Colonel Charles Raymond “Chuck” Rogers, III (USAF/Retired), age 72, of LaGrange, passed away on January 29, 2023. Colonel Rogers was born on May 5, 1950 in Langdale, Alabama to Charles Raymond Rogers, Jr. and Jacqueline Williams Rogers. In addition to his father, he was preceded in death by his sister, Penny Jacoby. Survivors include his wife, Pamela McCrea Rogers; mother, Jacqueline Williams Rogers; sons, Charles R. Rogers, IV. (Wendy) and Brandon C. Rogers (Melissa); brother, Greg Rogers (Taby); grandchildren, Bailey Rogers, Josie Rogers, Piper Rogers and Lucas Rogers; extended family and friends.
Chuck graduated from Frankfurt American High School, Frankfurt, Germany in 1968 and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Auburn University in 1972 where he was commissioned through the Reserve Officer Training Corps. He earned his pilot wings in August 1973 and began flying F-4 Phantom II aircraft, eventually transitioning to the F-16 Fighting Falcon in 1983. He served as flight commander, operations officer, squadron commander, vice wing commander, wing commander, and in joint international staff positions in Naples, Italy with Headquarters AIRSOUTH, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina with Headquarters, Peace Implementation Force. Colonel Rogers was the operations officer of the first air-to-ground squadron deployed to Southwest Asia in support of Operation Desert Shield and was later mission commander and leader of the first mission into Southern Iraq in support of Operation Southern Watch.
Over the years, Chuck (call sign “Cheeks”) logged more than 4000 flight hours and made his way up the ranks until he retired full colonel in 2002. After retirement, Cheeks channeled his military discipline into pool maintenance, yard care, and repairs and improvements around the house. Though no longer involved in any wars, he was often heard yelling “War Eagle” to cheer on his Auburn Tigers on the football field; his tailgating set-up for home games had the kind of precision that would have passed an officer’s inspection. He maintained his authority over a grill and drove his car with the daredevil confidence of a F-16 pilot, much to the chagrin of his civilian passengers. Despite decades of giving orders and commanding, nothing softened Chuck more than becoming a grandfather. Bailey, Josie, Piper, and Lucas followed Daddy Cheeks’s strict regiments: keep the upstairs door closed, put the dock ladder back in place, and straighten the rug tassels if you’ve messed them up. But they also brought out his playful side. After Chuck and Pam bought their lakeside house in LaGrange, Georgia, Daddy Cheeks enjoyed pulling the grandchildren behind the boat, playing ukulele with Bailey, Josie, and Piper, and teaching Lucas how to play golf (when he wasn’t getting beaten by Lucas in checkers and ping-pong).
Chuck loved his wife Pam, who he called “Sweetie”. The two complemented each other: Chuck was a man of few words, often content to grill or work on his own while listening to music, while his wife socialized and party-planned. Cheeks doted on Sweetie: their empty-nest post-retirement life often featured sunset cruises on the boat, complete with a glass of wine, hors d'oeuvres, and Beatles love songs in the background.
Through his love for Pam, Chuck grew in his love for God. In what would become the final years of his life, Chuck was a deacon at Western Heights Baptist Church and served on the security team. His love for Western Heights was demonstrated by his commitment to the upkeep of the church. If it was broken, Chuck would fix it. Pam knew if she couldn’t find Chuck, he was either on the golf course or at the church. His church family remembers Chuck for his servant approach to faith, which was driven by his love for Jesus Christ.
Chuck was a man people could count on. He had strong values, a great sense of humor, a devotion to family and to his faith, and most of all, integrity. He leaves behind a trail of Air Force men and women who held him in high esteem, friends who admired and respected him, and family who loved him and will miss him terribly. He was a good man.
The Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, February 18, 2023 at 2:00 pm at Western Heights Baptist Church. Inurnment services with full military honors will be held at Arlington National Cemetery at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Tunnel to Towers at www.t2t.org or to the First Choice Women’s Center at www.lagrangepregnancy.com.