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Hood County Texas Genealogical Society
PERSONAL RECOLLECTIONS OF
RAYMOND ELMO RODGERS
1917 – 1997
by Raymond E. Rodgers, Jr.
Raymond Elmo Rodgers
My early childhood memories of Dad are pretty sketchy. He was gone a lot during WWII undergoing training and then serving in Italy as a B-24 [I think] bomber aircraft crew chief. In those days men brought home the bacon and women raised the kids. I have fuzzy memories of him taking me rabbit and squirrel hunting and fishing a couple of times and playing catch a few times. Dad taught me to shoot a rifle and shotgun very young and stressed gun safety to me. Mom and Dad played penny-anti poker with Ada and Al and “Bubba” and Margie or bar-b-qued in the evenings and sat out in the backyard drinking beer and “shooting the breeze.” My cousins and brother and sister tried to keep a low profile playing tag and hide & seek. Children, after all, were to be “seen and not heard.”
In Germany (1952-1955), Dad went fishing and hunting a lot, but by then I had decided it wasn’t for me and avoided going whenever possible, because it usually meant getting up at some ungodly hour and sitting in a cold duck blind (or worse). He also brought his buddies home to “party” on the weekends. I do remember trying to drown out the music of Hank Williams on the 78 by putting my pillow over my ears to get some sleep. After three earlier temporary quarters, we lived in a small three bedroom apartment in Rhein Main, outside of Frankfurt. I occasionally went with him to the flight line on Saturday to check on things. From my earliest recollections I can remember Dad being meticulous in his dress, always shoes shined and pressed uniforms. Afterwards we usually went to the NCO Club for a coke (for me), some popcorn, and play the pinball machine while Dad had a couple of beers with his buds.
After Germany Dad was assigned to Ardmore, Oklahoma from 1955 – 1959. Aside from an occasional crappie fishing expedition out to Lake Murray, we didn’t do too much together. He did take me to a couple of football games, one up to Norman to see OU back when Bud Wilkinson was coaching and another to see Air Force play TCU in the Cotton Bowl game (0-0 tie). I do remember one rather funny incident clearly. My friends and I were in by bedroom playing poker and Dad stuck his head in to find out why we were so quiet. He saw what was up, but didn’t say anything and left. I thought I was going to catch hell after my friends left, but instead he returned a little bit later with a platter of cheese and crackers and other snacks for us.
Dad never said too much about my getting accepted to the USAF Academy, actually he was a man of few words and never said too much about anything. I think he was pretty pleased about it though. One of the main reasons I thought about going into the military was that I was proud of my Dad and we seemed to have a pretty good life. Mom and Dad came out to the Academy only once, at graduation, but didn’t see the graduation parade – they were there, but the fog was so dense we couldn’t see the spectators and vice versa.
There are a lot of plusses about military life, but one of the big drawbacks is that you are separated from your family a lot, and we only saw Mom and Dad occasionally. For example I didn’t see them at all during our 5 year Germany assignment (1969-1974) although Barb went by to show off the new grandson when she went back home for her sister Margie’s wedding. After we were assigned in California we visited more often and it was always good to go up and visit for a few days. Dad would always take me out to the Elks club to hoist a couple of beers with his buddies, and we would watch whatever ball game that happened to be on TV. He liked to have a bet or two riding on the games, and from what I gather was pretty good at it. He always enjoyed young kids and took both Greg and Chris out to shoot at the Rod and Gun club.
Dad stayed active right up to the end of his life. Just the Christmas before he passed away he enjoyed the holidays at our home in Hermosa Beach, talking with our friends and relatives and having a good time.
I wish now that I had tried to draw him out a little more on his early life and what he did in the war. He never talked about it much voluntarily. As I said he was a man of few words.
By: Raymond E. Rodgers, Jr. (USAFA)
September 7, 2003
Raymond Elmo Rodgers – Biographical Notes
26 Dec 1917 Born in Tolar, (Hood County, Texas), to Joshua Virgil Rodgers and Eunice Alice Rodgers (nee Hendon). One of six children: older brothers Duval and Ray; sisters Wanah, Margie, and Estelle.
