RODGERS, JERRY PAUL
RODGERS, JERRY PAUL
Rank / Branch:
ASM 3RD CLASS, U.S. NAVY
Date of Birth:
Awards & Decorations:
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JERRY PAUL RODGERS, AVIATION STRUCTURAL MECHANIC 3, U.S. NAVY, SNYDER, SCURRY COUNTY, TEXAS
AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal
Jerry Paul Rodgers was born in Snyder, Texas, the son of Arlie Marise Burklow and Henry Watkins Rodgers. He attended Snyder schools and graduated from Snyder High School, Class of 1962. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy in spring of 1965 and completed Recruit Training at the Naval Recruit Depot in San Diego, California. He was trained as a structural mechanic for aircraft. He married Charolette Ann Batten of Colorado City, Texas on January 3, 1966.
Snyder High School-1962
He was assigned to the USS FORRESTAL, a super aircraft carrier and had been in the Navy a little over 2 years. On July 29, 1967 the USS Forrestal was operating on Yankee Station off the coast of North Vietnam. She had been conducting combat operations for 4 1/2 days (including a strike early that morning). At 10:52am the crew was beginning the second launch cycle of the day, just then a Zuni rocket from an F-4 Phantom was accidentally launched (triggered by stray voltage during the start of the Phantom) across the deck At 10:52am the crew was beginning the second launch cycle of the day, just then a Zuni rocket from an F-4 Phantom was accidentally launched (triggered by stray voltage during the start of the Phantom) struck AN Richard A. Hatcher who was standing amidship on its way toward LCDR Fred D. White and LDR Jerry L. Stark's aircrafts. Hatcher, White, and Stark were all killed. The other pilots had the opportunity to exit their aircraft. The impact caused the belly fuel tank on the Skyhawk to rupture spilling fuel and causing a chain reaction fire of planes parked on the deck. The impact also caused a 1,000 pound bomb to fall off and into the spreading fire. Within a minute and a half the bomb was the first to "cook-off." killing the first wave of fire fighters. This initial detonation caused a massive chain reaction of explosions that engulfed half the airwing's aircraft and blew huge holes in the steel flight deck. Fed by fuel and bombs from other aircraft that were armed and ready for the coming strike, the fire spread quickly. Many pilots and support personnel were trapped and killed. Meanwhile, fuel and bombs (from the damaged planes on the flight deck) began spilling into the holes created by the exploding ordinance, spreading the fire further into the ship. The crew heroically fought the fire and disposed of armed bombs and aircraft over the side of the ship. The main fire on the flight deck was brought under control in about an hour, other fires raged throughout the day and into the night. Finally after 13 hours the fires were extinguished. Forrestal's crew had saved their ship and countless lives, however 134 sailors, including AM3 Jerry P. Rogers, and officers had died in the inferno..
Snyder City Cemtery, Snyder, Texas
AMS3 Jerry P. Rodgers was buried with full military honors in the Snyder City Cemetery in his hometown of Snyder, Texas. He was survived by his wife of Colorado City, his parents of Snyder and his four sisters and brother.
His father passed away September 26, 1997 and his mother November 7, 2005. They now rest next to him. His brother, Bob and his wife, Carolyn, now live in Abilene, Texas, his sisters; Joyce Drake lives Frisco, Texas, Karen Morgansen lives in Brownfield, Texas, Jo Ann and husband Wayne Burney live in Snyder, Texas and Connie Cage lives in Lubbock.