CWTP Thomas Sprugeon Rogers

Unknown Sailor

CWTP Thomas Sprugeon Rogers

Thomas Spurgeon Rogers had retired from the Navy by the time of the spring 1940 Census. He was living in Birmingham, Alabama with his wife, Willie Marie Crow Rogers, and their 19-year-old son, Doctor Thomas Rogers.

He remained in the Navy Reserve, though, and was recalled that summer. By the end of September 1940 he was aboard the U.S.S. Arizona. Mr. Rogers was a watertender and chief petty officer when he was killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941.

The Arizona’s Report of Changes through Dec. 31, 1941, lists him as part of the Fleet Reserve, and a footnote says he was USNR, but today the National Park Service at Pearl Harbor says he had returned to regular service – USN.

Mr. Rogers was born in Jasper, Alabama  35 miles northwest of Birmingham on Sept. 9, 1892 according to Navy records. His father, John Wesley, was a Baptist minister. HIs mother in the 1900 Census was identified as Ellen Barnard Rogers, though she might have been his step-mother. Records are unclear, but the woman who might have been his birth mother, Margaret Pittman Rogers, died in 1895.

By early 1900 there were four daughters and two sons ages 20 to 7. Thomas was the youngest. The family lived in Carbon Hill, population 830, about 50 miles northwest of Birmingham.

Mr. Rogers enlisted on Dec. 8, 1913 in Atlanta, Georgia. He  married Willie on March 24,1919 at Calvary Baptist Church in Birmingham. 

On January 11, 1922 in Charleston, South Carolina, he was honorably discharged as a chief watertender from the U.S.S. McCormick, a new destroyer. At the time he had been earning $137.12 per month and had a tattoo on his right upper shoulder: Rock of Ages; on his right forearm: IN MEMORY OF MOTHER; on his left upper arm: a shield, eagle, and 2 flags; and on his left forearm an eagle and the words LIBERTY.

Two days later on the U.S.S. Hartford, a three-masted steamer commissioned in 1859 and captained by, among others David Farragut, the briefly civilian Mr. Rogers re-enlisted for four years. Willie remained at their home in Townly, Alabama eight miles west of Jasper.

In 1941 their son graduated from Auburn University – possibly before the father was recalled to service.


Sources: The Knoxville (Tennessee) News-Sentinel;; Census; Navy muster roll; Alabama marriage license. This profile was researched and written on behalf of the U.S.S. Arizona Mall Memorial at the University of Arizona.

NOTE: If you are a family member related to this crew member of the U.S.S. Arizona, or have additional information, pictures or documents to share about his life or service to our county please contact us through our FAMILY MEMBER SUBMISSION FORM