Army Veteran Joe Rodgers, a Hometown Hero

Army Veteran Joe Rodgers, a Hometown Hero
Army Veteran Joe Rodgers, a Hometown Hero

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - It took only 12 days for Sergeant Joe Rodgers to end his military career in Belgium.

"Got into this town and they wanted to fight," said Rodgers, 90.

Joe was squad leader for a team of machine gunners. But when one of guns got jammed, that was the end of his military career…and almost the end for him.

"It all happened so sudden. The thing hit the house and knocked me down, and I'm still conscious, the stuff still falling, but I tried to get up," Rodgers said.

The delay in gunfire allowed the enemy time to fire back and an artillery shell hit their location.

"I got shot through the leg and back of my hands - piece in my foot, and all the stuff in my eyes," he said.

But Joe says the German soldiers were not done with him yet.

"They got to shooting at me with the anti-aircraft 20mm. There was one bullet at the head of the bed and one of them hit under the bed."

Rodgers says the medic immediately came to work on him and although those wounds may have injured him, they couldn't touch his sense of humor.

"They always had a lot of wine in the cellar. So in a little while, with that morphine and wine, I was ready to go whoop the whole German Army!" he joked.

Rodgers made it out of the battle alive, and after 59 days recuperating in a hospital in France, he was able to return home to Texas.

"By the time I got out of the hospital, the war was over," he said.

Through the laughs and the tears, Rodgers will always remember how close he was to the end that fateful day.

"It flashed through my mind that that was it. No, I'm alright, I'm gonna be alright, so I made it," Rodgers said.

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