Print | Back to e-WV The West Virginia Encyclopedia

Charles Rogers


Charles_rogers_medium

Medal of Honor recipient Charles Calvin Rogers (September 6, 1929- September 21, 1990) was born at Claremont, Fayette County. Rogers’s father, a coal miner and a World War I veteran, instilled in his son a love for his country and the military. In 1951, Rogers graduated from West Virginia State College (now university) and was commissioned through the school’s ROTC program as a second lieutenant. He went on to serve in combat during the Vietnam War.

Rogers earned the Medal of Honor for actions that took place near the Cambodian border on November 1, 1968. While manning a fire support base, members of the 1st Battalion, 5th Artillery, commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Rogers, found themselves in a desperate struggle. Enemy forces launched an attack that penetrated the base perimeter. Although wounded, Rogers directed artillery fire until the enemy force was repelled. President Richard Nixon awarded the Medal of Honor to Rogers in a ceremony at the White House on May 14, 1970. He was the highest ranking African-American to receive the medal.

Rogers remained in the military and retired as a major general in 1984. Ordained a Baptist minister, he spent his final years ministering to American soldiers in Germany. His remains were interned at Arlington National Cemetery. In 1999, a bridge in Fayette County was renamed the Charles C. Rogers Bridge.

Written by Henry Franklin Tribe

Sources

  1. Reef Catherine. African Americans in the Military (A to Z of African Americans). New York: Facts on File, 2010.

  2. Hanna Charles W.. African American Recipients of the Medal of Honor: A Biographical Dictionary, Civil War through Vietnam War. Jefferson, North Carolina and London: McFarland & Company, Inc., 2002.

  3. Murphy Edward. Vietnam Medal of Honor Heroes. New York: Ballantine Books, 2005.

  4. Griffith Stephanie. Comrades Give Final Salute to Black Hero. Washington Post, October 17, 1990.