Felix Michael Rogers – General, United States Air Force

Courtesy of the United States Air Force

Retired January 31, 1978


General Felix Michael Rogers was commander of the Air Force Logistics Command, with headquarters at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. The command mission is to provide worldwide technical logistics support to all Air Force active and Reserve force activities, Military Assistance Program countries, and designated U.S. Government agencies.

General Rogers was born in Somerville, Massachusetts, in 1921. He graduated from Newton High School, Newtonville, Massachusetts, in 1939; attended the University of Virginia from July 1947 to August 1949; and received a bachelor of science degree in military science from the University of Maryland in 1952. He is a graduate of the National War College.

He enlisted as a private in April 1942, became an aviation cadet in August 1942, and completed pilot training and received a commission as a second lieutenant at Yuma, Arizona, in 1943. During World War II, General Rogers served as a P-39 pilot with the 353d Fighter Squadron at Hamilton Field, California. He moved with the squadron to the European Theater of Operations, flew P-51 aircraft and became squadron commander. He is a fighter ace, credited with 12 enemy aircraft while flying from bases in England, Italy and France.

He returned to the United States in January 1945 and was assigned to flying duties in fighter aircraft until November 1945 when he became commandant of troops at Hunter Field, Ga. Between September 1946 and June 1947, he served as flight commander, operations officer, and commander of the 77th Fighter Squadron, 20th Fighter Group, at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C. He next was a student at the University of Virginia under the
Air Force Institute of Technology program.

In August 1949 General Rogers was transferred to Headquarters U.S. Air Force as an intelligence staff officer in the Directorate of Intelligence. He attended the language course at Lacaze Academy in Washington, D.C., from October 1952 to June 1953, in preparation for attaché duties.

General Rogers served as assistant air attaché in Madrid, Spain, from June 1953 to February 1957. He then returned to Headquarters U.S. Air Force as chief of the Current Intelligence Branch in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, Operations. In 1958 he was transferred to the Organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff as director of current intelligence, J-2, and in August 1960 entered the National War College. In July 1961 he was assigned to the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense with duty station at the State Department.

General Rogers served as secretary of the Air Force Council in the Office of the Vice Chief of Staff from May 1962 until February 1963, and then as director of the  Secretariat, Air Force Council Designated Systems Management Group, Air Staff Board.

He was assigned to Air Force Systems Command as assistant deputy chief of staff, development plans in September 1966, and became deputy chief of staff, development plans in August 1968.

General Rogers served as senior member, United Nations Command, Military Armistice Commission, Korea, from July 1970 to August 1971. He assumed the position of deputy chief of staff for technical training at Air Training Command Headquarters in August 1971. He became vice commander of Air Training Command in November 1972.

In November 1973, General Rogers was appointed commander of Air University at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. In this position, he directed the professional military education programs for both officers and noncommissioned officers to meet the requirements of the Air Force. He became commander of AFLC in August 1975.

His military decorations and awards include the Distinguished Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Silver Star, Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Distinguished Flying Cross with oak leaf cluster, Bronze Star Medal, and Air Medal with 20 oak leaf clusters. His foreign decorations include the Order of Aeronautical Merit (Spain), and the order of National Security Merit (Republic of Korea).

His hometown is Newton, Massachusetts.

General Rogers was promoted to the grade of general effective September 1, 1975.

The General's wife is buried in Section 30, Grave 668, Arlington National Cemetery.  The General survives her.

F. Michael Rogers, a retired Air Force general, says he thinks he knows what well-heeled civilians want when it comes to air travel. He is putting his idea to the test today when MGM Grand Air, a luxury airline with a glitzy name, begins transcontinental service from Los Angeles. Each of the airline's three Boeing 727s has just 33  overstuffed seats, their remodeled cabins resemble cocktail lounges and, according to Rogers, the airline's chief executive, ”We offer a service you can't get anywhere else.”

MGM Grand Air is owned by Kirk Kerkorian, the reclusive financier who once controlled Western Airlines and the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas, since renamed Bally's after its sale to Bally Manufacturing last year. Kerkorian has committed $20 million in start-up funds for the airline, which so far is the only business operated by his new company, MGM Grand Inc. Kerkorian plans to sell shares in the company this fall.

Since MGM Grand Air was proposed last December, it has faced a number of obstacles. For one thing, the city of El Segundo has filed court papers trying to halt its flights from Los Angeles International Airport's Imperial terminal because of aircraft noise. On  another front, federal regulators told MGM Grand Air to scale down its plans because it lacked financing for a proposed flight to London. But US airline industry experts say MGM Grand Air's biggest challenge will be simply to keep flying. Since the industry was deregulated in 1978, every luxury airline started has failed.

The most notable failure was Regent Air, which treated passengers to gourmet meals on fine china for $1,620 one-way between Los Angeles and Newark, New Jersey. That Los Angeles airline suspended service last spring after five years of losses. Rogers, president of Regent between 1982 and 1984, said MGM Grand Air is different. The new airline is working closely with travel agents and is charging competitive fares, about $800 one-way between Los Angeles International and John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. Besides, Rogers said, Regent was hampered by serious regulatory problems and a severe lack of cash. Federal regulators delayed licensing Regent for two years because its owners, casino operators Stuart and Clifford Perlman, had been linked to alleged organized crime figures by gaming regulators in New Jersey. While Regent awaited its operating certificate, the luxury airline paid millions for a contractor to operate its flights. “Regent was doomed from the start,” Rogers said.

Terry Christensen, an MGM Grand Air director and head of Kerkorian's private investment company, Tracinda Corp., said the small luxury airline may eventually be used to link MGM Grand Inc. hotels and casinos with major airports. According to a preliminary prospectus filed by MGM Grand Inc., stock will be offered to the former shareholders of the company that owned the hotel in Las Vegas. Proceeds would be used to acquire and develop casinos and hotels and to fund the airline. It would also be used to repay Kerkorian for his investment in MGM Grand Air. Christensen said Kerkorian has not yet picked any locations for the new hotels or casinos. ”We're looking at locations in the United States and in Europe,” he said. For now, MGM Grand Air is targeting the transcontinental business traveler.

Rogers said he believes that the airline can attract travelers from overseas who fly into New York or Los Angeles on a foreign carrier, then switch to a domestic carrier to reach their final destination. But some industry analysts question MGM Grand Air's strategy. For one thing, the airline will have a limited flight schedule, with just two departures from Los Angeles daily. “I doubt many people will adjust their schedules to fly on MGM Grand Air,” Morten Beyer, president of the Avmark airline consulting firm in Arlington, said. MGM Grand Air does not expect to make money anytime soon. According to a filing with the Transportation Department, the airline expects to lose $3.9 million during its first 21 months of operation. It needs to sell 27 of its 33 seats on every flight to break even, Rogers said.

Probably the biggest thing the airline has going for it is Kerkorian, an experienced airline executive and financier with a talent for making money. “I would think that if anyone can pull it off, Kerkorian can,” consultant Beyer said.


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