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Orville Rogers: Flying A-Bombs, Capturing World Records, and Growing Bolder

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb
The Truth Network Radio
September 19, 2022 3:04 am

Orville Rogers: Flying A-Bombs, Capturing World Records, and Growing Bolder

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb

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September 19, 2022 3:04 am

On this episode of Our American Stories, Orville’s story is one where the good guy finishes first. Yet his is a life story of challenge and risk, marked by tragic losses and remarkable successes.

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But now, let's hear the story, the life story, of Orville Rogers. In 1927, Lindbergh flew the first solo flight nonstop from New York landed in Paris. He made a tour of the central United States, and deliberately he circled every schoolhouse he could find, and he circled our schoolhouse. My first airplane ride, that was a fun experience. I think I was about 10 or 11 years old in Sulphur, Oklahoma. I was in the yard one day, and a plane flew over very low, and it looked like he was going to be landing, so I jumped on my bike and rode out, and sure enough, he landed.

So I went over and talked to him, and he said, yeah, I'm giving rides, $4. So I had to go back home and break my piggy bank and get the $4 out to come back and get my first airplane ride. I didn't tell my parents about it until much later.

It was a wonderful experience, and it cemented my idea of becoming a pilot. My father deserted my mother and my sister and me when I was six years old, and my mother took us back to her parents, so we grew up in the home of my grandparents, and he was a farm man. They were not very loving in an obvious way. I knew my grandfather loved me, but he never told me so.

But it worked out okay, because I eventually came to terms with the realization that that was just their way of life. As a senior at Oklahoma University, I received the impression, I thought it was from God, that I ought to be in vocational Christian service in order to really serve God the best. That was the wrong impression, but in order to prepare for whatever God had for me, I knew I had to go to the seminary, so I came to the seminary in September of 1940, and I think it was five weeks later, they held the first drawing for the draft for World War II service.

There was a giant fish boat in Washington, I think it was about five feet in diameter, that held slips of paper with numbers on them for one to a thousand. Well, it so helped me, my number was thrown out number seven, and so I heard from the draft board almost immediately. So I went down and talked to them, and I said, hey, I don't want to be in the walking army, can I enlist in the Army Air Corps?

They said sure. So I enlisted in the Army Air Corps and was accepted and had my pre-induction physical, and they didn't call me up right away, but that was God's way of turning me around from my impression that I ought to be in vocational Christian service, and told me that I could serve God as well or a whole lot better as a layman. I enlisted in the Army Air Corps November 1, 1941, five weeks before Pearl Harbor, and we heard about it one Sunday afternoon.

We got the word when they turned the radio on that Pearl Harbor had been bombed. I was in training in San Diego flying a primary trainer. After graduating from flying school, the second lieutenant pilots would be assigned to different bases.

My instructor in the advanced training school recommended that I become an instructor. So all my World War II flying career, I was in the training command instructing other students how to fly an airplane. We lost a large number of student pilots and instructor pilots to training accidents during the war. They were in such a rush to get the pilots to the front because we needed them badly there, and so the program was accelerated to the point that it really was quite dangerous. I flew B-25s for over two years instructing in the advanced phase of the flying training program, and I loved that airplane.

It was a bomber and a very effective one. At the end of the war, I was assigned to training in the B-17. I reported to my training base for B-17 training about three days after they dropped the first atomic bomb.

So then they dropped the second one, and the war was over. I went ahead and finished my training in the B-17 but never got to use it, and I was separated from the Air Corps shortly after that. In April of 1951, I was recalled to the Air Force, as they called it then. I was assigned to Carswell Air Force Base in Fort Worth flying the B-36, our primary defense weapon against an attack by Russia.

We were on call 24 hours a day. If four had been declared, we would have loaded our atom bomb in Fort Worth, Texas, flown to Goose Bay, Labrador, refueled there, and then take off from there to bomb our assigned target in Russia. The B-36 at that time was the largest airplane in the world. It was longer than a B-29 and a B-17 nose to tail. That's a lot of airplanes. We had a crew of 15 people, and I loved flying that airplane.

I had always wanted to fly the big airplanes. We had no problem with dropping a bomb, although we knew what destruction it could cause. But I think everybody in my squadron, certainly on my crew, had accepted the fact that we signed up to defend our country.

And while that possibly meant the destruction and the loss of life of many people, we were prepared mentally and psychologically in every way to accomplish that. 52 years later, in 2004, my wife and I were on a Russian cruise ship. We sailed from St. Petersburg to Moscow through the river and canal systems, and we docked on the northwest side of Moscow after stopping twice in cities en route to minister to the physical and spiritual needs of the Russian people. We had five doctors on board the ship and 10 nurses, and many of the people would be street witnessing, giving away English Bibles, Russian Bibles, children's Bibles, and literature. The day after we docked in Moscow, we had a clinic there in a schoolhouse on a site that was probably less than five miles from where my target was in 1952, if war had broken out. I'm glad we didn't have to drop the bomb to begin with, and I'm equally glad that I was able to be a part of a Christian group going to the very same area where my target was 52 years before, taking them, the Christian witness, and telling them about our Lord Jesus.

