Harry J. Rockafeller, II (D)

Class: 1934Inducted: 2021

Harry J. Rockafeller II was born on December 23, 1916 in Asbury Park NJ, son of Mr. and Mrs. John Francis Rockafeller. Harry attended Asbury Park High School, lettering in baseball. Harry J. Rockafeller II graduated from Asbury Park High School in 1934. After graduation Harry attended Rutgers University. While at Rutgers Harry played lacrosse and was enrolled in the Rutgers University Reserve Officers Training Course (ROTC). Graduating from Rutgers in 1941, Harry was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant on June 8th, 1941 in the United States Army 51st Armored Infantry Battalion, 4th Armored Division.

On July 12, 1944 Captain Rockafeller commanding Company “B” 51st AIB 4th Armored Division landed on Utah Beach Normandy France, and fought in the European Theater of Operations (ETO) for the next 17 months. Harry was promoted to Major at Bastogne Belgium at the end of December 1944 after the 4th Armored Division had successfully reached and relieved the surrounded 101st Airborne and 10th Armored Division, who were holding and defending Bastogne at the start of the Battle of the Bulge. Major Rockafeller, commanding “B” Company 51st AIB 4th Armored Division, continued fighting though the Battle of the Bulge and into Germany. By the end of combat operations Harry Rockafeller had been recommended for the Distinguished Service Cross three times and had received several decorations for valor in combat.

Upon relief from active duty in the grade of Lieutenant Colonel, Harry returned home to his Wife Frances and daughter Pamela who was born on February 18th, 1944. Lt. Colonel Rockafeller entered the U.S. Army Active Reserve Service in December 1946. From 1950 to 1974 Harry served in a number of command positions in the 78th Division. In 1969 he was appointed Division Commander and ultimately retired in 1974 as a Major General, after 33 years of honorable service in the United States Army. Major General Rockafeller received the following decorations; Silver Star Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Legion of Merit Medal, Bronze Star Medal with “V” Device, Army Commendation Medal, Purple Heart Medal, Combat Infantry Badge, Distinguished Unit badge, American Defense Medal, World War II Victory Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, Frensh Croix de Guerre, Luxembourg Croix de Guerre, French Fourragere, Order of the French Army.

Harry Rockafeller moved to Wall Township upon returning from Europe. There he and his wife Frances K. Locker Rockafeller raised their daughter Pamela who graduated from Syracuse University and married Robert Henry. Harry and Frances were blessed with two grandchildren Todd & Kiersten and three great grandchildren Kyle, Peyton & Emerson. Frances passed away in 2006, and Harry passed away at his home on August 8, 2017.

In the book The Legacy of the 4th Armored Division Major General Harry Rockafeller wrote "My four years in the 4th were the most memorable in my life. I spent all of World War II in the company of the finest group of officers and men I was ever to meet." Harry J. Rockafeller was a shining example of all those who served during WWII. On November 11th, 2018 a 9ft bronze statue depicting Harry J. Rockafeller as a Major during the battle of the bulge was dedicated in front of the Wall Township Police Headquarters, honoring the 16 Million Americans who fought and served in World War II.