Army major remembered as Gator


Published: Thursday, January 31, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 31, 2008 at 12:08 a.m.

HAMPTON - A former Hampton resident who died in Baghdad on Sunday is being remembered as a kind son, a reliable worker, a pastor and a Gator.

Facts

Area deaths in the Iraq War

Some soldiers killed in the Iraq War with ties to the area:

Maj. Alan G. Rogers, 40, died in Baghdad on Jan. 27 after an improvised explosive device detonated near him while he was on foot patrol. Rogers had identified Hampton as his hometown when he enlisted in the Army in June 1990.

Chiefland High School graduate Brandon Tyler Thorsen, 22, of Trenton was killed in a noncombat related incident Sept. 14, 2007, while serving in Iraq with the U.S. Army.

Army Spc. Chris Neiberger, 22, of Gainesville was killed Aug. 6, 2007, in Baghdad by an improvised explosive device.

Marine Lance Cpl. Brian Rory Buesing, 20, of Cedar Key was killed March 23, 2003, near Nasiriya, Iraq, in a firefight with Iraqi soldiers who had feigned surrender.

Marine Lance Cpl. Tomorio Burkett, 21, of Buffalo was killed when his unit was ambushed by Iraqi soldiers at a bridge on the outskirts of the city of Nasiriya on March 23, 2003. He was born in Gainesville and used to live in LaCrosse.

Florida National Guard Cpl. John "Travis" Rivero, 23, of Gainesville died April 17, 2003, from injuries sustained when his Humvee turned over in western Iraq while he was on a mission in support of Special Forces.

Florida National Guard Spc. Jeffrey Wershow, 22, of Gainesville was shot and killed July 6, 2003, on the campus of Baghdad University.

Army Sgt. Justin "Hobie" Garvey, 23, was killed July 20, 2003, when his patrol vehicle was ambushed in Tal Afar, Iraq. He lived in Vermont and his father resides in Keystone Heights.

Army Staff Sgt. Raymond Edison Jones Jr., 31, was killed April 9, 2004, when a rocket-propelled grenade struck him while he was on patrol in Bayji, Iraq. He attended the University of Florida, graduated from Santa Fe High School, and was a former student at Bronson and Chiefland high schools in Levy County.

Marine Sgt. Richard M. Lord, 24, of Jacksonville died Aug. 18, 2004, from injuries received in enemy action in Al Anbar Province, Iraq. His father lives in Trenton and his mother is a school bus driver for Gilchrist County.

U.S. Army Major Alan G. Rogers, 40, died of wounds he suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near him while he was on a foot patrol. He was serving his second tour of duty overseas. Rogers was a military intelligence officer working with a military transition team when he died.

Rogers moved to Bradford County from New York City in 1977, according to Margaret Wadsworth, a longtime teacher's aide at Hampton Elementary School.

"He was an only child and his parents moved here to help his grandmother who lived in Hampton," Wadsworth said. "He attended fourth and fifth grade here before going to the middle school and high school in Starke."

Brenda Thornton said Rogers graduated with her and the rest of the Bradford County High School Class of 1985. He enlisted in the Army and served in the first Persian Gulf war before returning to the area to enroll at the University of Florida using his GI benefits. Rogers joined the ROTC program at UF and worked as an administrative assistant at Trend Realty, according to former Trend owner Donna Pitts.

"We got close to him when he worked for us and he asked us to attend the ceremony at Kanapaha (park) when he received his commission as an officer," Pitts said. "We realized that he was an only child of older parents and had led a very sheltered life."

As an example of the sheltering, Pitts said that once she asked Rogers to drive some other employees to and from a social event on the Atlantic Coast and discovered Rogers had never been to the ocean.

Following his graduation from UF in 1995, Rogers returned to active duty with the Army and began ascending to the rank of major. Those close to Rogers said he was divorced and had no children but is survived by cousins who still live in Florida. They could not be reached on Wednesday.

Family friend Thelma Green said Rogers was well-grounded in Christianity. Green recalled attending Ebenezer Missionary Baptist church in Lincoln City with Rogers and his mother. Green said Rogers joined the church as a youngster and served on the young adult usher board for several years.

"In his later years the Lord called him to preach and he was ordained under the leadership of the Rev. O.E. Harris," Green said. "He always came back to visit us on leave."

Former neighbor Joyce Mitchell said Rogers was called home frequently as his parents aged, usually because of medical emergencies involving his mother, whose kidneys were failing.

"A mother couldn't have asked for a better son. Anytime they called, he would get here if he could and he became like a parent to his father and mother," Mitchell said. She also said that after many trips home to care for his mother, Rogers' father died suddenly. His mother died within a few months.

Funeral arrangements for Rogers were still tentative on Wednesday afternoon.

Karen Voyles can be reached at 352-359-5656 or kvoyles@gmail.com.

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