It was just a wonderful feeling to accomplish that, because instead of dropping death and destruction from above, we were carrying in the word of life on the horizontal plane, the word of life, eternal life, abundant life available in our Lord Jesus. I met my wife at Oklahoma University. I had attended my freshman year in another school, and I enrolled at Oklahoma University, so I was a sophomore and met her when she was a freshman. She was dating another boy when I first met her my first year there, and they were pretty steady. It took a year or two, but finally we became engaged. But one night I woke up in a deep, depressive frame of mind because I had dreamed that she was marrying him, and I was attending their wedding.

And that had a profound effect on me for a few days, a week or two, because I just couldn't stand the thought of losing her. The story of Orville Rogers continues, more after these messages. The classic coupe to your brand-new truck at eBayMotors.com. Let's ride! It's true! I had one that night, and I took my NerdTek ODT, and I was present and had an amazing time. Here's a little glimpse of our conversation with some of our closest friends. This episode was brought to you by NerdTek ODT Remedipant 75 milligrams.

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Let's continue with Orville Rogers' story. I always enjoyed knowing that I was delivering people to their destinations safely and comfortably. Well, I flew for Braniff for a little over 30 years, and I loved it. I would have flown for nothing, but I was glad they paid me for it. Braniff Airlines started up with a route structure that only included two cities, Oklahoma City and Tulsa. It was a single-engine airplane, but they soon graduated to the DC-3, and they were flying from Dallas to Chicago and gradually expanding. I started out on the DC-3, and I flew the Convair 340 and 440, and it was taken over by the DC-6 series. And then we had a DC-7, and then eventually got up to the DC-8, and then to the Boeing 727 for most of my flying. But I enjoyed flying the DC-8 to South America. It was a beautiful airplane. It was a long-range airplane. We flew it nonstop from New York to Buenos Aires. It was a 10-hour and 20-minute flight, and I think it was the longest nonstop flight in airline business at the time we were flying it in 1976 and 1977.

I really enjoyed that flight, but I enjoyed all of South America. I met the founder of Wycliffe, William Cameron Townsend, at our church in 1965, and I volunteered to help out with Bible translation and particularly the aviation part of it. And I realized that while I had about maybe a dozen Bibles in my house, there were people groups of the world that did not have one word of God's word in their own native language. It just felt like I could be of service in God's kingdom by helping deliver airplanes to the translators around the world who were there aiding the cause of Bible translation by the safe, efficient transportation where the roads were difficult or impossible.

Well, I delivered 46 missionary airplanes in my career. They were challenging because you don't go down to the filling station and buy a roadmap. You have to be prepared for the over-ocean flying, which means the airplane must be equipped with additional radio equipment. It must have additional fuel for the long flights, either Europe or Africa or Southeast Asia, wherever you may be going. Because you look on a globe or a map at the Pacific Ocean and you see islands scattered all around everywhere. But when you get out there and fly it, you can fly for hours and hours and never see an island. So if the radio station on that island went out or if you had difficulty with your receiver, you'd be on your own looking throughout that vast expanse of water to find that tiny little dot of an island down there.

So it's a grave concern to be able to navigate successfully. I took my first ferry flight with George in 1965. About a year or two later, they put me on their board. And I was on their board for 39 years. That's remarkable.

I can't believe it. And three or four years later, the board chairman retired and they made me chairman of the board. So I was chairman of the board for 13 of those 39 years. And it was a delight to serve God that way. And let me tell you about the climax of every missionary ferry flight.

When you taxi into the ramp, open the door and hand the keys to the airplane to the missionary pilot already there who's going to be flying that airplane in the work of Bible translation. I read a book by Dr. Kenneth Cooper when I was in Chicago on a layover from our Braniff Airways flight. And I literally read it through in almost one sitting. And it was a highly motivational book. I started running the next day and I've run a little over 42,500 miles in the last 50 years. Your feet are in remarkably good condition for a person who has run for as long as you have.

That person looks good for a man of any age. Real deep. So he has a two and a half inch expansion, which is very good. Don't let me push it out. Hold it real tight, real tight, real tight.

And that's like iron. You have very good quadricep muscle strength. At 100 years of age, you're like a man about 60. You have slowed down the aging process, as you know. There's very few people past 100 years of age who can begin to keep up with you even being alive, as you know. Yeah, my objective is to slow down as slowly as possible.

Slow down as slowly as possible. And you've proven to what I've said for years. It's fascinating to know that one can grow healthier as one grows older and not necessarily the reverse.

