Rodgaard has over 41 years with the naval service of the United States
including 12 years as a petty officer and 29 years of commissioned
service as a naval intelligence officer.
He had several active duty tours as a reservist including two years in the Mediterranean on the destroyer escort, USS Courtney,
DE-1021. He has also served on navy and joint intelligence tours with
Submarine Group 8, Carrier Group 4, the Office of Naval Intelligence,
the J2 Defense Intelligence Agency, Commander Submarines Mediterranean,
the US European Command and the Navy Staff. Captain Rodgaard completed
four years of active service with the National Geospatial Intelligence
Agency as a senior collection officer and strategist.
As a civilian, Captain Rodgaard has been employed as a contract
intelligence analyst with the National Reconnaissance Office, the
Central Intelligence Agency, the United States Air Force U-2 Programme
and the Defense Intelligence Agency.
He is a published author and a contributor to several television
programmes in the Discovery Channel’s Unsolved
series and the Public Broadcasting Service’s (PBS) NOVA Science Show,
“Killer Submarines of Pearl Harbor”. He was the US Naval Institute’s
Author of the
Year 2000 and is a frequent contributor to the Institute’s Naval History Magazine. He
co-authored the only biography of Commodore Charles Stewart, USN the
most successful fighting captain of the USS Constitution. In 2018 The Naval Institute Press will publish his next book, Yankees in Nelson’s Navy. The story of those North Americans who served in the Royal Navy between 1793 and 1837.
Captain Rodgaard holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History and
Political Science, a Masters in Political Science, and is a graduate of
the United States Naval War College. He is married to Judith Pearson, PhD from Kansas City, Missouri. Captain
Rodgaard took over as lead author when his good friend, Bob Moore, the former CO of TS Venomous and the author and
publisher of the first edition, died in 2007.
Rodgaard's Mother is from Kings Lynn and he has cousins living in the
town. He presented a copy of the previous edition of A Hard
Fought Ship to the Sea Cadets
of Kings Lynn at TS Vancouver
which is named after the discoverer of Vancouver Island who was born at
Kings Lynn. HMS Vancouver, a
V & W Class destroyer, was renamed
to honour those who
died at Vimy, France, in World War 1. Seven years later on the 16 May
2017 he presented a copy of the new hardback edition to the Sea Cadets
of TS Vancouver.
2010 when the previous edition of A Hard Fought Ship was published Capt John Rodgaard USN
spoke at conferences and meetings around Britain including a meeting
of the South West Maritime
History Society, Bristol; the Society for Nautical Research Centenary
Conference, Glasgow; Loughborough Town Hall, Leicestershire, Training
Ship Vancouver, King’s Lynn, and the Britannia Royal Naval College Dartmouth.
Book launches and public lectures
Capt John Rodgaard USN (Ret) has given talks about HMS Venomous and signed copies of his book at the Maritime Museum
of the Atlantic, Halifax, Nova Scotia, The New York City Commandery,
Naval Order of the United States; St Martin’s Military History Society,
Fort Belvoir, Virginia; Seawolf Park, Galveston, Texas, and the Naval
Historical Foundation, National Museum of the US Navy, Washington, DC. Book launches for the third edition of A Hard Fought Ship were held in London and Washington and John Rodgaard is a regular
speaker at events in the UK and the USA about HMS Venomous, a "Hard
Fought Ship" of the V & W Class of destroyer, which helped win the
Battle of the Atlantic.
Book launch for the 3rd edition at the Royal College of Defence Studies in Belgrave Square, London
John Rodgaard flew to London from Washington for the launch of the new hardback edition of A Hard Fought Ship
at the Royal College of Defence Studies in Belgrave Square on the 9th May 2017. The Deputy
Commandant, Rear Admiral John Kingwell RN, proof checked the first
edition for Bob Moore in 1990 while helping out at TS Venomous in
Loughborough. The guests at the launch generously donated £183 to the funds of TS Venomous which has not fully recovered from the disastrous fire which destroyed their premises in 2012. The launch was a huge success as can be seen from the photographs taken at the event in this prestigous location in central London.
