Died April 27, 2017
Operation Freedom’s Sentinel
Assigned to 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Fort Benning, Georgia
Sergeant Joshua Rodgers died April 27, 2017 in Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan, as a result of small arms fire while working to complete a raid on the headquarters of Abdul Hasib, the ISIS Khorasan’s emir. SGT Cameron Thomas was killed in the same incident.
Joshua Rodgers was born August 22nd, 1994 in Normal, Illinois. After graduating college in 2013, Joshua enlisted in the U.S. Army in August of that same year. He completed One Station Unit Training at For Benning, Ga as an infantry man where he graduated from the Basic Airborne Course. He was then assigned to the Ranger Assessment and Selection Program 1, also at Fort Benning.
At 19 years old, he graduated from the Ranger Assessment and Selection Program 1 and was assigned to Company C, 3rd Battalion, 74thRanger Regiment in May of 2014 where he served as a Machine Gunner, Semi-automatic Gunner, Gun Team Leader and Ranger Team Leader. He was on his third deployment to Afghanistan and was serving as a Team Leader when he was killed.
From an early age, Josh knew that he wanted to pursue a career as an Army Ranger. “He never spoke about anything else. He wanted to be an Army Ranger,” said Bryan Thomas, Josh’s high school track coach. “It was something that he really talked about the spring of his senior year. Even some of the football coaches helped him get some of the (physical) training done because he was really excited about the test.”
Not only was Josh passionate about his service, but he demonstrated a caring leadership from an early age. “Josh was a man of very few words, but when he spoke you listened,” his mother, Vonda Rodgers said. “Through hard work and determination he continually led by example and made everyone around him proud. Although Josh may physically be gone, his presence on earth will forever remain near. His soft-spoken words will continue to be our daily motivation.”
SGT Joshua Rodgers was 22 years old from Bloomington, IL.
The original portrait was presented November 17th, 2019 to his parents, Kevin and Vonda Rodgers, and family in New York City, New York, during a special memorial event held by the Lead the Way Fund.