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Alan G. Rogers

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Template:Infobox Military Person Major Alan Greg Rogers (September 21, 1967January 27, 2008) was an ordained pastor, a US Army Major and Intelligence Officer, a civil rights activist in the gay, lesbian and bisexual military community and the first known gay combat fatality of Operation Iraqi Freedom.[1][2][3] The subsequent coverage of his death in the media sparked a debate over the effect of the military's "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" (DADT) policy and what information should be included in the biography of a gay military person killed in action.

Early life and educationEdit

At the age of 3, Rogers was adopted by George and Genny Rogers and was their only child. In 1977, the Rogers family moved from New York to Hampton, Florida, near Gainesville. Rogers attended Hampton Elementary School, and ultimately graduated from Bradford County High School in Starke, Florida, in 1985. Rogers joined Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church in Lincoln City, Florida, and was ordained a pastor as a young man. While in high school, Rogers was commander of the Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps program and elected by his classmates as the "most intellectual."[4]

Military career and adult lifeEdit

File:Agrogers-photo-02.jpg

After high school, Rogers joined the Reserve Officers' Training Corps program at the University of Florida and then accepted a commission in the US Army in 1990.[4] From 1990 to 2001, Rogers served in the first Persian Gulf War.[5] Rogers earned his first master's degree from the University of Phoenix.[4] Rogers's father, George, died of a heart attack in 2000, and his mother, Genny, died of kidney-related problems two weeks later. Rogers preached at his mother's funeral.[4]

File:Alan G Rogers AVER.jpg

In 2004, Rogers moved to Washington, D.C.. In 2005, Rogers earned a master's degree in public policy from Georgetown University. Only 25 Army officers were accepted into the program.[4] Rogers's thesis adviser was Mark Nadel, who described Rogers as "an officer with leadership qualities that made him think, 'This is a guy I'm going to hear from in 10 years, and he's going to be a general.'"[6] Rogers's thesis examined how the US military’s DADT policy affected recruitment and retention for military officers.[5] In recognition of his achievements at Georgetown, Rogers gained an internship at the Pentagon serving the deputy secretary of defense, Gordon R. England.[4]

Beginning in October 2004, Rogers served as Treasurer of the Washington, D.C. chapter of the American Veterans for Equal Rights (AVER).[5] On January 16, 2005, Rogers received an award from the organization for his service at a ceremony held at Dupont Grill. Rogers also attended events supporting the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), which works to end the DADT policy.[7]

File:Major Alan G. Roger at Same-Sex Wedding Ceremony.jpg

In June 2006, Rogers provided the opening prayer for a same-sex wedding ceremony. Rogers reportedly expressed "an intensely deep loneliness that stemmed from his inability to have both a [same-sex] relationship ... and the military career he also loved so much." [8]

In July 2007, Rogers was deployed to Iraq. Friends organized a send-off party in his honor on July 14, 2007, held at the Fabulous Bed & Breakfast in Northwest Washington, D.C.

Rogers's commanding officer in Iraq was Col. Thomas Fernandez.[6] Rogers communicated via e-mail with many of his friends during his deployment, and two of his friends from AVER received e-mail from Rogers the day before he died.[5]

Death and afterwardEdit

According to an Army report, Rogers was killed by an improvised explosive device while on foot patrol in Baghdad, on January 27, 2008.[9] On January 30, 2008, friends of Rogers established the Alan G. Rogers Memorial Scholarship Fund.