Who determines that? You do. Here you're 100 years of age. I'm 87 years of age, still practicing medicine every day. So we're enjoying life the fullest, and our goal for you and for me both is to live that long, healthy life the fullest and then die suddenly.

We call that squaring off the curve. And you've already passed that. But you know, as we tell people coming to our clinic, we call them getting cooperized. Find all the recommendations we give to our patients, over 145,000 patients now. If you follow recommendations for diet and weight and exercise, all the various things that we recommend, that you should live 10 years longer than the national average. That would mean you should live 87 years.

I'm already 87 trying to prove that you're way beyond that. I started running early on with a group called the Cross Country Club of Dallas, and it was competitive but in a friendly way. And I gradually outgrew the group, outaged them, and I looked around and the world records seemed to be attainable. So a little over 10 years ago now, when I was approaching 90, I looked up the world records for the one mile and the 800 meters, and I thought, maybe I can do that.

So I engaged the trainer, and he coached me on starting and breathing and pacing, and I went to Boston 10 years ago. I ran the 800 meters in world record time. I think I broke the record by about 30 seconds, but I really slaughtered the mile. I think the record was 11 minutes to some seconds, and I attacked it vigorously and finished with a time under 10 minutes. I think it was 9.57 something or other, and I'm still the only man in the world that has run a 10 minute mile after the age of 90.

I like that. In March this year, I attended the National Indoor Championship Meet near Washington, D.C. It was a track and field meet. I entered five running events ranging from 60 meters up to 1,500 meters, and I had no competition, so I got gold records just by showing up and suiting up, starting and finishing. But the icing on the cake was that I was able to set five new world records, one for each of the five events that I entered. So I now hold or have set 18 world records.

I think two or three of them have been broken, but I have set 18 world records officially. And what a story this is, Orville Rogers' story. And we'd like to thank the folks at Vision Video for giving us access to their wonderful documentary, Flying High for the Glory of God, The Orville Rogers Story. Check out their full documentary and the 1,900 more titles of uplifting family-friendly videos at visionvideo.com.

Orville Rogers' story continues here on Our American Stories. Hey, you guys, this is Tori and Jennie with the 902.1 OMG podcast. We have such a special episode brought to you by NerdTech ODT. We recorded it at iHeartRadio's 10th poll event, Wango Tango. Did you know that NerdTech ODT RemedioPant 75 milligrams can help migraine sufferers still attend such an exciting event like Wango Tango?

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Let's begin with Dr. Ken Cooper. First of all, it's not that amazing anymore. People live past 100 years.

They're becoming quite, that's quite readily known. But people past 100 years of age who are still competing athletically in running events, that is extremely unusual. One out of a million, I would say. So Orville has, he's had his problems. He was a marathon runner and all when I first met him at age 54, that's 46 years ago, on his first examination here at the Plank in 1971. I followed him every year after that, too. But what has happened is he's had some medical problems back in 1993. All of a sudden we discovered he had severe coronary disease without any chest pain whatsoever when he had a six vessel coronary bypass procedure. That was 1993. Then in 2011, he had a major stroke that occurred in 2011.

But he was the only capacity for 30 days. He said, I'm back running again. One aspect of my running is that it gives me a platform to speak a word for my Lord Jesus.

I became a Christian when I was 10 years old and I've tried to follow my Lord for 90 years now. I've run in races where people alongside me or near me would falter just a little bit as they approach the finish line, two or three or four or five yards. It seemed like they were saying to themselves, there's the finish line. I've made it. And they kind of relax and slow down a little bit.

That's not my style. I want to power through running to the very end of the tape and it served me well. A year ago in Albuquerque, I was running against a 94-year-old man and he got up. There's just the two of us in a 60 meter race and he got off to a fast start.

I don't have fast twitch muscles which enables a fast start in running. And so he was three or four yards ahead of me almost immediately. But I kept plugging away and maintaining the pace that I thought would be applicable to that distance. And he must have slowed down because I certainly wasn't speeding up, but I began gaining on him at the halfway mark. And at the finish line, I leaned forward just enough to beat him by five hundredths of one second.

The magazine came out with a statement that we had met five times after that race and I beat him every time. And I don't want to slow down at the finish line. I don't want to be disqualified by not serving my Lord well all through every day of my life.

I want to finish strong for my Lord. Don't you? I hope you enjoy life as much as I do.

I love life. My son was a marine helicopter pilot and was on a rescue mission in Vietnam in 1970 and was killed when it ran into very adverse weather conditions in the extraction process. Well, God can use any experience of life to the benefit. And one of the good things that came out of this was the realization that Curtis lived a wonderful life and he died in service for our country. And if it had to happen, that was the best way he could. My advice to anyone in a similar situation would be that God is still in control.

