John Thomas Rogerson (February 10, 1896 – March 21, 1983) was born in Bayport, New York, and attended Patahogue High School. When the United States entered World War I, Rogerson was studying at the International YMCA College, now called Springfield College. Eager to serve the allied cause, Rogerson left school after his sophomore year and went to Canada, where he enlisted in the Royal Flying Corps. That same year, he traveled to England as a flying instructor in Canada’s air squadron. During that time, his commanding officer was Britain’s famous pilot Col. Billy Bishop. Rogerson remained with the Canadian air force, later absorbed into the British, until 1923, when he returned to the United States. From 1924 to 1925, he flew across Cuba as a barnstormer. During World War II, Rogerson flew with the Air Transport Command. Among his passengers were General Dwight D. Eisenhower, General Joe Stillwell, Field Marshall Sir John Gill, and Humphrey Bogart, who was performing for troops in the China-Burma-India theater. Eventually he earned the title of master pilot with Pan American Airways, standing fourth in pilot seniority in the Pan Am World Airways system, after having flown twenty-thousand hours. In that same period, which spanned both World Wars, he made seventy-five Atlantic crossings, including the first mid-Atlantic survey flight for Pan American from Miami to Morocco. Rogerson retired in 1956.
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