Moose Cocks and Damn Dangerous Leprechauns

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Moosecocks and Damn Dangerous Leprechauns

David Reeder
Images shamelessly appropriated from Taylor Lange Photography, Firelance Media, Rat Mountain Photography, Triple Bravo, assorted ne’er-do-wells and a rogues gallery of miscreants from across Facebook. 

Last week life gave us all a moose cock when we lost Patrick A. Rogers. Many of you will have seen memories and respectful eulogies posted over the last ten days as friends and peers mourned their loss and paid respects. Many of you did not. It’s for you latter folk we’re publishing this article. The people close to him already know what an outstanding human being he was.

I debated about writing a tribute like this. The last thing I wanted to do was throw out platitudes or seem falsely melodramatic. I didn’t know Pat as well as most of my peers. Fact is, I never actually met him face to face. Sometimes I’d forget that myself. We talked at length, e-mailed back and forth, and messaged on Facebook. Although I never laid eyes on him we had some great conversations.

Great conversations.

I came to develop a tremendous respect for the man, his abrasive candor, his knowledge and also his work ethos when it came to being On The Job. He was an old-school cop of the kind that was already disappearing when I was a rookie. There cannot be more than a handful of them left now, and sadly there won’t be any more of them. Not in today’s society, not in today’s political climate, and that’s a shame.

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I realize as I reflect on this that he was actually more of an influence on me after he went to his reward than before. Strange I know, but true. Watching the response to news of his passing, I can’t imagine someone not wanting to be a better man.


How could you not want to leave such a legacy? Not from a sense of grandiosity or self-importance, mind you, but…fathom the profound influence and charisma required to command that much respect and affection, to make that kind of difference in the world. Some people want to win the Nobel Peace Prize or earn a Pulitzer. I hope to have done as right by people as Pat Rogers did, albeit in my own way. I have that sort of regard for the accomplishments of very few men other than my father. Pat was one.

For those of who haven’t had the chance to read his background, Pat Rogers was a Marine and NYPD cop for many decades. As far as the caliber of his character, one of the greatest tributes to him was (and I’m paraphrasing) someone who mentioned how hard it was for him physically to continue teaching all day — but that he did it anyway, not because he needed the money, but because he needed to contribute and be of service.

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I’m not sure there was ever any quit or retire or take it easy in him.

Rogers’ lifetime of service started early. Born in Brooklyn right after WWII (his father served in the 10th Mountain Division), he was only seventeen when he attended ITR in October 1963 at Camp Geiger. He went to Vietnam with 3rd MARDIV, continuing to serve in both the active and reserve components for decades. He was a Corrections Officer and then a Police Officer in New York City in numerous billets and was decorated 54 times, including the Medal of Valor. He was the Rangemaster at Gunsite for twelve years, the founder and HMFIC of EAG Tactical since ’89 (the year I enlisted), a prolific writer and one of the most inventively, beautifully profane men I’ve ever known.

Taylor Lange Pat Rogers 6

A freefall parachutist back in its early years, he was the 464th person in the US to make 1,000 freefall jumps, the 203rd to make over 2,000, the 131st person in the US to accrue over twelve hours in freefall, the 881st person to complete a 4-stack and the very first person to hand out a Moosecock Award.

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He was a storied instructor, gave his dog ice cream or peanut butter when she didn’t feel good and said when discussing police work, that he missed the guys and the job but not The Job, and that he’d been in it at “the right time.”

The first weapon he ever fired was as a young boy. It was his uncle’s 1946 NYPD service revolver, a pre Model 10 M&P. His uncle got out of the Army in ’45, joined the NYPD in ’46 and shot a robber his first day on the street with it. The significance of that story as it relates to the man lies on several levels.

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He took his first Cooper class in 1985, shooting an M14 with M118 ammunition, but still managing to take high shooter despite everyone else using Remington 700s and M70s optics; he was a Marine for so long that he attended JWTC at Ft. Sherman twice, over two decades apart.

He was a dog lover, a bellicose little instructor whose passion was inversely proportional to his size and, improbably, my friend.

Pat called me at an obscenely late (or early) hour a couple of days before he died. I slept through the phone ringing, then got sidetracked the next day and failed to call him back. After that, it was no longer possible to do so. That bothered me, but only for a little while. I’m pretty sure he’d tell me, in that whistling voice, to get the fuck over it.

A Bad Missed Call

His delivery would be more creative, but that would be the gist. Still, I’ll always wonder what our conversation would have been about.

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The last thing he ever said to me was, quite fittingly, about gunfighting, tactics and worshipping at the altar of just one doctrine. He’d read and liked an article I’d written and thankfully felt strongly enough about to give me a shout. “None of it’s perfect, Dave,” he said. “None of it is wrong. It is, what it is, when it is. Anyway, just wanted to send kudos.”

I will treasure his approbation and remember those words.

Go easy, sir. See you on the other side. I look forward to meeting your pack.

Certior in Coelo Domus.

Conversations

Apologies for the quality of the video — I’m a writer, not a videographer, and that just barely.

Pat Rogers - Shooting Illustrated

“It’s enough for you to do it once for a few men to remember you. But if you do it year after year, then many people remember you and they tell it to their children, and their children and grandchildren remember… And if it’s good enough, it will last as long as there are human beings.” Ernest Hemingway

There’s more here on MASF if you’re interested.

Primary & Secondary put this video tribute together if you have time to watch it.

Marine Corps Heritage Foundation

Pat Rogers Memoriam

Please be so kind as to give the Tactical Tyrion series your attention.
Sandor Clegane Machine-Gunner -Tactical Tyrion
The Tactical Hound: a damn dangerous machine gunner who loves chicken.

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One thought on “Moose Cocks and Damn Dangerous Leprechauns

  • June 9, 2016 at 11:14 am
    Permalink

    Very well written. To me Pat was one of my favorite Instructors, a Mentor, but most of all a Good Friend. I was lucky to have managed to attend his AK Familiarization Course just a few weeks before his passing. It was the first course I managed to take after my surgery last year. I had to ask Pat if he thinks I could safely attend that course. As always, he encouraged with his response, “This will be a good class for you to break into Brother!”

    I still cannot believe I will never be able to attend a course that is run by a Leprechaun. But I am very thankful for having had the opportunity to attend a half dozen of his courses over the past 8-years. To paraphrase what someone once said, “We are that much richer for each person we meet.” I’m one of the wealthier men for having met Pat. God Bless Him!!

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