On November 1, 1968, Charles Rogers of Fayette County earned the Medal of Honor for his actions during a battle in the Vietnam War. The 40-year-old Rogers had previously received Army ROTC training at West Virginia State College (now University).
In the early hours of November 1, he was commanding an army infantry battalion near the Cambodian border. The fire-support base he was protecting was under attack from heavy shelling and a ground wave assault.
Lieutenant Colonel Rogers charged through a hail of fragments and rallied his artillerymen to man their howitzers. Already wounded, he led a small counterattack force and was badly wounded a second time. Nevertheless, he refused medical treatment and reestablished and reinforced his battalion’s defensive positions. In the face of another ground attack, Rogers directed artillery fire on the enemy and repelled the charging forces.
He was awarded the Medal of Honor at a ceremony at the White House in May 1970. He remains the highest ranking African-American to receive the medal. Charles Rogers remained in the Army, attaining the rank of major general. He died in Germany in 1990 at age 61.