A funeral service was held for Rogers at Ebenezer Baptist Church on February 8, 2008.[10] In honor of Rogers, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist ordered the Florida and U.S. flags be flown at half-staff at the Bradford County Courthouse, Hampton City Hall and the Florida State Capitol.[4] Family members later expressed that "we really didn't know about [Rogers being gay] until after his death. " [11] Rogers' beneficiary from Florida later stated that he knew Rogers was gay, but felt it had "no more relevance than I'm straight." [11]

Rogers was buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery on March 14, 2008, in Section 60, at Gravesite 8558.[12] About 200 people attended the service, including Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England, Army Lt. Gen. John F. Kimmons, active duty military, both enlisted and officers, Rogers's friends and family from Florida, and Rogers's friends in northern Virginia, and Washington, D.C.[13] Also in attendance were a dozen or more gay active duty military personnel.[14]

National media coverage of Rogers's funeralEdit

Rogers's funeral gained national media publicity, initially on MSNBC, in the Washington Post and on National Public Radio's Morning Edition.[6][13][15] However, initial reports omitted Rogers's sexual orientation or anything related to the subject.

The Post and NPR reports coincided with the "grim milestone" that the US military death toll reached 4,000 dead.[13] Rogers's death and funeral gained further media attention when it was revealed that he was gay and worked to end the military's DADT policy.[5]

Initially, members of the national media were well aware of Rogers's sexual orientation,[11] yet it was widely reported that Rogers was not married and left no children.[6][13][15] While technically accurate, some members of the LGBT community viewed the statement as an intentional distortion and dodge of Rogers's sexual orientation.[7][8][14][16][17][18]

Rogers's cousin, Cathy Long of Ocala, Fla., said, "The Post did a wonderful job. Personally, as far as the family is concerned, we really didn't know about this until after his death. It was in the back of our minds, but we didn't discuss it." Cathy Long accepted Rogers's flag at the major's funeral. "I really feel Alan was a lot more than that," said Cathy Long who called the Washington Blade story "self-serving whatever their cause is and that they're trying to use Alan to do that."[11]

The Washington Post Ombudsman, Deborah Howell, stated that the editors of the Post deliberated the question of whether to disclose his sexual orientation and ultimately made a decision not to include such information.[11]

The Army asked that Rogers's sexual orientation not be disclosed, and the Army presented it as a concern of the family.[5]

The Washington Blade reported on the Post's decision to change the story and included more details about Rogers's activities and friends in the LGBT community.[5] Subsequently, Howell of the Washington Post, citing Rogers's apparent feelings on DADT, wrote a column admitting that the Post's article "would have been richer" had it disclosed his sexual orientation and activities in the GLBT community.[11]

On March 31, 2008, an anonymous attempt was made to remove information relating to Rogers's sexual orientation from the present Wikipedia article. The IP address associated with the attempt corresponds with the IP address for the office of the Army Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence (G-2) at the Pentagon, currently headed by Lt. Gen. John Kimmons.[19] Kimmons attended Rogers's funeral and presented the US flag from Rogers’s coffin to a family member.[13] The Army subsequently denied that the IP address associated with the changes "necessarily belongs to any one specific office."[20]

The August 4, 2008 issue of The New Yorker magazine published a lengthy profile of Rogers, and the larger issues surrounding the DADT debate spurred on by his death.[21]

