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Donald Rodgers

Donald Thornton Rodgers

Friday, March 6th, 2020
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Donald T. Rodgers, 75, passed away Friday, March 6, 2020 at St. Mary’s Hospital in Tucson, AZ.

Don was born on February 19, 1945 to Christine and Charles L. Rodgers, Sr. in Memphis, TN. He attended Central High School and Memphis State University.

He served in the United States Army from 1967 to 1987 as an Army Aviator, operating several types of helicopter. He served one tour in Vietnam from 1968 to 1969, flying over 1300 hours in combat. He was highly decorated, earning the Silver Star, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Bronze Star, the Air Medal (with 25 Oak Leaf Clusters), the Army Commendation Medal (with V device and 2 Oak Leaf Clusters), the Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Campaign Medal (with 4 campaign stars), the Armed Forces Reserve Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, the Vietnam Campaign Medal (with 60 devices), the Meritorious Unit Commendation, the Vietnam Civil Action Medal (with unit citation), the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm (unit citation), and the Master Army Aviator Badge. When asked what his awards were for, he’d simply say “good conduct.”

After Vietnam, he was posted to various duty stations in the United States, Europe, and South Korea.

After leaving the Army, he lived in the Tidewater area of Virginia where he worked in the financial services industry. He retired to Tucson, AZ and said that the open vistas reminded him of flying.

Don joined the Sons of Confederate Veterans in 2007 and was an active member until his passing. He was also a member of Viet Nam Helicopter Pilots Association, Combat Helicopter Pilots Association, Military Officers Association, and the Infantry Officers Association.

He is survived by his wife of 15 years, Ann Elizabeth Rodgers, his son, Jacob Garth Rodgers, his daughter, Kara Rodgers Marshall, his previous wives Katherine Ann Frydenborg and Florence Fergusson, and his nieces Elizabeth Dobell, Christine Frakes, and Kathleen Gwin.

A memorial service is planned for March 6, 2021. In lieu of flowers, the family asks for donations to be made in Don’s memory to the Wounded Warrior Project.
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Glenn L Meek

Posted at 10:58am
Don was not only a friend, but a brother in arms. We have laughed at the stupidest things, and cried at the mundane. Don had a dry sense of humor and most had no idea that they were insulted as the walked away with a smile on their faces thinking they got the best of him when in fact they hadn't. Don was witty, quick to lend a hand, and usually the first there when a friend was down, I know first hand. He was a hero, and I do mean in the literal sense. He saved many in Viet Nan placing his own safety on the line by flying cover and landing his UH1 under heavy fire to extract the wounded. One account of a hand written letter of thanks described how Don received a "Mayday" and Don changed course to assist, the crew had been separated, and Don under fire sat his bird down to pick up two crew. He then set out to locate the second two crewmembers, when locating them fired hi M1 Carbine out the pilots door offering cover fire and saving to more. So yea my friend was true hero. And he will be missed.

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520-201-1130 Dodge Chapel: 1050 N. Dodge Blvd. | Tucson, AZ 85716 | Phone: 520-201-1130
Avalon Chapel: 8090 N. Northern Ave. | Oro Valley, AZ 85704 | Phone: 520-201-1141