He knows what is happening and he is in control and he can be relied upon to supply you comfort and help anytime it's needed. My wife and I served for 13 months in Tanzania. I had a beautiful Cessna 210 flying over Tanzania, which is as big as Texas and part of New Mexico. The interesting part about that trip was when we left Honolulu, I had not explained to my wife that radio waves are a straight line, just like sunlight. And once you fly about 100 miles or so, depending on your altitude, away from your home departure station, you lose radio contact. So I was halfway to Johnston Island or so and trying to work anybody that would talk to me and nobody would talk to me.

I wanted to make a position report. And I sensed that maybe she was getting a little bit nervous about the situation because I was using a loudspeaker and she could hear the conversation. So I took off my headset and laid it down and put my bike down. I reached over and gave her a big hug and I said, Honey, when you married me, did you ever think you'd be having this much fun?

She didn't hit me. I'm free to express my life story in that manner. If my viewers understand that I'm doing it as a Christian witness, I want no glory for it.

I want no commendation for it. But I found out early in life that it would be wise to save enough money as possible and invest it so that in the future I could be a vehicle for helping God's work, bringing his kingdom to earth from heaven as he asked us to do. And so I got interested in investing. I invested in the stock market, in land and oil and gas. And God blessed in that. If people ask me, how did I do that?

I say I did not do it. God did it. And it is our privilege and I ask my wife's death to give away over $35 million to God's work. I knew that Dad flew a lot, but it never felt like he missed important things like piano recitals or football games or anything. And he's getting us back for that now. We're going to his track meets and interviews and banquets and birthdays. Every day is a gift, and I think he is the one that really epitomizes that. He knows that every day is every day, every year, and it gives us a great sense of purpose and looking toward the future. And I think that's the way he's made it from 90 to 100 for sure. I remember when he first realized he couldn't run a sub-ten minute mile anymore, and my friends in their 60s all say, I can't run a sub-ten minute mile when they're in their 60s.

They can't remember when they could run a sub-ten minute mile, so it's pretty fun. We try to keep him humble. I tell him all the time that I could do what he does and be in the newspaper the next day, too.

But the only problem is I'd be in the obituary section, and he's in the sports section. One of my big memories of my dad and my mom was looking in their bedroom and seeing them on their knees praying. It was regular, and not for show. They were prayerful people and made it just a core to their life. And they were always reading the Bible, and they prayed through the missionary prayer list, which I don't know if it bothered them. It made me kind of crazy sometimes, but they prayed for every Southern Baptist missionary on their birthday throughout the whole year. It was a pretty amazing discipline. I'm in track right now, and I just think that it's great having a grandpa that is 100 and running track. When I run, I just think about him a lot, so I just think that's great. My dad and my mom wanted to be with us on vacations.

There's a lot of people that talk to them and say, what? That's not a vacation if your kids and grandkids are there. But he started it over 30 years ago, and we go on fabulous trips every summer. And it's a job now coordinating that many people, so it's over 30 people for over 30 years going together someplace crazy.

Anywhere from the North Pole to Antarctica to Europe or Africa, but they've been an amazing way for this family to bond. I enjoy reading and studying Hebrews 12, 1 and 2, because Paul speaks there of running as being a metaphor for living. And I think I can quote it. It says, Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us cast aside every weight, and the sin which does so easily beset us, let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and his forth is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. And what a story we just heard, what a life well lived in his hundreds and still running, and running being a metaphor for life. His faith, a fundamental part of his life, the kids vision of the parents sitting in that room kneeling down and praying for other people. And we tell their stories here on this show, just as we tell everyone's stories, faith, no faith, no difference to us, beautiful stories are beautiful stories.

But he gave away $35 million that he'd made investing because he didn't think it was his. My goodness, what a story to tell by itself. And what a heart, what a generous heart. And by the way that he lived so long, you know, we do a lot of these stories about living longer and cutting down costs and living better. These are stories that the Cooper Clinic has turned us on to Ken Cooper's life work, and the work with Chuck Stetson and his family office, better living at lower costs. And my goodness, this story is a metaphor for all of those things.

Orville Rogers story here on Our American Stories. UnitedHealthcare can help you feel confident about your choices. For those eligible, Medicare Annual Enrollment runs from October 15th through December 7th.

If you're working past age 65, you might be able to delay Medicare enrollment depending on your employer coverage. It can seem confusing, but it doesn't have to be. Visit UHCMedicareHealthPlans.com to learn more. UnitedHealthcare, helping people live healthier lives. This is the start of a new era. We have an opportunity to build a better future for everyone. Combining the best of humanity in the technology, we will unleash our imagination. Everything that can be connected will be connected. We as an industry must dare to dream. So we find ourselves at a critical juncture in human history. See, touch, and experience the very latest in technology. Meet us at MWC Las Vegas September 28th through the 30th.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-25 15:28:05 / 2023-01-25 15:40:49 / 13

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