Honoring Veterans: For UT Aerospace MBA Student, Serving in Military is a Family Tradition

 

Veterans Day is Friday, and UT Knoxville wants to thank the more than 629 faculty, staff, and students who are active-duty US military, veterans, reservists, or members of the National Guard. Each day this week we’ll tell the story of a UT Knoxville student-veteran.

KNOXVILLE — For Patrick Charles Rogers, 42, a student in UT’s executive aerospace and defense MBA program, serving in the military is a family tradition.

Patrick Charles Rogers

Rogers, standing beside a OH-58D Kiowa Warrior at the Tennessee Army Airfield State Facility at McGheeTyson Airport in 2006.

“I have ancestors with documented service in the Revolutionary War, World War I, World War II, and Vietnam,” he said. “Further, I have served in Operation Desert Shield, Stabilization Force Bosnia, and Operation Iraq Freedom.”

Rogers enlisted in the US Army after graduating from high school in Kansas. He was selected to be part of the “The Old Guard,” the Army’s official ceremonial unit and escort to the president in Washington, DC, under Presidents Reagan and George Bush.

As part of that ceremonial unit, based at Fort Myers, Virginia, he helped with numerous ceremonies at the White House and the Pentagon, as well as at some major events involving the president, like the G-7 Summit in Houston in 1990. He was in the presence of world leaders, including Margaret Thatcher, former prime minister of Great Britain; Helmut Kohl, former chancellor of Germany; and Brian Mulroney, former prime minister of Canada. He also went to Canada to retrieve the bodies of some American soldiers killed during the War of 1812 so they could be reburied in a veterans cemetery in New York.

He was honorably discharged after three years and enrolled at North Georgia College. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 1994, Rogers commissioned as a second lieutenant in the US Army’s aviation branch.

He was initially stationed at Fort Rucker, Ala., where he learned to fly the Kiowa helicopters.

“During my career, I have been stationed in Fort Benning in Georgia, Fort McNair in Washington, DC, Fort Myer in Alexandria, Virginia, Fort Carson in Colorado, Hunter Army Airfield and Fort Stewart in Savannah, Georgia, Millington Naval Air Station in Memphis, McGhee Tyson Airfield in Knoxville, and at Fort Riley in Kansas. Further I have deployed for operations in Kuwait, Bosnia, and Iraq.”

In November 2010, after twenty-three years of enlisted and commissioned service, Rogers retired as a major.

He’s now using his post-9/11 GI bill education benefits to attend the graduate program at UT. He’ll finish in December.

“After spending more time in boots than as a civilian, I realized that I should continue to further my education as a lifelong learner,” he said. “I figured getting an executive aerospace and defense MBA degree would greatly complement my experiences.”

Rogers said he hopes to find a job with a local corporation after graduating.

“As for poignant moments and memories, I have many: playing golf with a Medal of Honor winner, talking to the prime minister of Canada, scaring myself more than enough times in a helicopter, jumping out of airplanes and helicopters, driving the Bradley armored fighting vehicles, putting a homeless teenager in the army, giving him a second chance…and lastly, attending funerals of friends, acquaintances, and soldiers who watched and felt the pain of loss.

“I’m no hero, but I knew and served with some.”

C O N T A C T :

Amy Blakely (865-974-5034, ablakely@utk.edu)

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