GIBSONVILLE, NC, USA U.S. Marines LCPL, CO A, 2D RECON BN, (RCT-3, 2D MEB FWD) CAMP LEJEUNE, NC IVO FOB FIDDLERS GREEN, AFGHANISTAN 07/08/2009
He was a Marine, a son, a brother and a friend. “He was just a good kid,” said Hager’s aunt, Theresa Hebert. “He’d do anything for anybody. If you needed him, he was there to help you.” Roger graduated early from Western Alamance High School in February 2008 and joined the Marine Corps shortly after. Elaine Hager said her son was a “happy-go lucky” man who enjoyed the outdoors, computers and video games. For her, he will always be the boy who was very much into dragons and magical things, the boy who, when he was about 10, used all the money he had saved from selling newspapers to buy a full collection of gold dragons. The toys now fill her living room.
A person of few words who kept to himself and loved playing computer games and fishing, Hager had a special connection with young people, his family said. His mother worked with children with disabilities and, many times, he spent time with her clients. “He was wonderful with my son,” Karen Smith, 35, of Burlington, said. Smith said her 19-year-old son has multiple disabilities and Roger was always gentle and kind with him. Though he was reserved, Roger was “a good friend if you needed him,” she said.
Like other members of the armed forces, Roger was probably aware of the inherent risks involved in his job as a Marine. He seemed to have been at peace with the idea of death even before he joined. “Death is a gift not a curse,” he wrote in a poem 5 1/2 years ago. “For I have no fear but memories . The last thing I say to thee before I die, don’t fear death, hope for it.” Farren said her son liked to write about things like death, happiness and solitude but he was not a sad kid. With her, he was always goofy and funny.
Prior to his deployment to Afghanistan, Roger was stationed at Camp Lejeune and was attached to the Company A, 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force.