Democrats in many parts of the country are turning to military veterans to carry the Democratic banner against entrenched Republicans. The logic assumes that veterans cannot easily be tarred as "soft" on issues of national security and terrorism by Republican opponents. Also, these veterans usually come from outside the current political system and can run as insurgents to the status quo.
Paul Hackett (D-OH) was the guinea pig for this experiment. Hackett, a Marine who served in Iraq, ran in an August 2005 special congressional election and lost by only 4% in a district that is staunch Republican territory. On the heels of Hackett's near success, Democratic strategists launched a national campaign to recruit veterans to take on Republican incumbents. Across the nation Democrats with strong military credentials are now lining up to try to wrench the US House from Republican control. States like Virginia, North Carolina, New York, California, and Illinois will all see efforts to replace Republican incumbents with Democratic veterans.
Defeating an incumbent is always a difficult task, so it's not realistic to expect many of these "fighting Democrats" to win. But it does provide Democrats with credible candidates where they might not usually field them as well as a response to the Republican attack that Democrats don't support the troops.
I don't know if there are any Democrats in the 3rd with such a military background, but if one did emerge he could easily find himself buttressed by this national Democratic strategy and support. And Mike Rogers just might find himself in a real race.