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U.S. Air Force Helicopter History
Ronald T. Merritt, SMSgt., USAF (Retired)January 27, 1943 – June 20, 2007
Ronald T. Merritt, 64
WINDHAM — Ronald T. Merritt, 64, of Pope Road, died Wednesday, June 20, 2007, at his home after a lengthy illness.
Born in Westbrook, he was a son of Russell T. and Helen J. Bauckman Merritt and was a 1961 graduate of Westbrook High School.
In 1962, he entered the Air Force and retired in 1987 with the rank of Senior Master Sergeant. During his military career, he served in the Vietnam War and was awarded the Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross, two Purple Hearts and 16 Air Medals. He was a mini-gunner in a Huey. He was awarded the Silver Star during a battle in Vietnam. His unit was trying to provide ground cover for soldiers going into an area heavily defended by the Viet Cong. In the process, he was shot and wounded. He was wounded again during the Tet offensive. He had also been the Military Airlift Command Senior Helicopter Flight Examiner.
From 1988 to 1996, Mr. Merritt was the Safety Training Officer for Portland Public Works. He had been a carpenter at Old Orchard Beach Country Club, helping build the Dunegrass Club House and Dunegrass housing projects. He had worked in the Pro Shop and in 2005 assumed the duties as Director of Golf for Dunegrass. He was particularly proud of his 9 handicap.
A daughter, Andrea Merritt Wright, died in 2006. Surviving him are his wife, Carol Lund Merritt of Windham; a daughter, Susan Harvey of Denver, Colo.; a stepson, Michael C. Poliskey of Cape Elizabeth; two stepdaughters, Rhonda Nee and Christine Poore, both of Windham; a brother, Gerald W. Merritt and his wife Sally Deering of Standish; a sister, Jean Lyford and her husband William of Cumberland; and 10 grandchildren.
There are no visiting hours. A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday, June 26, 2007, at the Dolby Funeral Chapel, 434 River Rd., Windham. The Rev. David Patterson will officiate. Internment will be in Colorado.
His daughter Susan plans to take his ashes to Colorado Springs, Colo., where Andrea is buried.
Published in Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram on June 22, 2007
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