James Rodgers was born on July 10th, 1922. His parents owned a farm out of Beaumont, Texas and he grew up as an only child. James had a deep respect for his father, who had served in WWI and was a decorated veteran. Growing up, his father taught him how to live off the land, how to fish, to hunt, and most importantly, to shoot. James' father was a hero in his eyes, and this would later factor in on James' decision to enlist in the U.S. Army.
In 1938, James' father passed away. After his father passed, James' mother sold the farm despite his protests to keep it, and they moved to live closer to relatives in Dallas. James never truly forgave his mother for this. In 1940, at the age of 18, James enlisted into the U.S. Army to become an Airborne Ranger. It is unknown if he ever spoke to his mother again.
After the United States entered WWII, James conducted his tour of duty in Europe. He saw a great deal of combat over the course of his tour, and received a battlefield promotion to Sergeant after displaying a level head and a solid ability to lead men into combat. Despite having participated in numerous heroic and brutal assaults against the Germans throughout the war, James had came out from most of these engagements with only a few minor injuries. But as the end of the war drew near, James' luck seemed to run short.
According to reports written by James' superior officers, plus testimonies given by fellow brothers-in-arms, James' final combat actions in WWII were credited as valorous beyond measure and the finest example of the determination needed to win the war. The engagement had been a minor one, so not many details of said engagement were recorded and preserved. From what reports are available, we gathered that James' company had encountered a German force that pushing back against advancing U.S. troops, causing James' company to halt in their movement and dig into defensive positions. I'd like to include in my report that despite how the engagement was won, it had been a sound decision to dig in defensively on part of the company commander due to the fact that the enemy force's numbers were unknown at the time. The Germans dropped artillery on them while simultaneously charging their defenses, but the U.S. soldiers held their ground. During one such rush of Nazi troops, a German grenade found it's way into the foxhole that James had been sharing with five other members of his platoon. James was first to react, grabbing the grenade to throw it back to the Germans. As he pitched it over the lip of his foxhole, the grenade detonated and took James' left arm with it. Despite the loss of his arm James continued to fight. The loss of his arm seemed to send him into a rage, instead of incapacitating him from further combat and going into shock. Likely experiencing "Doc Holiday" syndrome, he drew his Colt 1911 .45 ACP and sprung from his foxhole, rushing the Germans. James sprinted towards the closest Nazi he laid eyes on and waited to fire until he was within range of his sidearm. They say he only paused in his charge to reload. Holstering his 1911 to free his remaining hand, he would produce a fresh magazine and insert it into the mag well, then drew and continuing his assault. Others quickly mimicked his furious charge, and soon enough the entire company had begun a suicidal assault on the Germans. James had continued his assault for several minutes before passing out from blood loss and pulled from the front lines.
As it turned out, the German force was much smaller than anticipated. They had taken a big gamble at being overly aggressive to seem as if they were a larger force with many in reserve. Some called the company extremely lucky, as their victory in this engagement likes could have been a massive failure instead, but many from the unit cockily proclaimed that luck had nothing to do with it.
Medically evacuated out of Germany, James was sent to Walter Reed Army Medical Center for rehabilitation. This was where he first met Commander Grey and was recruited for "Project Citizen".
Over the course of his service in the United States Army, James had been awarded three Purple Hearts, one Bronze Star(with Valor), and the Distinguished Service Cross. He earned a Combat Device for his Parachutist Badge, and the Combat Infantry Badge as well. His recorded rank by the end of his time in service in 1945 was Sergeant/E-5.