26 May 1934 Received a certificate for completion of elementary school in Cleburne, Texas.
21 May 1937 Graduated from Cresson High School, Texas [10th grade?], at 19 years old. Class Vice President and class “prophet.”
?? ??? 1938 Graduated from Granbury High School, Granbury, Texas (Hood County). “Majored in History”
7 Oct 1938 Enlisted at the U.S. Army Recruiting Station, 462 Federal Building, Dallas, Texas and as a recruit ordered to report to Kelly Field, Texas. EOD (entered active duty?), Fort Sam Houston, Texas. Completed basic training.
Oct 38-Sep 40 Assigned to the 62nd School Sq, Kelly AFB, Texas as an aircraft student
1 Feb 1940 Promoted from Pfc to Corporal, while assigned to the 62nd Sch Sq, AC at Kelly Field, San Antonio, Texas
1 Sep 1940 Promoted from Private, Air Mechanic 2nd Class, to Sergeant, while assigned to the 66th School Squadron, Air Corps, at Kelly Field, San Antonio, Texas
Sep 40-Feb 42 Assigned to the 66th School Sq, Brooks AFB, Texas, type of duty “AM 1st Cl”
5 Oct 1940 Married Ella Lee Boss, San Antonio, Texas at Zion Lutheran Church, 702 Cincinnati, San Antonio, Texas. Miss Ada Boss and Mr. Alvin Marmor were witnesses.
1 Apr 1941 Promoted to Staff Sergeant, while assigned to the 66th School Squadron, Brooks Field, San Antonio, Texas
7 Oct 1941 Reenlisted in the grade of Staff Sergeant, while assigned to 66th School Squadron, Air Corps, Dallas, Texas
Feb 42-Jan 44 Assigned to the 303rd AF Training Det., Cuero, Texas as an Inspector
15 Mar 1942 Son [and scribe of these notes] born, Raymond Elmo Rodgers, Jr., Fort Sam Houston Hospital, San Antonio, Texas
10 Jun 1943 Promoted from Technical Sergeant to Master Sergeant, effective this date (SO #53, HQ 303rd AAF Flying Training Detachment, Cuero, Texas)
15 Jan 1944 Authorized separate rations of $1.80/day and quarters of $1.40/day while assigned to 306th Army Air Forces Flying Training Detachment, AAF Contract Pilot School (Primary), Ballinger, Texas (SO #10)
Jan 44-Mar 45 Assigned to South Plains Army Air Field, Texas as an Inspector [near Lubbock]
27Apr 1944 Awarded Carbine Expert designation (the only one in a class of 29 to be awarded this highest rating) firing the .30 caliber M1 carbine (Special Order No. 71)
Mar 45-Nov 45 Assigned to 15th AF in Italy as a crew chief [B-24 Liberators]
13 Jan 1946 Reenlisted while assigned to 957th Air Engineer Squadron, 531st Air Service Group. Airplane Maintenance Technician 750.
17 Jan 1946 Assigned to “RC”, Ft. MacArthur, Calif, reporting date 18 Apr 1946. Furlough address: C/O Gundry Ranch, Caliente, Calif (SO #17, Army Service Forces, HQ, War Dept. Personnel Center, Fort Sam Houston, Texas) [Ft MacArthur, if it’s the same, now belongs to the Air Force and is used for base housing for service people assigned to the space program at Los Angeles AFB.]
25 Apr 1946 Transferred from Camp Beale, CA where he was “NCWP = now casually at this station” to 69 Recon Gp, Brooks Field, San Antonio, Texas. Orders stated he was reimbursed 3 cents/mile and $1.00/meal travel pay. (SO 115)
Apr 46-Jul 47 Assigned to the 363rd Recon Gp, Brooks AFB Tex and Langley AFB, VA as an Inspector
22 Oct 1946 Son born, Gary Paul Rodgers, in San Antonio
1 May 1947 Promoted from Master Sergeant (Temporary) to Master Sergeant, Air Corps, with date of rank of 10 June 1943 at Langley Field, Virginia.
19 Sep 47 Transferred from “pipeline” (AAF Overseas Replacement Depot, Hamilton Field, CA) to 306th AAF BU, Brooks Field, Texas (SO 188)
14 Jan 49 Assigned to 2593d AF Res Tng Center, Brooks AFB, Texas. [Listed leave address as 2515 North Killingsworth, Apt. #3, Portland, Oregon. – visited sister Wanah??]
