Although Rogers was only nine at the time, seeing the famed aviator provided him with plenty of motivation. “That brush with greatness inspired me at an early age to reach for the heights and ignore the consequences,” he said.
First, though, Rogers had to graduate from high school, and, after that, he began studying at the University of Oklahoma. There, he met his future wife, Esther Beth Shannon. “Beth was dating somebody else, but I was a very patient man. I set my sights on her and never gave up,” he said.
Rogers earned his degree in mechanical engineering and graduated in 1940 – Beth followed suit in 1941. Although he then hoped to study at a seminary school in Fort Worth, Texas, duty soon called – Rogers was drafted to serve in World War II.