Com. John Rodgers
Library of Congress Collection

Victor D. Herbster
Left to Right: Lieutenant Victor Herbster, Lieutenant John Rogers,
Chief Gunnersmate H. H. Weigand

The Entire Navy Inventory of Aircraft
A-1, A-2, and B-1 was at North Island, January to May, 1912
     "The B-1, ordered at the same time as the A-1 and A-2, was being built at the Wright Plant in Dayton, Ohio. The B-1 was test flown by Orville Wright on July 15, 1911. On a second flight the same day, Mr. Wright took Captain Chambers as a passenger. The plane was assigned to John Rodgers, later designated Naval Aviator No. 2, who was trained at the Wright Plant Rodgers first student was Ensign V. D. Herbster.
     The A-1, A-2 and B-1 and all the Naval aviation personnel were moved to Greenbury Point at Annapolis, Maryland, adjacent to the Naval Academy in September 11, 1911.
     The first Naval Aviation unit consisted of Lieutenant T. G. Ellyson, Lieutenant John Rodgers, Lieutenant J. H. Towers, Ensign Victor D. Herbster, Dale B. Sigler, Electrician First Class; H. H. Weigand, Chief Gunnersmate; Percie Coffey, Electrician First Class; D. L Bronson, Chief Electrician; Julian E. Scott, Electrician First Class..
Photo and Text from: JACKRABBITS TO JETS
The History of North Island, San Diego, California

J. Clifford Turpin
     On the right side of the photo is seated famed early aviator J. Clifford Turpin in what is likely a Wright Model B aircraft. "Lieut. Rogers" is actually at the controls on the left side of the photo and is likely Lieutenant John Rodgers (US Naval Aviator #2). Rodgers was trained at the Wright School of Aviation in 1911 and flew from Huffman Prairie in Dayton, Ohio at the same time Cliff Turpin was a Wright Company pilot and instructor.
     While Rodgers was training at Huffman Prairie, he was visited by his cousin Calbraith "Cal" Perry Rodgers. Cal Rodgers became interested in aviation and he himself was instructed by the Wright Company and purchased his own aircraft. Cal Rodgers would become the first aviator to fly from coast to coast (Sept. 17 to Nov. 11, 1911) in a Wright Model EX Flyer named the "Vin Fiz".

Daily Journal and Tribune,
Knoxville, Tennessee: September 18, 1911,
Transcribed by Bob Davis - 11-16-03
Annapolis, Md., Sept. 17. - Traveling at the rate of nearly a mile a minute for the most part over Chesapeake Bay, Lieutenant John Rodgers, aviation instructor at the United States Naval academy, this morning flew from his aviation field at Greenberry Point, across the Severn river from the naval academy. He covered approximately 52 miles in one hour and three minutes.
      On his arrival at College Park yesterday afternoon Rodgers announced his intention of flying to New York today but this morning said the navy department was unwilling for him to attempt to do so and he decided to go to Annapolis instead. He left this city at 2 p.m., for New York to witness the start of his cousin, C. P. Rodgers, in the coast-to-coast aeroplane contest."
Bob Davis

     If you search for "John Rodgers +aviation", using the Google search engine, (11-17-03), you will find about 621 links! If you refine the search by using "Commander John Rodgers +aviation", you will find about 25 links. Among the most helpful are the following. If time permits, you will be well served by visiting some of the other sites.
Commander, United States Navy
     This page on the Arlington National Cemetery website offers a nice little summary of his life and career and includes a nice photograph of him, one of the USS JOHN RODGERS (DD983) coat of arms and several of his gravesite. You can access the site by clicking on the title above.
     This page on the Public Affairs website of the Department of Transportation offers a nice summary of the attempt in 1925 to fly from San Francisco to Honolulu. The plane commanded by John Rodgers almost made it to the island, but was forced down by lack of fuel. The story of the rescue of him and his crew is an exciting one. You can enjoy the whole story by clicking on the title above.

via email from "Amy", 10-9-05
My name is Amy. I was wondering if you could tell me if John Rodgers had any kids? If he did, one might be John Ian Rodgers Jr.
Thank you.
Editor's Note: I learned from the Arlington National Cemetery website that he had been married. His wife, from whom he was divorced in 1924, was Ethel Greiner Rodgers.
     If you can help to answer Amy's request, you can contact through me. Just send a message to me and I will forward it to her.

Rodger's Family
via email from Rick Helin, 8-2-08
     To answer Amy's question as to the son, if any, for Commander John Rodgers. He did indeed marry Ethel Greiner Rodgers and they had only a daughter before they became divorced. Their daughter, Helen Perry Rodgers, eventually married a frenchman, Alain Raoul-Duval. They had one son also Alain.
     Tell Amy that Commander Rodgers had a younger brother, Robert, and there is not much known about him. Perhaps the chap in question could have been sired by Robert? What made her believe that this particular child may have been a descendant of Rodgers? I'd love to know.
Rick Helin
Screenwriter of Hawaii Calls
A story of Rodgers epic flight from SF to Hawaii in 1925
Editor's Note: I thank Rick for this important information. Unfortunately, I have lost "Amy's" email address since she contacted me back in 2005. With luck, she will find this answer. At least, our other visitors will be able to learn more about his family

Rodger's Family Supplement
via email from Rick Helin, 2-19-11
     Regarding your bio on Commander John Rodgers USN, you may wish to add the following information and links.

Please note: John Rodgers' brother, Robert Perry Rodgers, and his architectural partner, Alfred Easton Poore, were the winning architects (received a prize of $5,000) for having created the design for The Wright Brothers National Memorial to Flight at Kill Devil Hill, Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Robert died on June 4,1934.

In addition, I discovered Commander John Rodgers also had an additional younger brother, Alexander C. Rodgers, born 1889, who became lost during a hike from Valdez to Fairbanks, Alaska in July 1910. He was twenty-one years old at the time. Alexander's body was never found despite a thorough search conducted later by his brother, Lt. John Rodgers. Accompanying him on the search was their father, Rear Admiral John Augustus Rodgers, who at the time was commandant of the Puget Sound Navy Yard, Bremerton, WA. Their father is well-known for having promoted and perfected "wireless communication" in the fleet.

Son of Admiral Rodgers Not Heard from Since Last July.

I have also posted some original Pathe newsreel film footage on Youtube which may interest you. It is rare footage I own of Commander Rodgers' epic flight to Hawaii. Feel free to post the link to it on your own site.

I love early aviation and your site is outstanding. Keep up the good work.

Rick Helin

John Rodgers died in 1926.

       Pete Jones has located this entry for Rodgers on the Find A Grave website. You will find his dates of birth and death, a nice biography, several photgraphs and the location of his burial. You can access the page by clicking on the title.  

Editor's Note:
If you have any more information on this pioneer aviator,
please contact me.
E-mail to Ralph Cooper
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