LTC Harry Lovejoy Rogers III
- December 2, 1921 - February 6, 2012
- Williamsburg, Virginia
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1 of 1 | Posted by: Marti Prosser - Williamsburg, VA
Harry Lovejoy Rogers III was a great American, remarkable Soldier, engineer, and scientist. Harry was born on December 2nd 1921 in Camp Dix, New Jersey. He was the son of Colonel Harry Lovejoy Rogers, Jr (USMA Nov '18), grandson of Major General Harry Lovejoy Rogers (Army Quartermaster General from 1918 to 1922), and great-grandson of Joseph Sumner Rogers (Regular Army officer wounded in the Civil War).
Harry moved a lot as a boy living at various Army posts around the country. He graduated from 'Iolani High School in Honolulu while his father was stationed at Schofield Barracks. He enlisted in the Regular Army in 1940 and attended the West Point Preparatory School at Schofield Barracks. He entered West Point a year later with a senatorial appointment graduating on D-Day, June 6th 1944.
As a young Army officer Harry was wounded while serving as an infantry combat leader in World War II having been involved in numerous combat actions across France and Germany. After the war on September 1st 1945 he married Virginia Kathryn Meyers. He and Ginnie had three children: 1) Jeff born in 1946, an Army Officer and later a businessman, 2) John born in 1948, a law professor and later a federal judge, and 3) Wendy born in 1954, an Air Force Officer and later a businesswoman.
Harry's service in WWII helped prepare him for what would become one of the biggest tests of his life -- an incredibly complex and dangerous operation during the Korean War. In September 1952 he commanded an infantry rifle company that conducted an all night attack for the capture of a mountain top called Old Baldy not far from Pork Chop Hill. This was an operation with a multitude of severe challenges -- a night attack is especially difficult for a host of known military reasons, but also his rifle company had just days before been fully integrated by an earlier order of President Truman and further filled with Korean augmentees to the US Army. This added tremendous diversity hurdles as well just before an attack.
Through his extraordinary leadership and professional skill, however, the night attack was totally successful -- a spectacular feat. It was the last American retaking of Old Baldy. As a result of the action that night many of the Soldiers under his leadership were decorated for heroism to include three who won the Distinguished Service Cross (nation's 2nd highest award for valor) -- unprecedented in one rifle company of 200 men. This a testament to Harry Rogers' dynamic and unselfish leadership in that he made sure the bravery of those exceptional Soldiers under his command was fully recognized even if his own bravery and skill wasn't since personal recognition was unimportant to him.
In between wars, he added to his engineer and scientist credentials with a master's degree from the University of Rochester in applied optics entailing the geometrical, physical, and physiological properties of light. As a result he was assigned to work on nuclear weapons where he developed navigational techniques for nuclear ballistic tables by using the stars - cutting edge technology prior to GPS. These bomb ballistic tables became the standard for the entire Army. Later, during the Cold War, he was selected to conduct top priority tests on optical range finders for Army tanks which again became the Army standard.
In Europe he subsequently commanded a tank battalion defending the Fulda Gap into Frankfurt. In 1963 President Kennedy stopped to personally inspect his battalion in a review of the 20,000 massed troops which was followed the next day by the President Kennedy's famous "Ich bin ein Berliner" speech.
Harry Rogers retired from the Army prematurely due to a heart condition and took a position with the Chrysler Defense Engineering in the Armored Vehicle Department as a Registered Professional Engineer. Later with the newly created Urban Mass Transportation Authority he was a key leader in the effort to consolidate all the Detroit area bus companies and prepare a mass transit plan for the region.
In December 1996 Harry Rogers and his wife Ginnie moved to Patriots Colony in Williamsburg, Virginia where they were among its first occupants. On July 1st 2001 Ginnie, his dear wife of 56 years, passed away. Harry Rogers was also preceded in death by his siblings Jim, Sibley, and Nancy Rogers.
Harry voluntarily contributed in many ways to the communities where he lived including: Serving as President & founder of the West Point Society of Michigan; Serving on the City Planning Board in Michigan; Serving as business manager for his Methodist church; Receiving recognition from the Governor as Michigan's Volunteer of the Year; and Serving in multiple leadership capacities at Patriots Colony.
On September 28th 2002 Harry married the "girl next door" Mrs. Bettie L. Nelson of Patriots Colony where they enjoyed ten wonderful years together. Harry Rogers passed away on February 6th 2012 at Patriots Colony and is survived by his wife, Bettie; his three aforementioned children, Jeff Rogers (Carlyle), John Rogers (Ying Juan), and Wendy Rogers (Harold Kunnen); seven grandchildren, Carter, Bryant, Spencer, George, Emily, Lilian, and Lawrence; six great-grandchildren; a niece, Patsy, and a large extended family.
Harry Rogers besides being highly capable and extremely skilled was a kind and gentle man with an acute sense of responsibility and love for the nation and his family. He was especially proud of his service as a Soldier in particular as a combat infantryman in two wars and his family's tradition of military service to include six generations of Regular Army officers and four generations of West Pointers. Despite the ravages of dementia very late in life his kind, considerate, and gentle manner never left him nor did his acute "sense of responsibility" towards meeting all his responsibilities and obligations to God, our nation, and his family. May it be said, "Well Done; Be Thou At Peace."
His son Jeff
February 10, 2012
6000 Patriots Colony Dr
Williamsburg, VA 23188
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February 15, 2012
West Point, NY
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Mr. Rogers was a wonder person. I loved his story regarding War World II he talked in detail about walking through europe and how his boots completely wore out! And how his socks would be drenched yet he kept on walking. Not many people have the work ethic and honesty that he had. He was a wonderful man and it was a pleasure to meet him.