By Deb Mercurio, IMCOM Public AffairsApril 29, 2010
WASHINGTON D.C. -- More than 30 years ago, Brig. Gen. Dennis Rogers left his small town of Phenix City, Ala., to enter active duty as an armored cavalry lieutenant at Fort Knox, Ky.
"Halfway down the trail to hell, in a Shady meadow green are the souls of all dead troopers camped, near a good old-time canteen. And this eternal resting place is known as Fiddlers' Green."
Donning a uniform was not something new for Rogers, former director of operations and facilities for Installation Management Command and former commanding general of the National Capital Region District. The general, who retired earlier this month, actually started wearing one eight years before receiving his commission in the Army.
Indeed, a uniform became part of his wardrobe in the ninth grade as a member of his high schoolAca,!a,,cs junior ROTC program. He was a senior ROTC member at Kemper Military Junior College, Boonville, Mo., and at the University of South Alabama where he received a bachelorAca,!a,,cs degree in history.
Rogers has two master degrees: one in strategic studies from the U.S. Army War College and the other in public administration from Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania. He is a graduate of the following military schools/courses: Air Assault, Airborne, and Ranger School, Armor Officer Basic and Advanced courses, U.S. Army Command and General Staff College.
Marching past, straight through to Hell the infantry are seen. Accompanied by the engineers, artillery and Marines, for none but the shades of cavalrymen dismount at FiddlersAca,!a,,c Green.
The general served in many roles as platoon leader, executive officer, maintenance officer, commander, assignment officer, future readiness officer, observer/controller, chief of operations, Pacific war planner, deputy chief of staff, deputy commanding general and chief of staff.
Aca,!A"From 1997-1999, I served as commander of 4th Battalion, 64th Armored Regiment. At that time I believed I had reached the epitome of excellence and the top of my craft; I had always wanted to command a tank battalion,Aca,!A? said Rogers.
Rogers said that when he deployed Task Force 4-64 AR (TUSKERS) to Kuwait in 1998, he had no idea that his troops would be standing duty during the Christmas and Ramadan holidays in support of Operation Desert Fox. His unit was the sole one on the ground when the United States bombed Baghdad on Christmas Day 1998. The unit would later be commended by the Honorable Bill Cohen, secretary of defense at the time.
As a tank brigade commander, the highlight of his service was preparing for and deploying the 2nd (WARHORSE) Brigade, 4ID-a 4,700 person brigade combat team, to Kuwait and then on to Iraq. On April 26, 2003, the WARHORSE Brigade Combat Team secured the Diyala Province and provided the ground works for the reestablishment of essential services for more than one million Iraqi people.
His second tour to Iraq involved in planning and execution of the division of the CJTF-7 headquarters into two organizations. This action laid the framework for the establishment of the strategic level 4-star headquarters that became Multi-National Force-Iraq. Additionally, the operational level 3-star headquarters, Multi-National Corps-Iraq, was established to command and control the ground operations. He was the first C-3, (Operations and Plans) for MNC-I.
From 2005-2007, he served as the deputy commanding general of Army Accessions Command at Fort Monroe, Va. Rogers said his proudest moment was being a member of the team that would eventually develop the new Army motto, Army Strong.
Aca,!A"In this assignment, I was afforded the opportunity to directly engage the citizens of the nation; I was able to talk to mothers and fathers about giving us their sons and daughters to serve in our Army,Aca,!A? said Rogers.
During this time, Rogers also auditioned for Army commercials - but was told his voice was too mature, as the production crew wanted to go with a younger sound. He also led the team that produced the annual Army All-American Football Game in San Antonio, Texas. This game featured high school star football athletes who were future NCAA and NFL players. The football game was the commandAca,!a,,cs primary recruiting outreach activity that focused on enlisted recruits, senior ROTC cadets, and those industry leaders who supported the Army.
RogersAca,!a,,c final assignment has been with Installation Management Command, which he called the most rewarding. He is proud of creating the directorate of operations and facilities, the G-3/5/7, and the National Capital Region District. The highlight of this assignment was leading the team that produced the first Installation Management Campaign Plan, which will serve as a road map for the way ahead over the next seven years.
Aca,!A"Each of these organizations has in their own right been a critical part of the overall success of the command; however, the National Capital Region District was the jewel,Aca,!A? said Rogers.
He said all four installations/unit (Fort Belvoir, Fort Meade, Joint Base Meyer-Henderson Hall, and the Joint Personal Property Shipping Office Washington Area) have played a key role in supporting senior leadership, including the president, vice-president, secretary of defense and secretary of the Army.
Though some go curving down the trail to seek a warmer scene. No trooper ever gets to hell ere heAca,!a,,cs emptied his canteen and so rides back to drink again with friends at FiddlersAca,!a,,c Green.
The generalAca,!a,,cs awards and decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit (with one oak leaf cluster), the Bronze Star Medal (with one oak leaf cluster), Defense Meritorious Service Medal (with four oak leaf clusters, Army Commendation Medal (with three oak leaf clusters), Army Achievement Medal (with two oak leaf clusters), Parachutist Badge, Air Assault Badge, Ranger Tab, Combat Action Badge, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff Identification Badge.
And so when man and horse go down beneath a saber keen, or in a roaring charge of fierce melee you stop a bullet clean, and the hostiles come to get your scalp, just empty your canteen and go to FiddlersAca,!a,,c Green.
Come the morning of July 2, 2010, the day after his official retirement, the general will wake up and get dressed, but it wonAca,!a,,ct be in the Army uniform that he has so proudly worn with distinction. He will turn to his wife, Dr. Maria T. Rogers, and move on to the next adventure in his life with their four children.
EditorAca,!a,,cs Note: Above is an edited version of the poem, Aca,!A"FiddlerAca,!a,,cs Green.Aca,!A? It was published in 1923, in Cavalry Journal. According to the article, it was inspired by a story told by Captain Sammy Pearson at a campfire in the Medicine Bow Mountains, Wyoming. It is still used by modern cavalry units to memorialize the deceased. The name has had other military uses. Today, in the heart of the Helmand River Valley, in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, the U.S. Marine Corps operates a firebase (FB) named Fiddler's Green.