A Forest City, Iowa, native recently retired from the Navy after 41 years of service. Captain Gary Rogeness is a 1978 Forest City High School graduate and a 1991 graduate of Prairie View A&M University. Rogeness also earned a master’s degree from Iowa State University in 1998.
Rogeness worked in a variety of roles throughout his career.”I started as a nuclear trained machinist mate,” said Rogeness. “The job involves operating complex machinery, monitoring equipment, doing repairs to mechanical equipment and supervising other sailors. After commissioning, my job involved leading sailors, driving a submarine to accomplish missions important to national security, taking care of my sailors families and furthering their education and careers. I ended my career providing advice to senior members of the Navy and government in areas of policy, defense cooperation and Navy structure to accomplish strategic goals.”
Rogeness joined the Navy for the opportunities serving provides.
“The economy was not doing so well in 1980 and I was two years out of high school with not many prospects,” said Rogeness. “I realized I needed to learn a trade and earn a living. My Uncle Bob was in the Navy when I was young and I could remember him coming home on leave in his cracker jacks and talking about fun things he was doing. I thought the Navy could be a place where I could make something of myself and serve my country.”
According to Rogeness, the values required to succeed in the military are similar to those found in Forest City.
“I learned the lesson of working hard to earn the reputation of pulling your weight and contributing to a team,” said Rogeness. “Nobody owes you anything; whatever you end up with is a direct result of what you put into it. I learned that quitting was an easy habit to get into so once you say you’re going to do something you’ll get the most out of it by being ‘all in’. Life is all about choices, if you choose to take advantage of opportunities presented, who knows how far you might get? Look at me, went from Seaman Recruit to a Chief Petty Officer, then from an Ensign to a Captain!”
Throughout their 41 year career, Rogness has served aboard USS Mahan, USS Florida, USS Hyman G. Rickover, USS Rhode Island, USS Oklahoma City and USS Cheyenne.
Rogness’ shore assignments include Naval Reserve Officer Training Unit, Iowa State University, Submarine Force Atlantic, Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, U.S. Embassy Oslo, Norway and Secretary of the Navy.
Though there are many opportunities for sailors to earn recognition in their command, community and careers, Rogness is most proud of four accomplishments.
“I am most proud of earning the rank of Chief Petty Officer, as well as, commanding a fast attack submarine that deployed to the Western Pacific and taking care of the sailors and families that I was responsible for,” said Rogness. I am also proud of serving as the Senior Defense Official to the Kingdom of Norway, representing the United States to one of our most important Allies and making a difference. Lastly, I am proud of serving as the Senior Military Advisor to the Secretary of the Navy and engaging international allies to publish the Navy’s Arctic Blueprint; a real highlight of my career.”
As a member of the U.S. Navy, Rogness, as well as other sailors, know they are a part of a service tradition providing unforgettable experiences through leadership development, world affairs and humanitarian assistance. Their efforts will have a lasting effect around the globe and for generations of sailors who will follow.
“Serving in the Navy means service to your shipmates, your command, your Navy and your Nation,” added Rogness.