Thursday, March 30, 2023

Rodger Sterling Saltzgiver, 96, of Yorktown

Rodger Sterling Saltzgiver (Amory Funeral Home)

Yorktown, VA – Surrounded by his loving family, Rodger Saltzgiver entered into eternal life the morning of November 12, 2022.

Rodger, 96 years old, lived a long and full life with his wonderful bride Jean for 55 years, his three children, and a distinguished career in the United States Air Force, spanning World War II, the Korean, and the Vietnam wars.

He was born in York County, Pennsylvania, the son of Harry E. and Esty May Saltzgiver.

Rodger enlisted in the Army Air Corps after graduating from high school and was trained as a nose gunner on the B-24 aircraft during WW II. He loved to fly and used his G.I. Bill benefits to continue flying after the war ended. He then re-enlisted after the United States Air Force was established in 1947 to fill the position as a leading technology jet mechanic. His love for aviation landed him a position as crew chief with this first aerobatic display team, the Acrojets. This team played a major role in the film “Air Cadets”, which was released in 1951.

He was stationed in Japan in 1952 during the Korean War and became crew chief for the F-94 Starfire, then advanced to become a Jet Mechanic Instructor in Amarillo, TX.

Rodger was the Flight Engineer of the first WC-130 missions in 1962. He later contributed to the highly classified mission Operation Sober Popeye with flights over the Ho Chi Minh trail during the Vietnam War. He continued C-130 missions to transport ground troops, support equipment, and flew several Angel Flight missions to Thailand.

MSGT Saltzgiver received several Meritorious Achievement medals during his Air Force career.

He continued to work as a civil servant as Postmaster at the Lee Hall post office and also volunteered his time during retirement to help others with tax preparation through VITA.

Rodger is preceded in death by his wife Jean and sister Helen Sponseller. He is survived by his children, Wendy Saltzgiver of Newport News, Wade Saltzgiver (Karen) of Hampton, and Laurie Sell of Rochester, MN, brother Eugene (Jeannie) of East Berlin, PA, and many nieces, nephews, and friends.

The family extends gratitude to the wonderful caregivers Kelly, Pauline, Deon, Rita, Bebe, and Kim who provided Rodger with compassionate and loving care.

Visitation will take place at Amory Funeral Home, Grafton, on Tuesday, November 15, 2022, from 4:00pm until 6:00pm. A memorial service will be held at Colonial Harbor on Wednesday, November 16, 2022 at 10:00am.

Interment will be in Mt. Olivet Cemetery, Hanover, PA.

In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the Wounded Warrior Project, P.O. Box 758516, Topeka, KS 66675-8516, which Rodger strongly supported.

Local arrangements by Amory Funeral Home, Grafton.

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