NEWS | July 22, 2021

Profile in Professionalism – Chief Master-at-Arms Joe Rogers

By Mass Communication Specialist First Class (SW/AW/IW) Lawrence Davis, Navy Region Southeast Reserve Component Command Fort Worth Public Affairs

FORT WORTH, Texas (May 10, 2021) – It’s been more than 22 years since Chief Master-at-Arms Joe Rogers swore his initial oath of enlistment to become a Navy Sailor.
 
Since then, the knowledge and experience he has gained from military service, in conjunction with his civilian career as a state highway patrolman, and participation as a track and field athlete, has forged the leader he is today. Over the course of it all, there has been one common theme: his relentless desire to succeed.
 
It was a fall afternoon in October, 1998, at a Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) in Rogers’ hometown of Austin, Texas. There, 18 years young, he stood tall and proud with his right hand raised and recited the words “I, Joe Rogers, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States...”
 
He knew what he wanted and had trained for it much of his life up to that point as a member of the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps, a Navy-sponsored youth leadership development program.
 
“I was a Sea Cadet from elementary school through junior high,” said Rogers. “So, that experience exposed me at an early age to the Navy lifestyle.”
 
Rogers reported to Recruit Training Command (RTC) Great Lakes, Illinois, on July 29, 1999. He was an undesignated Seaman at the time. Rogers recalled he was determined to make something of his life.
 
Not long into his first sea-duty tour aboard USS John Hancock (DD-981), Rogers struck into the Boatswain’s Mate (BM) rating. His sea tour was cut short, however, due to the ship’s decommissioning. Rogers received orders to his next duty station at Naval Station Roosevelt Roads in Ceiba, Puerto Rico where was assigned to work as part of the base security force.

“Our job was to stand armed watches at the gate and conduct security rounds of the live impact range on the small island, Vieques,” said Rogers.
 
Rogers had found his calling at Roosevelt Roads. He submitted a rating conversion application and was selected to convert to Master-at-Arms (MA).
 
“I was already working the job of an MA,” Rogers explained. “After a while I was put in charge of the anti-terrorism program for the base. My job entailed providing security briefs to all the tenant commands.”
 
During this time, there was another interest he decided to renew despite his demanding work schedule: athletic competition.
 
Having been a track and field athlete throughout high school, Rogers was interested in finding a track team to join.
 
“Around 2003, the base MWR [Morale, Welfare, and Recreation] team hosted a Captain’s Cup competition, which I participated in and won,” said Rogers. “There was a guy there who told me that if I really wanted to compete I should sign up for USA Track & Field, which is a civilian track club. I’ve been running for them ever since.”
 
Rogers participates in several track and field events including hurdles, the 400-meter sprint, and the 200-meter and 100-meter dashes.
 
Now, at age 40, Rogers continues to challenge himself in his athletic ventures.
 
“You’re only going to be as fast as you train yourself to be,” said Rogers. “I compete in the masters division, and also in the law enforcement games. My last competition was in 2019. I won four golds [medals] in that meet.”
 
Rogers credits his successes in athletic competition and his professional life to his mindset.
 
“You just have to think positive and understand that you can push yourself beyond your perceived limits,” said Rogers.

In 2005, while assigned to the security force at Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base New Orleans, Rogers experienced another kind of challenge.
 
“I was serving as the watch commander with 10 patrolmen under my charge when Hurricane Katrina hit,” he said. “My team was made responsible for providing physical security and emergency management.”
 
He recalled his experiences in New Orleans during that time.
 
“It’s such a beautiful city, so, to see it at that time, it was the worst of humanity,” said Rogers.  “The smells, the sounds, you’re not going to forget that.”
 
In November, 2007, Rogers decided to leave the Navy, but, his hiatus was short. In February, 2008, he enlisted as a Navy Selected Reservist (SELRES).
 
“What brought me back was just my passion for the Navy,” Rogers said. “I missed it, and joining as a SELRES seemed like a good fit for me. It was the best way I could still contribute to the Navy, but also focus on my civilian life and other priorities.”
 
Currently, Rogers serves as the senior enlisted leader for Navy Reserve Naval Security Forces Fort Worth. As a civilian, he works as a state trooper for the Texas Highway Patrol.
 
“I enjoy working in law enforcement,” said Rogers. “Every day on the job, there’s a new challenge. A lot of the skills I’ve learned in the military I apply to being a trooper, and, experiences I have as a trooper, I bring that knowledge to my Sailors.”
 
When asked how he is able to find balance between two demanding professions and athletic competition, Rogers attributed his continued success to discipline.
 
“I’ve had some challenging assignments in the Navy,” Rogers said. “By working through those situations, it has taught me to be persistent and agile, and that’s the mentality I bring every day.”