Jul 47-Jun 49 Assigned to “B&T”, Brooks AFB, TX as an Inspector
5 Feb 1948 Daughter born, Patricia Ann Rodgers in San Antonio, Texas
13 Jan 1949 Reenlisted while assigned to 2595th Base Service Squadron, Brooks Field, Texas, Airplane Maintenance Technician 750I
Jun 49-Jul 49 Assigned to C-54 Trans Sch, Great Falls, Montana as a student
Jul 49-Nov 49 Assigned to the 513th Troop Carrier Wing, Rhein-Main, Germany as an Engineer
24 Oct 49 Transferred to the 29th Support Group, Dep, Kelly AFB, Texas and further assigned to the 29th Ammo Sup Sq (SO #75)
Nov 49-May 50 Assigned to the Hq & Hq Sq 25th ABG, Kelly AFB, Texas as an Engineer
5 Apr 1950 Promoted from Technical Sergeant to Master Sergeant, United States Air Force, with date of rank of 10 June 1943 at Kelly AFB, San Antonio, Texas [This must have been the promotion to the permanent grade.]
?? May 50 Assigned as a Crew Chief, Hq & Hq Sq 25th ABG, Hill AFB, Utah
15 Sep 50 Assigned as a Flight Engineer, Section – “B&T Acft”, 25th Air Base Group, Hill AFB, Utah
31 Oct 51 Reassigned from Hq 2949th AB Gp, Hill AFB, Utah and ordered to report to Camp Kilmer, NJ for assignment in Europe (SO #219)
20 Dec 51 (o/a) Sailed aboard the USNS Gen. W.G. Haan from Camp Kilmer New Jersey for Europe. [The family did not accompany him.]
2 Jan 1952 Assigned to the 7167th Special Air Missions SQ, APO 633, Wiesbaden, Germany
6 Jun 1952 Reenlisted while assigned to the 7167 Special Air Missions Sq, USAFE, Germany
18 Jun 1952 Received movement orders to Germany (SO #88)
13 Sep 1952 [The rest of the family joined Dad in Germany. It was quite an adventure for me and a nightmare for Mom. We rode the train from San Antonio to New York. Stayed at the St. George Hotel where I was allowed to go down to the swimming pool in the basement by myself, and ate in a real NYC deli. Butch almost fell out of an umpteenth story window. Then we took a Flying Tigers flight in a DC-3 to Germany with refueling stops in Newfoundland and Ireland.]
8 Jul 1953 Son born, Neal Alan Rodgers, Wiesbaden Hospital (American), Germany. Weighed 7 lbs. 9 oz. [His grandson Greg was born in the same hospital almost 20 years later.]
9 Apr 1954 Completed Resources Management Course at Rhein Main AFB, Frankfurt, Germany
6 Jun 1955 Reenlisted while assigned to 7167 Air Transport Sq Medium (Special Missions), USAFE, Rhein Main AFB, Germany
12 Jul 1955 Arrived back in the United States from Germany with the family aboard Flying Tigers flight W-10. [We picked up a new 1955 Chevy in New York and Dad drove it to Texas. We stopped a day in Washington, D.C. so I could see the sights on a bus tour.]
