The LTC James D. Rogers Challenge Course was built and dedicated in 2009 to honor the memory
of LTC Rogers, a beloved former commandant and U.S. military hero who passed away March 4, 2009.
James D. Rogers attended high school in Meridian, Texas, and was a member of the 1954 All-District
football team. He was named best lineman in the district. He was catcher and co-captain of the
baseball team. He also served with his local Army reserve unit.
Then in 1955, he enlisted in the regular Army, quickly attaining the rank of sergeant. In 1958 he
graduated with honors from Infantry Officer Candidate School in Fort Benning, Georgia, and
subsequently received his first assignment as a platoon leader.
During his 23 years with the U.S. Army, LTC Rogers received many awards to include The Distinguished
Service Cross for extraordinary heroism in combat in Vietnam in 1965. He was twice awarded The Bronze
Star and The Army Commendation Medal. Other commendations include The Air Medal, The Meritorious
Service Medal, Navy Commendation Medal, The Combat Infantryman's Badge, The Senior Parachutist Badge
and The Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry. In addition to numerous stateside posts, LTC Rogers served in
Iceland, Korea and Vietnam and temporarily in England, Norway, Greece, the Middle East, the Panama
Canal Zone and Canada. At the completion of his service in the Army, with duty at the Pentagon in the
Office of Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans and Operations and the Office of the Chief of Staff,
LTC Rogers was awarded the Legion of Merit.
In 1976, LTC James D. Rogers turned down a promotion to full colonel and left his service in the
regular active duty Army to begin his second career as Senior Army Instructor and Commandant of
Cadets at San Marcos Baptist Academy. During his sixteen years of service as Senior Army Instructor
and Commandant of Cadets at San Marcos Baptist Academy, the JROTC unit earned the Honor Unit with
Distinction designation each year. He organized the Ranger Platoon and the Mounted Color Guard. He
established the Henry T. Waskow Award for exemplary leadership and was instrumental in establishing
the San Marcos Baptist Academy Veteran's Memorial, erected in front of Davidson Hall.
With great skill, he organized a number of educational trips for Academy students each year during
Spring Break. For many students, this was an opportunity of a lifetime to travel to such historic
places as Washington, D.C., Virginia and Gettysburg. During the annual JROTC Leadership School,
LTC Rogers arranged for cadets to travel to Quantico, Virginia; Fort Benning, Georgia; Camp Gruber,
Oklahoma; and Fort Hood, Texas to simulate real Army training.
Following his service as SAI and Commandant of Cadets, LTC Rogers served the school as Assistant
Principal and history instructor. He taught at SMBA until 2002, after which he accepted a position
at Gary Job Corps working in academics and later in administration.
In 2002, LTC Rogers was inducted into the U.S. Army Ranger Hall of Fame. He was named Distinguished
Alumnus of Texas State University in 2003. In addition, LTC Rogers was recognized by the Texas
Historical Commission and named an honorary Admiral of the Texas Navy.
Throughout his life, LTC Rogers stood as a respected example of leadership, determination and courage.
He exhibited genuine interest in the lives of everyone around him, offering encouragement and inspiration
to students, faculty and staff alike. We are grateful to Sue Rogers, James Jr., Jeffrey, and Mike, for
sharing their husband and father with us.