AwardsEdit

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. Meyer, Denny (April 7, 2008), “American Veterans for Equal Rights mourns loss of true soldier and LGBT advocate in Iraq”, Forward Observer, <http://www.aver.us/index.php>. Retrieved on 26 April 2008 
  2. Johnson, Aidan (April 11, 2008), “Being gay's compatible with being 'A'”, The Globe and Mail, <http://ago.mobile.globeandmail.com/generated/archive/RTGAM/html/20080411/wcoalpha12.html>. Retrieved on 23 April 2008 
  3. Ralls, Steve (March 30, 2008), “Remembering Alan Rogers”, The Bilerico Project, <http://www.bilerico.com/2008/03/remembering_alan_rogers.php>. Retrieved on 3 April 2008 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 Voyles, Karen (February 7, 2008), “One final homecoming”, Gainesville Sun, <http://www.gainesville.com/article/20080207/NEWS/802070317/1002/NEWS>. Retrieved on 3 April 2008 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 Johnson, Chris (March 27, 2008), “Media, military kept soldier in closet after death”, Washington Blade, <http://www.washingtonblade.com/thelatest/thelatest.cfm?blog_id=17404>. Retrieved on 3 April 2008 
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 St. George, Donna (March 22, 2008), “Army Officer Remembered as Hero Army Officer Remembered as Hero”, Washington Post, <http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/03/21/AR2008032103036.html>. Retrieved on 3 April 2008 
  7. 7.0 7.1 Sarvis, Aubrey (March 29, 2008), “An American Hero, Alan Rogers, One of the 4,000”, The Front Lines: SLDN News & Updates, <http://freedomtoserve.blogspot.com/2008/03/american-hero-alan-rogers-one-of-4000.html>. Retrieved on 3 April 2008 
  8. 8.0 8.1 Cianciotto, Jason (March 29, 2008), “My letter to the Post Ombudsman”, Pam’s House Blend: An Online Magazine in the Reality-Based Community, <http://www.pamshouseblend.com/viewRating.do?rateCommentId=53535>. Retrieved on 3 April 2008 
  9. DoD Identifies Army Casualty”, DefenseLink News Release, January 29, 2008, <http://www.defenselink.mil/releases/release.aspx?releaseid=11649>. Retrieved on 3 April 2008 
  10. Finger, Doug (February 8, 2008), “Video: The Funeral of Major Rev. Alan G. Rogers”, Gainesville Sun, <http://www.brightcove.tv/title.jsp?title=1407924331&channel=294434710>. Retrieved on 3 April 2008 
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 11.5 Howell, Deborah (March 30, 2008), “Public Death, Private Life”, Washington Post, <http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/03/28/AR2008032803062.html>. Retrieved on 3 April 2008 
  12. WikiMapia: USA / Virginia / Arlington, 3 km, <http://wikimapia.org/#lat=38.875315&lon=-77.063674&z=17&l=0&m=a&v=2>. Retrieved on 3 April 2008 
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 Inskeep, Steve (March 24, 2008), “Report: American Death Toll in Iraq War Hits 4,000”, National Public Radio, <http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=88939595>. Retrieved on 3 April 2008 
  14. 14.0 14.1 Smith, Tony (March 14, 2008), “Our Whole Self And Whole Story: Honoring My Friend and Hero, Major Alan G. Rogers”, Gay Military Times, <http://www.thegaymilitarytimes.com/0804Rogers.html>. Retrieved on 3 April 2008 
  15. 15.0 15.1 Rutherford, John (March 14, 2008), “Army Officer Was a Best Man in All Senses”, NBC Field Notes, <http://fieldnotes.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2008/03/14/770008.aspx?p=1>. Retrieved on 3 April 2008 
  16. Sullivan, Andrew (March 28, 2008), “The Washington Post's Well-Meant Homophobia”, The Atlantic, <http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2008/03/the-washington.html#more>. Retrieved on 3 April 2008 
  17. Spaulding, Pam (March 28, 2008), “Media and military closets gay soldier killed in Iraq”, Pam’s House Blend: An Online Magazine in the Reality-Based Community, <http://www.pamshouseblend.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=4898>. Retrieved on 3 April 2008 
  18. Spaulding, Pam (March 31, 2008), “WaPo ombudsman: paper wrong to recloset deceased gay soldier”, Pam’s House Blend: An Online Magazine in the Reality-Based Community, <http://www.pamshouseblend.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=4928>. Retrieved on 3 April 2008 
  19. Johnson, Chris (April 3, 2008), “Edits to gay soldier’s Wikipedia entry traced to Pentagon”, Washington Blade, <http://www.washblade.com/thelatest/thelatest.cfm?blog_id=17515>. Retrieved on 3 April 2008 
  20. Johnson, Chris (April 17, 2008), “Army: source of Wikipedia edit on gay soldier can’t be traced”, Washington Blade, <http://www.washingtonblade.com/thelatest/thelatest.cfm?blog_id=17762>. Retrieved on 23 April 2008 
  21. http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2008/08/04/080804fa_fact_mcgrath

RayneVanDunem 22:26, March 8, 2010 (UTC)==External links==

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