I believe everyone has a mentor. That person who guided you, supported you, molded you, and most importantly, you looked up too. The first mentor I had after joining the United States Marine Corps was at the time Cpl. Jason A. Rogers. I never told Cpl. Rogers I looked to him as a mentor, but he has made a huge impact of my life and my career. I was assigned to Bridge Platoon, Bridge Company, 8th Engineer Support Battalion in September, 2006. I was in the third fire team in first squad along with Cpl. Rogers. He was the assistant squad leader for the few months before deploying to Iraq. When we got in country, he was promoted to the rank of Sergeant, and became the squad leader. During the deployment, Sgt. Rogers taught me how to be the best at our job, and every other day lead guided discussions about life lessons and experiences. He would never lie to his Marines, and he always made sure we were taken care of, no matter what the circumstance. He stood up for what was right, and was firm in his decisions.
He always made the squad do everything together, and we became a family. After we returned from deployment, Sgt. Rogers was promoted to Staff Sergeant and received orders to a different unit. I was sad to see him leave because he had a unique style of leadership, and I knew I would never come across someone who inspired me the way he did. Even though he was a different unit, I took on his leadership style and instilled the same traits within my Marines. Last year on April 9th, 2011, I was deployed to Afghanistan and received news that SSgt. Rogers had been killed in the line of duty. He had only been in Afghanistan for two weeks, and it almost didn’t seem real. I knew how he inspired me, but it was not until I attended his memorial, that I saw how many lives he affected. SSgt. Rogers is gone, but will never be forgotten. He was and always will be a true mentor and his presence with live through any Marine he ever led.