By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Former Willamette University student-athlete Andy Rogers '43, the last surviving member of the Bearcats' 1941 Pearl Harbor football team, was recognized for his contributions during World War II in a speech on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. Kurt Schrader (Ore.) on Thursday, June 29. Rogers, now 96 years old, was with the Bearcat football team when Willamette played the University of Hawaii on Dec. 6, 1941, with Hawaii winning 20-6. Rogers was one of many Willamette players, coaches and fans who helped the military in the aftermath of Japan's attack on Dec. 7.
Players and coaches helped guard Punahou School for the next 10 days. The school was used as a location to store military equipment. Other members of the Willamette group helped as nurses' aides.
After returning to Oregon, Rogers joined the U.S. Marine Corps. He was an infantry platoon leader for the 3rd Marine Division. He was involved in the final phase of recapturing Guam and conducted twenty observation missions as an air observer at the Battle of Iwo Jima.
"Andy Rogers is a living example of the university motto, 'Not unto ourselves alone are we born'," said former Director of Athletics Dave Rigsby '00, who has worked with university and government officials to recognize Rogers and his teammates. "The selflessness of Andy and his teammates has provided a powerful model for all of us to follow in service to our communities."
The story of Rogers and his teammates has been featured in numerous television programs, newspapers and other publications. The entire 1941 Bearcat football team was inducted into the Willamette Athletics Hall of Fame in 1997. The team was 8-2 overall and won the Northwest Conference title with a 218-7 scoring margin and an undefeated conference record.