View Full Version : Called back to duty: Marine's training to become a trooper now in jeopardy

10-02-08, 08:56 AM
Called back to duty: Marine's training to become a trooper now in jeopardy
by Bryn Mickle | The Flint Journal
Wednesday October 01, 2008, 10:59 PM

SWARTZ CREEK, Michigan -- Nikki Rodgers is ready for her husband to have a new career.

After watching him spend four years in the Marines, Rodgers was happy when Jeffery Rodgers was accepted as one of 101 recruits to join the Michigan State Police, the only one from Genesee County.

But eight weeks into his training, the couple is looking at the possibility that those plans will be derailed by the war in Iraq.

Last Thursday, Nikki Rodgers opened her apartment door to find an overnight letter on the doorstep.

She knew immediately what it was when she saw the Department of Navy letterhead.

The Marines wanted him back.

"I started shaking and just lost it," she said.

Not only does the letter mean she may have to say good-bye to her husband for two years, there are questions about his future with the state police.

The Marines have ordered Rodgers to go to Kansas in three weeks for a day of tests to determine if he his fit to return to duty.

Under terms of the contract he signed when he joined, Rodgers agreed to four years of active duty and four years of inactive duty.

But the Oct. 20 testing date could put a big crimp in his plans to become a state trooper.

The rigorous 19-week training program runs from Sunday nights until Friday nights and requires recruits to spend their days and nights at the Lansing-based academy.

Troopers who have been through it say that recruits who miss time are sent home, even if they are sick or injured.

To satisfy the military, Rodgers will likely have to be excused from training at the state police academy for at least two days -- a unique situation for the state.

"They said this hasn't happened before," said Nikki Rodgers.

If the state does allow Rodgers to take a break from training, he would likely not be called to report for military duty for another five months -- which would allow him enough time to finish trooper school.

She said the state police have written the military a letter asking them to delay the Oct. 20 testing day, but said Wednesday that she had not heard of any response.

Officials at the state police training academy could not be reached for comment.

Jeffery Rodgers is at the academy this week and could not be reached for comment.

Married for four years and with two young children, Nikki Rodgers dreads the thought of her husband going to war.

During his first stint in the Marines, the farthest Rodgers went was California where he was assigned for military police duties.

She said her husband views the situation differently because his friends are already in Iraq.

"Jeff is fine with going (to Iraq)... He'll do what he has to do," she said.

Nikki Rodgers just sees it as awful.

"I think this war is ridiculous," she said. "I wish it would end."