SSgt Robert D. Rogers, 27, of Sierra Vista, AZ, was killed in a helicopter crash near Treviso, Italy, from injuries received as the result of the accident.
He was born on Feb. 21, 1980, to Anna, his German-born mother and Robert Allen Rogers his father who was in the U.S. Army. The family moved to the United States when Robert was 3 months old, living first at Fort Huachuca and then Sierra Vista.
Robert attended Shiloh Christian School from kindergarten until his high school graduation, where he was named salutatorian in May 1998. As a child Robert loved to draw, assemble Lego airplanes and helicopters from memory. He would much rather read than watch movies. He helped his Mom keep house, cook, and do laundry - all skills that followed him to his adult life. Robert excelled at everything and especially loved mathematics.
As a teenager he belonged to the Civil Air Patrol because of his love for planes and flying. He loved adventure and on his 18th birthday he skydived for the first time. He also loved repelling, rock climbing, white water rafting and was training for his scuba diving license. While in Sierra Vista he attended Cochise College and worked for Marriott Food Service and UPS. At the time of his death, he lacked only three credits from receiving the associate's degree in avionics systems technology.
Staff Sgt. Rogers enlisted in the Air Force in 2001 attending basic training at Lackland Air Force Base and technical training at Sheppard Air Force Base, both in Texas. His assignments included Hill Air Force Base, Utah; Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea; and Aviano Air Base, Italy. He served in various positions within the Air Force Avionics community-including avionics sensors system team member, journeyman and team leader.
Other awards were Avionics Flight NCO of the Quarter, July-September 2006; nominated for the 2007 Leo Marquez Award for Aircraft Maintenance; received the Air Force Commendation Medal for his service at Aviano Air Base. Rob, as his unit, the 31st Fighter Wing in Italy, called him, was the 2005 Maintenance Professional of the Year and Lantirns top technician. From a team member, "He was never content to just tell you how to perform a task, instead he wanted to jump in and show you how it was done. He lived every day to the fullest and his infectious laugh and dry sense of humor lifted spirits daily." From another, "I worked with Rob every day and he was honestly the best guy in the shop - not only professionally, but as a person."
Robert Daniel Rogers will be remembered by his family as a devoted, "super daddy" and the "best dad ever" to his 5-year-old son, Isaiah Sky Rogers, the center of his life, who lived with him in Italy. He was a loving and devoted son to Anna (Dan) Showalter and Robert Allen (Carol) Rogers, wonderful elder brother of Karl Rogers. Lanea Rogers, his wife, also survives him, as well as many relatives in Germany and Washington state.
He is buried in Southern Arizona Veterans Memorial Cemetery, in Sierra Vista.