SPECIAL OPERATIONS COMMAND
RELEASE NUMBER: 0700409-01
DATE POSTED: APRIL 9, 2007
SOF Media Center dedicated to fallen Vietnam-era Soldier
By Diane Grant
4th POG Public Affairs Officer
FORT BRAGG, N.C. (USASOC News Service, April 9, 2007) The Special Operation Forces Media Operations Complex was dedicated to 1st Lt. Michal Alvin Merkel during a ceremony here April 9.
Merkel served as the executive officer for 7th Psychological Operations Detachment and was killed in the Plieku region of Vietnam, March 1968.
“Today is a very special day because we looked back to history to find a very special Soldier and a hero," said Lt. Gen. Wagner, commander of the U.S. Army Special Operations Command, "and behind you stand about 300 heroes who will carry on the mission. I have served in Plieku, Vietnam, and saw the terrain of the rugged mission at a different time almost two years later.”
Merkel was a graduate of Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind., and was represented by a group of more than 10 Purdue alumni and family friends.
“It’s great to be here with a group of my fellow Boilermakers on this great day to honor 1st Lt. Merkel by allowing his memory to continue through the dedication of this facility,” said Wagner, a 1981 Purdue graduate.
“But it is a celebration to have had warriors like 1st Lieutenant Merkel and this building is in honor of the many sacrifices that he made,”said Colonel Turner, 4th Psychological Operations Group commander. “This is the hub of our reach-back capabilities and the center of our activity.”
Robb Powell, a family friend and guest speaker for the ceremony, talked about the days when he and Merkel worked in Purdue University dinning facilities and noted that Merkel was an intelligent, reliable and hardworking person.
“The dedication of this facility in Merkel’s name is a heart-felt honor for his friends and family,” Powell said. “Michal was always pleasant and had a ‘we’ll get the job done' attitude.”
The highlight of the ceremony was the unveiling of the plaque and sign in front of the media complex bearing Merkel's name byMerkel’s mother, Helen,and his daughter, Terri Goodrich.
Construction for the 51,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art Media Operations Complex was completed in 2003 to centrally house equipment and personnel and to enhance PSYOP support to the regional and tactical PSYOP battalions.
The facility provides workspace for more than 300 military and civilian personnel and consolidates five functions under one roof enabling PSYOP units to produce large quantities of multi-color products from four Direct Image Digital Presses and other state-of-the-art equipment.
TOP: Lt. Gen. Robert W. Wagner, commander, U.S. Army Special Operations Command, and Col. Kenneth A. Turner, commander, 4th Psychological Operations Group (Airborne) help1st Lt. Michal A. Merkel's mother, Mrs. Helen Merkel and his daughter, Mrs. Terri Goodrich, unveil the sign of the Media Operations Complex, named in Merkel's honor. Merkel was honored in a ceremony held at Fort Bragg, N.C. April 9. (Photo by Gillian M. Albro, USASOC PAO)
CENTER: Lt. Gen. Robert W. Wagner, commander, U.S. Army Special Operations Command, and Col. Kenneth A. Turner, commander, 4th Psychological Operations Group (Airborne) help 1st Lt. Michal A. Merkel's mother, Mrs. Helen Merkel and his daughter, Mrs. Terri Goodrich, unveil a memoral plaque that will hang outside the Media Operations Complex. The complex was named after Merkel during the ceremony held at Fort Bragg, N.C. on April 9. (Photo by Gillian M. Albro, USASOC PAO)
BOTTOM: Lt. Gen. Robert W. Wagner, commander, U.S. Army Special Operations Command, hands framed photos to1st Lt. Michal A. Merkel's mother, Mrs. Helen Merkel and his daughter, Mrs. Terri Goodrich. The photos were of the Media Operations Complex, which now bears Merkel's name. (Photo by Gillian M. Albro, USASOC PAO)