Graduate killed in parachute training jump
Army Col. James A. Merchant III, a Special Operations Command Soldier, was killed last Friday in a parachute training accident near MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa Fla.
A business administration major and a member of India Company, Merchant graduated in 1984 and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Army Signal Corps.
Merchant’s 25-year career in the Army included stints in Hawaii, Korea, Texas, Georgia, Germany, Italy and Croatia. As the chief of information operations, he served for four years in the 3rd Army in both Ft. McPherson and Camp Doha, Qatar, before being deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.
In 2005, Merchant graduated from the Air War College and was assigned to the U.S. Special Operations Command at MacDill Air Force Base where he served as an information operations planner and chief of the Information Operations Division.
Merchant is survived by his wife, Terri, of Valrico, Fla., and his parents, who live in St. Augustine, Fla.