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Joseph Rodgers


Date and Place of Birth: September 18, 1924 Millsboro, PA
Date and Place of Death:    October 10, 1943 off coast of Salerno, Italy
Baseball Experience: Minor League
Position: Infield
Rank: Seaman Second Class
Military Unit: US Navy
Area Served: Mediterranean Theater of Operations

Joseph W. Rodgers, the son of  Mr. and Mrs. Sylvester D. Rodgers, was born in Millsboro, Pennsylvania, and raised at Reedsville, a small community in Kishacoquillas Valley, Pennsylvania. Rodgers was an excellent ballplayer at Reedsville High School and was the shortstop with the Reedsville American Legion junior team in 1940 and 1941.

Following graduation in 1942, he signed with the Hornell Pirates of the Class D PONY League but made only a handful of appearances. In 1943, he reported for duty with the Navy on June 28. Upon completion of his basic training in August, Seaman Second Class Rodgers served in the Mediterranean Theater aboard the destroyer USS Buck (DD-420). In September 1943, the Buck supported the Allied landings at Anzio. While on patrol off the coast of Salerno, Italy, on October 9, the Buck was torpedoed by the German submarine U-616. The destroyer flooded quickly and sank within four minutes and a severe underwater explosion killed and wounded many sailors in the water. Ninety-seven crew members were rescued. Rodgers was among the 163 that did not survive. His body was never recovered and he is memorialized at the Sicily-Rome American Cemetery in Nettuno, Italy.














1942 Hornell PONY D - - - - - - - - -


USS Buck (DD-420)

The destroyer USS Buck (DD-420)

Thanks to Astrid van Erp for help with information for this biography.

Date Added February 12, 2012 Updated August 2, 2017

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