William C. Rogers III

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This page relates to the naval officer. For other men named William Rogers see William Rogers (disambiguation).

Commander William C. Rogers III, native of San Diego county, was the captain of USS Vincennes, a guided missile cruiser with the Aegis Combat System.

While under his command the ship was responsible for shooting down the Iran Air Flight 655 in the Persian Gulf, resulting in 290 civilian fatalities. This caused an international incident for the United States.

Following an investigation and a report by Rear Admiral William Fogarty, which was received with skepticism by some, it was determined that Captain Rogers acted within the rules of engagement, he was awarded (by George H. W. Bush in 1990) the Legion of Merit award for "exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of an outstanding service." He completed the remainder of scheduled deployment.

Nine months after the incident, on March 10, 1989, Rogers' wife Sharon escaped with her life when a pipe bomb attached to her minivan exploded, while she was driving. The van was in Commander Rogers' name. While many immediately suspected that terrorists were responsible, Associated Press reported later that the most likely suspect had a personal vendetta against Rogers and the FBI denied terrorist activity [1] (http://www.milnet.com/sepoct89.htm). To date, the bombing of Rogers' van remains an unsolved case, despite a major investigation involving at some time up to 300 police men and FBI agents [2] (http://crossword.uniontrib.com/news/northcounty/jenkins/20030811-9999_1m11jenkins.html). At some stage the case was featured on the TV show Unsolved Mysteries. This led to no further results, either.

Pipe bombs are a very common occurrence (over 200 each year) in San Diego County and a largely homegrown threat according to the local sheriff's department [3] (http://www.emergency.com/bombstry.htm).

Commander Rogers published a book in 1992 (co-authored by his wife, Sharon) describing his version of the events (see below).

References

"Storm Center: A Personal Account of Tragedy & Terrorism", by Sharon Rogers, Will Rogers, Gene Gregston. Naval Institute Press, June 1992

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