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George F. Rodgers

George F. Rodgers

George F. Rodgers was a good fighter pilot and served in VF-6 for all three combat cruises.

George emerged as the squadron's Poet Laureate by immortalizing memorable events and situations in poetry. He had this natural gift of being able to see the humerous, the serious and the philosophical side of many things and put it all in poetry.

Christmas, 1943, the squadron met with our dear friends, Frank and Ethal Hoogs, at Wailiku, Maui for Christmas Dinner, at which time we joined the Hoogs family and others, in memorializing our late skipper. "Butch O'Hare.

He later participated in the 21 plane Memorial Flight of Hellcats back to Barber's Point on Dec 26, 1943.

George Rodgers, left and sitting on the running board of the old carryall on Punnene is Bobby Neel

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In Dec 1944 George managed to fall on me when we accidently slipped on a wet deck while "horsing around". This clowning incident put me out of commission for a while, as the incident cause a compound fracture of my right collar bone which during this time, George took care of some of my flying responsibilities. Good naturedly, we never let each other forget the incident.

In his younger days, George had been an Altar boy in his church; then during the War, he served as an Altar boy for the funeral of one of our young pilots, (Ens. James Lee Oliver, who lost his life in a training accident). He served again as the attending Altar boy for the Requiem Mass held for him. George was so moved that he composed the poetry used in that service.


Ensign James L. Oliver

9 June, 1944
"Greater love than this no man hath for a friend"

Death will come some quiet hour
In beloved shades, and unrevealed
Wait patiently in whatever field.
O Spring or Summer bright with flower;

And you may meet her half afraid
Of newborn love and journey far,
Or countless other modes that are
The realm beyond where souls are laid.

And think, when evening struggles free
Of distant hills and mist enshrouded sod,
You will have spoken with a God
You've waited all your life to see,

George F. Rodgers

George Rodgers with the 5th Division of VF-6 on INDEPENDENCE (CVL-22), Marcus Island Raid Sept `43

Unfortunately due to poor heath, it became necessary of him to be transferred to a hospital ship right at the end of the war.

After George regained his health he served in the post war Navy Reserve program and then in BUAIR among other things he became one of the writers of the "GRAMPAW PETIBONE" aviation safety program that appeared in NAVAL AVIATION NEWS . This beloved character with his salty comments and timely observations was the backbone of this important safety program.

- Hersch Pahl

Granpaw Petibone

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Grampaw Pettibone Passing the Word: Safety!!

Grampaw Pettibone as he attempted to deal with a potential "Belly Flopper" trying to land without wheels.

"For those who fought for it...
freedom has a flavor the protected will never know!"

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October 1, 2007