May 25, 1912|
Cass County, Michigan
|Died||August 8, 2005
Ann Arbor, Michigan
After graduating from Eastern Michigan University in 1935, Rockwell taught and coached track, wrestling and football at several Michigan high schools. He also was an auto worker and took part in the Flint Sit-Down Strike in 1936-1937.
On May 17, 1942, Rockwell enlisted in the United States Navy, where he became a group commander of 12 LCT’s during the invasion of Normandy on D-Day, June 6, 1944. Rockwell received both the US Navy Cross and the French Croix de Guerre avec Paume for his decision to break radio silence when faced with what he recognized as a certain disaster. Instead, Rockwell radioed an Army captain which allowed important last-minute changes that aided in the success of the attack and saved thousands of lives. So crucial was Rockwell’s decision that, a half a century later, at the 50th anniversary of D-Day in 1994, Rockwell was given the honor of introducing then-President Bill Clinton. The Navy Cross ciatation reads, in part: "Rockwell, in the face of very heavy enemy fire, discharged the tanks [he and his men had carried ashore] on the ground. By quick and sound decision he was able to land all these tanks at the correct spot and, by skillful handling, incurred only a minimum of damage to his ships." 
Rockwell also coached at the national and international levels, chairing the US National AAU Wrestling Committee from 1966 to 1968, serving on three Olympic Greco-Roman wrestling committees, and coaching the US Greco-Roman wrestling team at the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
In May 1995, Rockwell received the "Master of Wrestling Award" from Wrestling USA magazine. In 2000, the nation's largest wrestling library, the new AAU National Wrestling Hall of Fame, was named the "Dean Rockwell Library and Research Center." In January 2007, Eastern Michigan University named a gymnasium in his honor as the "Dean L. Rockwell Wrestling Facility."
- SSDI Search results 11 November 2010
- "Full Text Citations For Award of The Navy Cross To U.S. Navy Personnel, World War II" homeofheroes.com 11 November 2010
- Wrestling USA, May 30, Issue 1995 - Volume 30, Number 12