Members of American Legion Post 25 Newport NH were honored to participate in a March 28 “We Honor Veterans” program for 93-year-old WWII Navy veteran Joseph Robert Rogers originally from Somerville, MA. Joe is the proud father of three daughters and has five grandchildren and four great grandchildren. His daughter Elise Bundy and her husband Gerry were present and took part in the ceremony.
Honors were conducted by Lake Sunapee Region VNA & Hospice (LSRVNA), a "We Honor Veterans" partner since 2011, and took place at The Seasons at Summercrest, an assisted living community in Newport where Joe currently resides. John Monroe-Cassel, LSRVNA Chaplain, opened the program with thanks to Joe and all veterans for their service. Maureen Healey, LSRVNA Social Worker, presented Joe with a pin, star from a retired flag, certificate of appreciation and memorial book. Kelly Rochford, LSRVNA Massage Therapist, presented Joe with a picture of the ship he served on in the Pacific.
Members of the American Legion read letters from President Harry Truman and Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal, sent to Joe at the time of his separation from active duty, thanking him for his dedication and commitment in service to our country. Post 25 also presented Joe with an American Legion cap and American flag in recognition of his service. Joe served aboard USS Eldorado CGA-11. In November 1944, she sailed to Pearl Harbor and there became the flagship for Vice Admiral Richmond K. Turner, Commander, Amphibious Forces, Pacific. Joseph served aboard the Eldorado during this time and participated in the following operations:
- On January 27, 1045, after rehearsal landings in Hawaii, the command ship sailed for the Marianas and further preparations for the assault landing on Iwo Jima. The ship also carried General Holland Smith, USMC and his staff, and Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal and his party when it sailed from Saipan on February 16 for Iwo Jima. The Eldorado lay off Iwo Jima from February 19 to March 9, its distinguished passengers directing operations ashore and afloat. It served as headquarters for war correspondents and broadcast directly from the beachhead to the people at home through its facilities. One of these correspondents was Joe Rosenthal of the Associated Press, who took the famous American flag-raising photo on Mount Suribachi. Through the critical period of the bloody and arduous operation, the ship carried out its duties as flagship and operations center with effective thoroughness.
- The Eldorado arrived at Guam on March 12, 1045 and embarked Lieutenant General Simon B. Buckner, Commanding General of the 10th Army, then after rehearsals at Leyte in the Philippines, sailed off to the Hagushi Beaches, Okinawa for the initial invasion landings on April 1. The ship carried out with equal distinction the same type of duties it had performed at Iwo Jima. Since both the commander Air Support Control Unit, and the Force Fighter Director Officer were embarked, Eldorado's combat information center was the central unit in the air defense against the day and night air raids. General Buckner and his staff debarked on April 18 to establish headquarters on the island itself, and until the ship's departure on May 18, it was visited by several distinguished guests, including Admirals Chester W. Nimitz, William F. Halsey, Jr., and Raymond A. Spruance, and the noted war correspondent Ernie Pyle.
Joe served in the Navy from 1943-1946 and received three medals during that time: the WWII Victory Medal, American Theatre Medal and Asiatic Pacific Medal. Following his military service, he went to college on the GI Bill. He attended Salem State College for his undergraduate degree, received a graduate degree from Tufts University, and was a high school history teacher and principal in Ipswich, MA for more than 25 years.
"We Honor Veterans" is a program of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization in conjunction with the Department of Veterans Affairs designed specifically for hospice teams to meet the unique needs of veterans. It reaches respectful inquiry, compassionate listening and grateful acknowledgement. For more information, contact Lake Sunapee Region VNA & Hospice at 603-526-4077.