On September 23, 1916, Rockwell spotted an observation plane while he was flying cover for a bombing raid against Germany. He dived at great speed, closing the 11,000 feet separating the two planes, and fired his gun just before a collision seemed certain. Soldiers on the ground thought that the German Albatross plane had been struck, but it was Rockwell’s Nieuport that crashed into a field of flowers behind French lines. When news of Rockwell’s death reached the squadron, the men mourned deeply. Friend and fellow squadron member James McConnell of Carthage in Moore County later wrote, “No greater blow could have befallen the escadrille.Kiffin was its soul.” Rockwell’s grave in France stands as a memorial to the brave Americans who fought not only for an ally but also for “the cause of humanity” in World War I.