16 Mar 1956 Received a certificate for completing a school on “Military Principles” at Ardmore AFB, OK
15 May 1956 Completed OJT (On the job training) Supervisors and Instructors Course at Ardmore AFB, OK (463rd Troop Carrier Wing)
9 Oct 1956 Completed a one month C-130 Aircraft Maintenance Course, Mechanics Class “A”
5 Nov 1956 Appointed to the permanent grade of Master Sergeant, USAF with a date of rank of 10 June 1943 while stationed at Ardmore AFB, Ardmore, OK. [Don’t know what to make of why Dad was promoted to MSgt so many times]
6 Feb 1957 Designated as an OJT Supervisor and Instructor for the 773d TRPCARONM, Ardmore AFB, OK
?? ??? 1958 Completed Prop Jet Specialist, C-130 Course
1 Sep 1958 Promoted to the temporary grade of Senior Master Sergeant (E-8) with date of rank of 1 Sep 58, AFSC 43180. (Special Order C-1281, HQ Tactical Air Command, Langley AFB, VA)
31 Dec 1958 Reassigned from Ardmore AFB, OK to Sewart AFB, Tenn with no change in organizational assignment (SO A-500) [i.e., the whole unit moved]
27 Mar 1959 Reassigned from the 773d Troop Carrier Sq (M) (TAC) to the 463d Troop Carrier Wing (M) (TAC) [no change of station]
6 Aug 1959 Reenlisted while assigned to HQ SQ 463rd TRPCARWGM (TAC), Sewart AFB, (Smyrna), Tenn, AFSC: 43180, Aircraft Maintenance Superintendent. Also assigned as Line Chief to the 773rd Troop Carrier Sq, (16 C-130 acft) while as Sewart.
7 Aug 1959 Reassigned from Hq 463rd Troop Carrier Wing (Med) (TAC), Sewart AFB, Tenn to 3565th Navigator Training Wing (ATC), James Connally AFB, TX (outskirts of Waco, TX)
13 Jan 1960 Awarded permanent grade of Senior Master Sergeant with date of rank of 1 Sep 58, while assigned to the 3566th Field Maintenance Sq, James Connally AFB, TX (Special Order A-16)
1 Mar 1961 Promoted to the permanent grade of Chief Master Sergeant with date of rank of 1 Mar 1961 while assigned to the 3566th Field Maintenance Sq, James Connally AFB, TX [These “super” NCO grades were established in the late 1950s and Dad was among the first to be promoted into them.]
6 Aug 1963 Reenlisted while assigned to the HQ 3565 Maintenance and Supply Group, ATC, James Connally AFB, TX. AFSC: 43190, Acft Maint Supt.
6 Aug 1966 Reenlisted while assigned to the 3630 Consolidated Maintenance (ATC), Sheppard AFB, TX
[Somewhere in here Dad was assigned to Stead AFB, Nevada, but I don’t find any mention of it in his records]
14 July 1969 Terminated on-base quarters on Mather AFB, 102 McRoberts
31 July 1969 Retired from the United States Air Force, while assigned to the 3535 FMS (Field Maintenance Squadron), Mather AFB, CA. Total service: 30 years, 10 months and 24 days. AFSC: 43191, Acft Maint Supt.
1971-Mar 1982 Managed the temporary lodging facilities at Mather AFB, CA. The letter from the commanding officer at his retirement read in part, “…. For these 11 years, your tireless determination in fulfilling your duties at our temporary lodging facilities has been appreciated by thousands of Matherites and other visitors who have stayed there. Numerous Outstanding Performance ratings, Special Achievement Awards, and a cash award for Sustained Superior Performance attest to the professionalism that has always been characteristic of your work.”
23 Oct 1970 Awarded 30% disability due to hearing loss, benign prostrate hypertrophy, low back pain and diabetes mellitus (each 10%)
24 Dec 1981 Entitled to share in and wear the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award presented to the 323d Flying Training Wing (ATC)
31 Mar 1982 Received a Certificate of Service upon retiring from federal service after 42 years
23 Dec 1994 Awarded 100% disability status by the Department of Veterans Affairs
8 May 1997 Died in Rancho Cordova, Ca. Cremated with ashes in possession of Ella.
Decorations (listed in reverse chronological order):
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, Dec 24, 1981. Presented to the 323d Flying Training Wing (Air Training Command).
