earning seven varsity letters and participating in band, orchestra and chorus. He enlisted in the Army Aug. 4 at Pine Camp, which is now Fort Drum.

Several Heuvelton Central School school were among the more than 100 family members, friends and veterans who huddled together under gray skies for Tuesday's service.

Gravesite Details

2nd LT US Army Air Corps, World War II, Purple Heart; Missing in Action; Son of Wallace & Letta Rock

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