Charles P. Rogy – Flight Officer, United States Army Air Forces

Charles P. Rogy / WWII POW made many escape attempts
Wednesday, October 09, 2002

Constant fear and amazing courage were the two things Charles P. Rogy of West Mifflin, Pennsylvania, most remembered from almost 13 months in a German prisoner of war camp during World War II.

He saw men who tried to escape shot in front of him, his niece Ellen Mooney of Munhall said. The American GIs were always afraid they might be gassed whenever they took showers.

But still, he and others constantly tried digging escape routes, scooping dirt and carrying it out in their socks.

Rogy, a B-17 flight officer and navigator, was captured with seven others from his plane in Germany in April, 1944. Through strength of character and sheer will power, all eight were able to survive until liberated in May 1945, his niece said.

Rogy, 83, died Sunday in Veteran’s Hospital, Oakland, of blood clots on his lungs due to cancer.

His niece noted his strength during his last days and said, “He was a fighter.”

Rogy was raised in Homestead and graduated from the high school there in 1937. He worked as an assistant steel shipper at the Carnegie-Illinois Steel Corp. in Homestead.

He enlisted in the Army Air Corps on September 15, 1942, and went to navigators’ school in Salem Field, Louisiana. His three brothers also served during the war and survived.

He flew seven combat missions over Germany before his plane was shot down and he and his crew were captured.

He weighed 135 pounds when captured and lost 50 pounds while a POW because they were fed so poorly, his niece said. He described his German guards as “cruel and heartless.”

But afterward he loved to talk about the war. He kept records of his service, his missions and his time as a POW and would sometimes attend reunions. “He was as sharp as a tack,” his niece said.

“Not everyone would listen to him but I did,” she said. “It’s because of him that I like history. I learned what an important role the World War II soldiers played and how many young men were sacrificed.”

Rogy received an engineering degree from the University of Pittsburgh in 1950 and worked as a metallurgical engineer for the Edgar Thomson and U.S. Steel Homestead works.

He enjoyed visiting friends and watching Pitt and Steeler games.

He is survived by a brother, John Jr. of Munhall, who is Ellen’s father.

A service was held yesterday at Savolskis-Wasik-Glenn funeral home.

He will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.


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