WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – A Retired Air Force Master Sergeant spent more than 26 years serving the country. Mike Rogers said he would do it all over again. He graduated high school in 1985 and then joined the Air Force in August of that same year.
“Makes you appreciate what you have because those are all third world countries,” Ret. Air Force MSgt. Mike Rogers said.
He spent more than 4,000 days deployed and throughout his career earned challenge coins.
“They would just call you out and say you’ve done this. This is what we are going to do for you.”
Rogers was coined quite a few times and realized that his Air Force career took off early when he looks back.
“Moving people from base to base, getting all of their household goods, their tickets, anything they need to get moved.”
“We basically pull together, work each other’s schedules and take care of one another.”
Rogers did a lot of moving as well with the 40th Airlift Squadron.
The guys would do four months deployed and then four months home.
“We were really a family, there. We were all deployed together,” Rogers said. “No matter where you are at, you are family.”
Rogers was just under the sergeant in charge, so all his duties kept him busy.
“I would have the same responsibilities he had, but he would be gone further into country, and I would stay back and take care of everyone else.”
He took care of everything from processing paperwork to making sure aircrews got medals from several operations.
“We would haul anything from passengers to Army troops, Marines, anywhere, in and out of the fight.”
He said they also hauled supplies for the Air Force.
Rogers earned hardware overseas but said there was no greater reward than seeing his family each time he returned.
“All the families would meet you on the flight line.”
Rogers gets emotional when talking about those sweet reunions and when he thinks about the day he achieved his highest rank, MSgt.
“All of a sudden, I get bombarded by 20 people. You made it. I said, no, I didn’t. So I looked online, and I did, and my commander came in and goes, go home.”
Rogers was Superintendent of the 22nd Air Refueling Wing Scheduling.
“Running my own shop, with five people now, plus being in charge of a whole squadron.”
Again, there were a lot of moving parts.
“Dealt with aircrew training, logging their flying time,” Rogers said. “Tracking all of their training, their flying hours.”
He issued quite a few flight authorization forms and even has one framed to remember those days.
“I was in charge of all the fueling, making sure they all got accomplished.”
He accomplished a career in the Air Force, and when he retired, he got a special picture signed by many who meant so much to him.
“Everyone I worked with and for, so it just sends chills up your back.”
His challenge coin collection proves he was always willing to go above and beyond the call of duty.
“It gives me pride in a job well done.”
He met his wife Kari the first time he was stationed a McConnell, and that’s the base he also retired out of.
“Pretty much the families depended on one another to take care of the home front.”
During his service, the Rogers and their two children were named Family of the Year at Dyess Air Force Base.
Rogers laughed when he looked back at how it all started and said he never realized he would spend so long in the Air Force.
“Twenty-five years after my first assignment, it’s like I really like this, and I reenlisted, and before you know it, we were at 10 years, then 14, 16, and then, I am sticking this out.”