Air Force Commendation Medal, First Oak Leaf Cluster for meritorious service from 23 Jan 1967 to 31 July 1969 as NCOIC of the Quality Control Branch, Chief of Maintenance Division, 3535th Navigator Training wing, Mather AFB, CA. (SO G-104)
National Defense Service Medal (DD Form 214, 31 July 69)
Air Force Longevity Service Award w/1Bronze OLC (DD Form 214, 31 July 69)
AFGCM w/1BrOLC (7 Oct 65 – 6 Oct 68) (DD Form 214, 31 July 69)
MHA? (DD Form 214, 6 Aug 66)
BAD? (DD Form 214, 6 Aug 66)
CF? (GO-109, HQ 12th AF)
SAEMR [Small arms expert marksmanship ribbon?] (SOG – 17)
Air Force Good Conduct Medal (7 Oct 61 – 6 Oct 65) (SOGB – 69, 15 Dec 65)
National Defense Service Medal AFM 900-3 (DD Form 214, 6 Aug 66)
Air Force Longevity Service Award w/1 Silver OLC (DD Form 214, 6 Aug 63)
Good Conduct Medal (Silver Clasp with 3 loops) “for demonstration of exemplary behavior, efficiency and fidelity” for the period 7 Oct 59 – 6 Oct 62. CMSGT (Hq 3565th Navigator Training Wing (ATC), James Connally AFB, Texas, Special Order G-31, 8 Nov 1962)
Air Force Longevity Service Award w/4 Bronze OLC (DD Form 214, 6 Aug 59)
Air Force Commendation Medal “for meritorious achievement”, 29 Aug 1958 – 5 Dec 1958 (General Orders # 109, 10 Aug 1959, HQ 12th Air Force, Waco, Texas)
Good Conduct Medal w/1 Silver Clasp (6 Oct 56, SO-104, 773rd TCSq, 16 Sep 57)
National Defense Service Medal (DD Form 214, 6 June 55)
Occupation Medal w/clasp (Germany) (DD Form 214, 6 June 52)
Medal for Humane Action, Berlin Airlift Device (DD Form 214, 6 June 52)
1st Clasp to Good Conduct Medal (DD Form 214, 6 June 52)
American Defense Service Medal (Discharge Orders, 1946)
American Theater Campaign Medal (Discharge Orders, 1946)
EAME Campaign Medal w/ 3 Bronze Stars (Discharge Orders, 1946)
Good Conduct Medal (Discharge Orders, 1946)
Victory Ribbon (Discharge Orders, 1946)
2 Service Stripes (Discharge Orders, 1946)
Overseas Service Bar (Discharge Orders, 1946)
Sep 10, 1944 – Apr 4, 1945, North Apennines (BSS) (Listed as combat in Army records)
Sep 15, 1944 – Mar 21, 1945, Rhineland (BSS) (Listed as combat in Army records)
April 5, 1945 – May 8, 1945, Po Valley (BSS) (Listed as combat in Army records)
1962 - 1997, 2631 Los Amigos, Rancho Cordova, CA 95670
Mather AFB, CA
- 14 July 1969, 102 McRoberts, Mather AFB, CA
Stead AFB, Nevada
Aug 66 - , 114B Matador St., Sheppard AFB, Wichita Falls, TX 76311
25 Sep 59 - 1964, 119 Langley Drive, Waco, Texas (McLennan Co.) (on James Connally AFB)
Sep 59, 48 Bolling, James Connally AFB [while waiting for new quarters on Langley to be completed]
1958-1959, 212B Cannon Drive, Smyrna (Sewart AFB), Tenn
Ardmore, OK, 2nd Address, street no. was 347 (from old photo)
Ardmore, OK, first Address
Gateway Gardens, Apt. 7-E-1, Rhein Main AFB, Germany
[Gauting (sp), Germany]
1948, 110 Bradford Ave, San Antonio, Texas (Bexar Co.)
1949, j-22 Navy Way, Washington Terrace, Ogden, Utah
110 Bradford Ave, San Antonio, Texas (Bexar Co.)
804 Crosby Street, San Antonio, Texas [This might have been Granny’s address and used as a permanent address for him for a while.]
Information is generally from Dad’s collected memorabilia and official Army/Air Force records. Entries within [brackets] are my recollections are expansions/explanations of abbreviations, etc.
- Raymond E. Rodgers Jr.
Dad was off and on flying status throughout his military career. I haven’t recorded these on again off again occurrences, but they are recorded in the special orders file.
Abbreviations and Acronyms
OJT – on the job training
OLC – oak leaf cluster
Pfc – private first class
USAFE – United States Air Forces Europe
Social Security Number: 459-18-4824
Service Number: AF6292576
Life Insurance (USGLI), was signed up for and paid off
DAV Life Member: 040931-27391
Blood type, A pos