Major Alan G. Rogers
Major Alan G. Rogers (September 21, 1967 – January 27, 2008) was killed in Iraq by an improvised explosive device while on foot patrol in Baghdad. Rogers was the first known gay combat fatality of Operation Iraqi Freedom. According to his commanders, he shielded two others from the blast, sacrificing his own life for theirs. Major Rogers’ heroic death made headlines as the U.S. fatality count in Operation Iraqi Freedom sprinted towards 4,000 in early 2008.
Major Rogers joined the Reserve Officers' Training Corps program at the University of Florida, soon after accepting a commission in the US Army in 1990. Rogers served in the Persian Gulf War from 1990 until 2001.Rogers, who was also an ordained pastor, received an Army Fellowship to attend Georgetown University in Washington D.C., where was awarded a Master's Degree in Public Policy. He wrote his thesis on the "don't ask, don't tell" policy and the affect it has on military recruitment and retention.
Rogers was also actively involved in the DC Chapter of American Veterans for Equal Rights as the organization's treasurer.In July 2007, Rogers was deployed to Iraq. On January 27, 2008, he was killed by an improvised explosive device while on foot patrol in Baghdad. The Army posthumously awarded him a Purple Heart and a second Bronze Star.
Controversy Over Alan Rogers' Death:
When the story of Rogers' death broke, The Washington Post and National Public Radio did not initially disclose that he was gay (read more). And on March 31, 2008, an anonymous user edited Rogers' Wikipedia profile to exclude an reference to his sexual identity. The IP address of the user was traced back to the office of the Army Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence at the Pentagon. According to the Washington Blade, the Army denied involvement, stating that the IP address doesn't "necessarily belongs to any one specific office." The profile has since been rewritten to include his sexual identity.
Celebration of Alan Rogers' Life:
In celebration of Rogers' life and bravery, The Alan G. Rogers Memorial Scholarship Fund was established to provide merit and need based education assistance to deserving individuals from diverse backgrounds.According to friend and colleague Sharon Alexander, SLDN’s Director of Legislative Affairs, Rogers was an “utterly superb Army officer.” Alexander continues, “There was so much about Alan that people never knew. I’m intensely proud to have called him my friend.” Alexander reflects on his life, death, and the impact he’s had on equality in the military in her blog Memorial Day: Remembering Alan Rogers.