Rocco Negris was born in North Providence, Rhode Island on 4 July 1931. He graduated from North Providence High School in 1949 where he was an outstanding athlete. He was later inducted into the North Providence High School Hall of Fame. He entered the University of Rhode Island in 1949; and he was a member of Beta Psi Alpha Fraternity, Sachems, the RI Club and Treasurer of his Senior Class. He was an outstanding two-sport athlete at URI, earning 6 varsity letters in baseball (co-captain) and cross country (captain) and was inducted into the URI Athletic Hall of Fame in 1958.
He participated in Army ROTC while a student at URI. Rocco graduated in 1953 from the University of Rhode Island with a Bachelor of Science Degree and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant of Infantry. His initial company grade assignments were at Fort Benning, Georgia, Camp Gordon, Georgia and as an infantry platoon leader and company executive officer, 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment, Alaska.
Major General Negris served three combat tours in South Vietnam. His last combat tour was as the Battalion Commander, 5th Battalion, 60th Infantry, 9th Infantry Division where he was awarded the Silver Star for gallantry in action involving close combat with an armed hostile Viet Cong Battalion. His battalion was in a night defensive position with more than two-thirds of his battalion away from the main defense in secondary ambush positions. At 0154 hours on 25 February 1968, a Viet Cong Battalion launched a coordinated attack from three sides against the main defensive perimeter.
Major Negris reacted quickly and calmly to hold off the enemy attack by maneuvering his forces within the perimeter and launched a counter-attack into the enemy’s flank by recalling one platoon from a defensive position several thousand meters away. In spite of the intense anti-tank fire directed at his command post, hitting his track several times, leaving his radio operator seriously wounded, Major Negris led his troops to a decisive victory killing more than 100 of the attacking Viet Cong.
MG Negris’ additional assignments include: Assistant Professor of Military Science, Seton Hall University, Joint Military Assistance Group, Greece; the Pentagon with the Deputy Chief of Staff of Personnel and the Department of the Army Inspector General’s Office; Chief of Staff and Commander, 2nd Brigade, 8th Infantry Division, Europe; Assistant Division Commander, 4th Infantry Division, Ft Carson, Colorado; Deputy Commanding General/Chief of Staff, I Corps, Ft Lewis, Washington and as the Commanding General, Ft Dix, New Jersey for 26 months until his retirement on 31 July 1988.
Major General Rocco Negris was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal for his leadership, patriotism and commitment to excellence throughout a military career spanning over 34 years. His additional awards include the following: Silver Star, Legion of Merit w/ 2 Oak Leaf Clusters, Bronze Star w/ Oak Leaf Cluster, Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal w/ Oak Leaf Cluster and the Combat Infantryman’s Badge
His outstanding service to the United States of America and the United States Army will have a positive impact on our military readiness and national security for years to come. Major General Rocco Negris is a strong supporter of the University of Rhode Island and the URI Foundation. He and his wife Joan reside in Shamong, New Jersey.