Bertram Joseph Rodgers was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on March 19, 1894. His long and distinguished naval service began with his appointment to the U. S. Naval Academy in 1912. He was commissioned Ensign in June 1916. From there he went to serve aboard the battleship USS SOUTH CAROLINA in the Atlantic Fleet during WW1. He then served aboard the submarine H-4 and commanded the USS H-8 and the R-8. Next, he served as Engineer and repair Officer at the submarine base, Coco Solo in the Canal Zone. He served as the Executive Officer aboard the USS V-3 which was later named the USS BONITA. In 1927, after instruction in Lighter-than-air craft, he was designated Naval Aviator [LTA] and served on the airships LOS ANGELES, AKRON and MACON.
In 1934 he assumed command of the destroyer USS BLAKELY followed by duty as Port Captain, Balboa, Panama Canal Zone; Commanding Officer of the destroyer leader USS SELFRIDGE: as assignment to the War Plans Division, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Washington, DC; and duty at Headquarters, Commander in Chief, US Fleet, Washington, DC.
On January, 1943 he assumed command of the cruiser USS SALT LAKE CITY where he was awarded the Navy Cross for extraordinary heroism in action against enemy Japanese forces. In the Fall of 1943 he was assigned duty as Senior United States Planning Officer of the staff of the Supreme Allied Commander, Southeast Asia, as a Commodore. For his service in this assignment he was awarded the Army Legion of Merit.
He assumed duty in April, 1944 as Commander of Task Group Two, Eighth Amphibious Force assisting in the planning for and invasion of Southern France. Task Group Two was later re-designated Amphibious Group ELEVEN, EIGHT Fleet which was soon after transferred to the Pacific Theater and under his command participated in the Iwo Jima and Okinawa operations.
In February, 1946, he assumed command of Amphibious Group THREE of the SEVENTH Fleet. As commander of Amphibious Group ONE, Pacific Fleet he participated in the first full scale peace time amphibious training exercises conducted off the coast of Southern California.
On April 2, 1948, he reported as Commander Amphibious Forces, Pacific Fleet. In February, 1950, he became Commandant of the Twelfth Naval district, with additional duty as Commander Naval Base, San Francisco, California. In March, 1954, he was assigned as Commander naval Forces, Germany and in November, 1955, he became President of the Permanent General Court Martial, Twelfth Naval district. On April 1, 1956, 40 years and two months after his commissioning as ensign in the United States navy, he was transferred to the retired list of the US Navy as a Vice Admiral.
Among his many decorations, Vice Admiral Rodgers was awarded the Navy Cross, the Distinguished Service Medal with Gold Star, Army Legion of Merit, and the Navy Unit Commendation Ribbon with Star.
He was predeceased by his wife, Marie Fischer Rodgers in 1981, and is survived by three sons: Bertram Joseph Jr., Paul Stephen, and James Richard; one daughter: Mrs. E. Rodgers Casey; and 13 grandchildren.
Admiral and Mrs. Rodgers had lived in Coronado for 21 years. He was a member of the Sacred Heart Holy Name Society and the Navy League of the US.
Admiral Rodgers died of a heart failure on Wednesday, November 30, 1983 at Coronado Hospital, in Coronado, CA. His Funeral Mass was held on December 5th at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Coronado. He is being buried at sea on this occasion in accordance with his wishes.