Sergeant Major Eugene Rockholt was born 10 January 1927 in Quanah, Texas, and died 14 April 2002 in Moore, Oklahoma. In 1944 at age 16 he enlisted in the Army Air Corps, and was discharged for misrepresenting his age. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy in May 1945, and later enlisted in the U.S. Army in July 1949. He graduated from Officer Candidate School at Fort Riley, Kansas, was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in Artillery in 1951, sent to Japan, and then to Korea where the war was raging.
In 1953 he attended Hardin Simmons University in Abilene, Texas, and worked as a police officer. In 1954 he reenlisted and was assigned to the 11th Airborne Division, serving in Germany. Later, he was assigned to the 24th Infantry Division, and in 1958 was sent to Lebanon with the 187th Airborne Brigade. He returned to Fort Bliss to attend U.S. Army Air Defense School. He was assigned to Company A, 32nd Infantry Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division and sent to Korea, joining the Special Forces Training Group.
In 1962 he was assigned to the 1st Special Forces Group on Okinawa and served two tours in Vietnam. Assigned to Fort Bragg, he returned to Vietnam, serving in 1966 and 1967, then extending his tours to 1970.
Rockholt earned the Bronze Star for Valor on 25 August 1966 while commanding a Special Forces patrol in an assault on a Viet Cong emplacement. When his weapon jammed, he kept fighting with his pistol, obtained a radio, and directed effective air strikes on the enemy. He risked his life aiding several wounded soldiers. When the patrol left for evacuation, Rockholt directed air strikes to cover the withdrawal, staying behind until everyone was safely in the evacuation helicopter.
Rockholt retired as a sergeant major and was placed on the retirement rolls as a captain.