John A Rodgaard USN (Ret) presented copies of both edition of A Hard Fought Ship to TS Vancouver in Kings Lynn in 2010(on left) and 2017 (right)
TS Vancouver is named after HMS Vancouver, a sister ship of HMS Venomous, which was later renamed HMS Vimy
John's Mother was born in Kings Lynne and he still has cousins living in the town
A Hard Fought Ship is "launched" in the USA
John Rodgaard booked the cinema for the launch and
invited friends and colleagues from the USN to the launch - see below. Venomous
made five trips to Dunkirk and brought back 4,100 troops and Generals
Alexander and Percival. Some of those men tell their own stories in the
chapter on Dunkirk in A Hard Fought Ship. The book launch for the new hardback edition of A Hard Fought Ship in the USA was held at a private showing of the film Dunkirk
on the 13 August 2017 at a cinema in Arlington across the Potomac river
The "Scrap Iron Navy"
On the 10 th August Capt John
Rodgaard USN (Ret) was invited to speak about his book at the
Australian Embassy in Washington to members of the Returned Servicemen'
League (RSL) of Australia. Several V & Ws were transferred
to the Royal Australian Navy between the wars and were mockingly
referred to as the "Scrap Iron Navy" but performed well during they war
though several were lost. Their story will be told on the website of
the V & W Destroyer Association.McMullen Naval History Symposium at Annapolis, Maryland, on 14 - 15 September 2017
The new edition of A Hard Fought Ship was exhibited at the 2017 McMullen Naval History Symposiumwhich was hosted by the History Department of the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland, on 14-15 September, 2017. John Rodgaard signed copies of his book for delegates attending the Sympososium.
The sinking of HMS Heclaon Armistice Day 1942 and he rescue of survivors by HMS Venomous
John Rodgaard gave a lunch time talk to the New York City Commandery of the Naval Order of the United States (NOUS) on the 4 December 2017 about the sinking on the 11 - 12 November 1942 of the destroyer depot ship HMS Hecla. Forty members of NOUS attended his talk in the splendid setting of the the New York Raquet and Tennis Club on Park Avenue.
In August 2012 Capt John Rodgaard USN (Ret) visited Hecla
survivor Les Proctor at his retirement home in Ottawa and presented him
with a copy of the previous edition of this book. Armistice Day 2012
was the 70th anniversary of the torpedoing of HMS Hecla off the coast of north Africa when when 273 men died and HMS Venomous rescued 493 survivors. Les Proctor lived a good life and was 94 when he passed away on 9 September 2016. You can read the story of his rescue on this website.
On the 75th anniversary of the loss of Hecla in 2017 three of the men saved during that long night were still alive: Fred "Slinger" Woods lived in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney and Les Mortimer in Melbourne, Australia. Reg Bishop lives near Norwich not far from where he was born at the village of Cley on the Norfolk coast of England.Only Reg Bishop is still alive in January 2022 but Bill Forster has told the stories of survivors and the men who died on this website. The full story of the loss of Hecla and the rescue of survivors by HMS Venomous is told in Chapter 13 of A Hard Fought Ship.
Speaking engagements in 2018
John Rodgaard spoke on The Battle For The Atlantic Through The Writings of Nicholas Monsarrat at the 11th Maritime Heritage Conference of the Council of American Maritime Museums in New Orleans on the 15th February.
The previous edition of A Hard Fought Ship: the Story of HMS Venomous (2010) was described by Cdr Alastair Wilson RN (Ret) in the Naval Review "as being up in the same class as ‘The Cruel Sea’ for a picture of small ship life in World War 2".
This month's issue of the Naval Reviewincludes a three page review article on the new edition by Cdr Benjamin "BJ" Armstrong USN (Ret) of the US Naval Academy
On Friday the 23 February 2018 while John Rodgaard was on holiday in Bermuda with his wife Judy he presented a copy of A Hard Fought Shipand gave a talk to the the cadets of the TS Admiral Somers Sea Cadet Unit which is named after the English naval hero Admiral Sir George Somers (1554–1610).
Speaking engagements at the RCMI in Toronto and via Zoom to the RNVR in London
Capt John Rodgaard USN (Ret) was invited to speak about his book at the Royal Canadian Military Institute
in Toronto on the 6 March 2019 in their series of public lectures by
prominent naval historians on Military History Night. He gave his talk
on HMS Venomous 1919-1945, the title Venomous and Valour: A Common Virtue,
and it can be seen on youtube. He was photographed signing
copies of his book and in front of the portrait of Queen Elizabeth.
John Rodgaard gave a similar talk with
the same title via Zoom at the height of the Covid Pandemic to the
Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve Yacht Club in London on 11 November 2021, the day when Venomous rescued more than 500 survivors from HMS Hecla when she was torpedoed off the coast of North Africa. This year is the 75th anniversary of the founding of RNVR Yacht Club in 1947 and the80th anniversary of the loss of HMS Hecla.
A Hard Fought Ship is now out of print but an ebook edition will be published in 2022.