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1937 Roger 2024

Roger O'Dwyer

May 25, 1937 — March 22, 2024


Roger O’Dwyer passed away on Mar 22, 2024, at the age of 86 after a long battle with cancer. Roger is survived by his wife of 65 years Carole, his sons Brian, Michael and Sean and his daughter Kathleen. He was preceded in death by his son Kevin. He was blessed with 11 grandchildren; Daniel, Erin and Kienan (Kevin’s Children);Brendan and Ayla (Brian’s children), Rachel and David (Kathleen’s children); Roger and Rory (Michael’s children) as well as Mika and Kylee (Sean’s children). He has one step great grandson Lincoln and another on the way.

Roger was born on May 25, 1937 in Jamaica (Queens) New York the son of immigrants; Roger O’Dwyer who was born in Cork, Ireland and Katherine Weir who was born in Edinburgh, Scotland. He had two older sisters Peggy and Mary, and an older brother Robert in his family. He grew up on the streets of New York City and Long Island during his youth surrounded by his family and extended family. Roger loved to hunt and fish and spent time outdoors when he could, he passed those values onto his children as well. He was a bright student and went on to earn a Bachelor Degree in Electrical Engineering from Villanova University in 1958, a Masters Degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Alabama Tuscaloosa 1974 and an MBA from Saint Edward's University in Austin, Texas. He was an avid learner his entire life and instilled that virtue on his children and grandchildren. He believed that Education was the one thing that could never be taken away from you and that it was a great leveler in Society.

Roger entered the Marines shortly after graduating from Villanova University in 1958 and graduated from Boot Camp to enter the Marine Reserves. He later switched military branches and enlisted into the Army where his abilities were recognized leading to his attending Officer Candidate School in Fort Sill, OK. He graduated and was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in August of 1959. Shortly after his commissioning he returned to Wheeling, WV to marry his wife Carole on Sept 12th, 1959. They embarked on their life together in the Army which meant raising a family while moving quite often to where the Army sent them. He was assigned to the Signal Corps and that led to many postings in the United States and Overseas during his 25 year military career.

Roger was stationed at Ft Gordon, GA for 2 years where his son Kevin was born. Later, Roger went to Airborne School in 1961 and his son Brian was born in that same year. The family was sent overseas to Germany for 2 years and his daughter Kathleen was born in 1963 in Germany. They then went to Ft Hood for the first time after returning from Germany. His son Michael was born in 1965 in Fort Knox, Kentucky. They moved to Ft Bragg and Roger was deployed to the Dominican Republic in 1965 and Roger spent time there and in other parts of South/Central America helping the Armed Forces in those countries stop the spread of Cuban backed insurgencies. The family next moved to Virginia while Roger worked in the Pentagon supporting communications with troops in Vietnam. Roger deployed to Vietnam several times working on A-teams with Green Beret units throughout the country during his time in Vietnam. During the Tet Offensive the family received a scare when he was out of contact for a month but he walked out of the jungle with fellow soldiers into Hue City unharmed as the fighting waned in that city. His son Sean was born in Virginia in 1968 the last of the children.

After Virginia, Roger was stationed in Fort Dix, NJ for two years where he commanded a satellite communications site in Lakehurst, NJ. In 1972 the Army sent Roger to Tuscaloosa, Alabama to get his Masters Degree in Electrical Engineering, he graduated with a Masters Degree in Electrical Engineering of Radar Systems . In 1974 the family returned to Ft Hood, TX for the second time and Roger began working on advanced communications systems for the Army used by Artillery units. Roger deployed to Europe for a short time in 1979 in support of NATO and then returned to Ft Hood. He commanded the 57th Signal Battalion and was XO of the 3rd Signal Brigade until his retirement in 1982 after 25 years of service.

After retiring, Roger worked at Lockheed Martin on several defense projects in Austin, TX. Roger was the lead program manager for the Naval Cruise Missiles guidance systems and he brought the Cruise Missile Systems into active service aboard the Battleships they were deployed on by the Navy, completing the shakedown cruises for those systems himself. Roger also worked on the Army’s first drone system, the Aquila drone in the mid 1980’s and although it did not enter service it was a progenitor of things to come. He was a skilled leader of men and made sure the projects he led were successful.

His final work at Lockheed was at the mythical Skunk Works where he worked on the F22 fighter development and other secret projects for the Defense Department. Roger retired from Lockheed and went back to Copperas Cove to live with Carole while his children started families of their own across Texas. Roger was active in the Knights of Columbus, Exchange Club, and other civic organizations throughout his life. Roger served several terms on the Copperas Cove City Council, CCISD School Board and eventually was elected the Mayor of Copperas Cove. He thought it was important to serve and strive to make the World a better place, even after the military service he gave to this Country.

In 2011 he and Carole built their dream retirement home on property they owned in the Lomas Rodando development in Kempner, Texas south of Copperas Cove. He continued to stay active in local politics serving on the Kempner Water Supply Board. He was a staunch supporter of 12 step treatment programs and believed in helping those with addictions lead a better life. He sought the best for everyone around him and worked to help people achieve that goal.

Roger served this Country his entire adult life and never complained about the hardships it presented him and his family. He believed in America as the beacon of Democracy and Freedom for the entire World and Roger gave all he had to protect her, often at a great cost to himself. He was a soldier to the core and was thankful he had the chance to serve his Country as long as he did. It was a great honor to him to have served the rest of us all his life.

The commendations that Roger earned in the service of his Country were:

Legion of Merit, Bronze Star with one Oak Leaf Cluster, Meritorious Service Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster, Air Medal, Joint Services Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Overseas Service Ribbon with Numerals 1, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Medal of Peace (Brazil), Vietnam Service Medal with 4 Bronze Service Stars, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Palm, Parachutist Badge.

During his years of service, Roger attended the Signals Officer Basic Course, Radio Systems Officer Course, Airborne Course, Armor Officer Associate Career Course, Nuclear Weapons Employment Officer Course, Jumpmaster Course and the Command and General Staff College.

Roger was a Comrade to his fellow soldiers, a loving Husband to his wife and a caring Father to his Children and Grandchildren. He was a lifelong Catholic and devout in his beliefs. He cared dearly for this Country and for those men and women who served in the Military supporting them every chance he could. He valued Freedom and he knew well what the cost of that Freedom for this Country could be, everything up to and including his life.

Roger will be sorely missed by his family and friends but most of all by his wife of 65 years Carole. He was the best of us in many ways and his service to this Country left a mark that not everyone will ever know about but it is there nonetheless. He was a gregarious and friendly person and will be remembered by his friends and family long after he is gone.  

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Tuesday, April 2, 2024

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