Vergil RODGERS (Sergeant Major) from Tyler, TX was born July 5, 1923 and enlisted in the US Army Air Force on August 4, 1943 where he was a nose gunner and togglier, flying on the B-24 liberator bombers with the 8th Air Force 467th Bomb Group, 89th Bomb Squadron as a staff sergeant. He flew bombing missions in support of the Liberation of Southern France, as well as campaigns throughout the Rhineland and Central Europe.
After returning home from the war Sgt. Maj. Rodgers did not go back to civilian life, but continued to serve in the US Air Force as a Refueling Operator in the flight crews of B-29s, KC-97 tankers and KC-135 aircraft during the occupation of Japan, the Cold War, and the Vietnam war. In 1963 he received the Airman of the Year award which was presented to him by the Air Force Chief of Staff General Curtis Lemay in Washington D.C., and in 1966 he was promoted to Chief Master Sergeant, and then Sergeant Major before leaving the military in 1973.
For his service during WWII, he was awarded with the EAME Campaign Ribbon with 3 bronze stars, the American Theater Campaign Ribbon, WWII Victory Ribbon, Air Medal, American Defense Service Medal, Army of Occupation Medal, and 2 Air Force Commendations.
After retiring from his military career, he moved into Management at Levi Strauss & Co where he stayed for 10 years before becoming the Texas State Coordinator for widowed persons for which he has received many awards of appreciation for his service to the community. He married his high school sweetheart Vivian Cox shortly after coming home from the war and the two have been married for 72 years and have 2 children who were there to celebrate with them on Saturday.