"We're driving down this road and there's this tiny bridge over a little canal," he says. "They had rigged up this bomb and they had a tripwire running across the bridge and we hit it and it blew up."
Like the rest of the 13,877 Americans wounded in Iraq, Rodgers has a story to tell. He tells it in a matter-of-fact voice, like he's talking about making a midnight pizza run or something. He's sitting in an armchair with his right leg propped on an ottoman, the foot encased in a soft black cast that reaches almost to the knee. His crutches are lying on the rug beside the chair.
I started patting myself down and that's when I noticed that my face took some shrapnel," he says. "It was all swollen on this side, so when I'm patting myself down, my middle finger went, like, this deep into my cheek where the shrapnel went in."
He points to a spot about halfway down his finger, showing how far it went into the shrapnel wound behind his right eye, which is still pretty much blind, unable to see anything but bright light.
"Then I started checking out my leg. I knew my femur was broken, but at that time I didn't know my calf was missing," he says. "And that's when I hear my best friend Maida and he started heaving."
One day a nurse came in to ask Rodgers if he wanted to meet President Bush, who was visiting the hospital. Rodgers declined.
"I don't want anything to do with him," he explains. "My belief is that his ego is getting people killed and mutilated for no reason -- just his ego and his reputation. If we really wanted to, we could pull out of Iraq. Maybe not completely but enough that we wouldn't be losing people -- at least not at this rate. So I think he himself is responsible for quite a few American deaths."
Bill Swisher, a spokesman for Walter Reed, says it's "fairly common" for patients to decline to see visitors. "We've had visitors from Sheryl Crow to Hulk Hogan," he says, but he has no idea how many have refused to see Bush, who has visited the hospital eight times.
Rodgers says he also declined to meet Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Condoleezza Rice. This wounded soldier has lost faith in his leaders, and he no longer believes their repeated assurances of victory.
This sounds like a job for Michelle Malkin!