Iraq war veteran seeks higher education after years in combat

David Rogers

David Rogers, 45, of Brownstown Township, at a military base in 2011. COURTESY | DAVID ROGERS

 

 

By COLIN MACDOUGALL
CONTRIBUTOR

 

David Rogers is a veteran of the United States Army who is currently a student here at Washtenaw Community College. Rogers, 45, first came to WCC because he was seeking a degree in construction technology – although he is currently in the process of selecting a new major. Attending college was not always what Rogers planned for himself, however. At the age of 18, he decided to join the military instead.

“I decided that I wasn’t going to go to college… so the way I was raised by my mother if I wasn’t going to go on to college I had to do something with my life… I joined the army,” Rogers said.

Rogers first joined the U.S. Army on Dec. 1, 1988. He was a 19th Delta – a Cavalry Scout often know as “the eyes and the ears” of the U.S. Army. A Cavalry Scout engages enemies in the field, tracks and reports enemies, and directs the employment of weapons to specific locations.  Rogers was involved in mainly combat operations throughout  most of his military career.

Through the military, Rogers got to see places all around the world such as Europe, Korea, the United Kingdom, Somalia, and Iraq where he served on seven different tours.

Rogers first went to Iraq in Dec. of 1991 during Desert Storm. He got off of active duty with the army sometime in 1995. From about that point on, Rogers spent the rest of his time in the Army National Guard, until his retirement in 2013.

Laverne Rogers, David’s wife of 16 years, remembers the longest point of deployment  was during the first tour after 9/11; he only visited one time in the summer. The first tour lasted almost a year and a half. David went through a period of being called back to active duty about four or five times between 2004 and 2013.

“After 9/11 happened, when they first activated him, he was still stateside and I wasn’t as concerned,” Laverne said. “Once he started getting activated overseas, the first time it was horrible. When he had gone over there that was the time when there were all the attacks that were going on at the military bases.”

Xavier Rogers, David’s 17-year-old son describes his father being in the military as tough to get used to, especially when he was in active duty. There was more than one birthday David missed. Xavier said that it was even difficult to do some of the hobbies the two shared while his father was overseas.

“Without a doubt I was proud of him, but I missed him a lot,” Xavier said. It was hard for him to do activities that he and his father did together before he left.

When Xavier was younger, he thought about joining the military like his father. David encourages Xavier to pursue other interests instead of joining the military.

When Xavier found out his father was being discharged from the military he said, “It was hard to describe. I was really happy.”

“I was happy, we didn’t have to worry about that part of his life anymore,” Laverne added.

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