Vietnam veteran inspires ‘Devil’ brigade soldiers

by Cpl. Dasol Choi, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division
Stripes Korea

CAMP CASEY, South Korea ¬– Soldiers from the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, had an opportunity to hear from a Vietnam War veteran and a recipient of the Purple Heart Medal, during a resiliency training session held at the Camp Casey Multipurpose Complex, Camp Casey, South Korea, Jan. 24.

Invited by Gen. Vincent K. Brooks, commander of the U.S. Forces Korea and his chaplains, Dave Roever, a veteran of the U.S. Navy who served in the Vietnam War, shared his experience of overcoming hardship that he faced while serving in the Vietnam War as a riverboat gunner in the Brown Water forces in the Navy.

“My heart followed troops; I love the troops; I was one and I never got it out of my system,” Roever said. “I came here to say to the troops not to cave under pressure but to stand strong and always defend against the enemies.”

Although injured during the war and believed to be dead, Roever never gave up. Instead, he considered a moment, which others might call a defeat, as an opportunity.

“I was burned and was given up twice as other Soldiers believed I was dead. I never died, never claimed it, and never said that,” Roever said. “But I can tell you, I wouldn’t have been standing here giving you this speech if I had given up.”

“Someone once said, ‘stones in your life that were thrown at you can become stepping-stones across water, which you can use to move forward,’” Roever also noted.

During his speech, not only did Roever mention the importance of overcoming one’s hardship, but he also reinforced the significance of human relationships.

“When someone goes through hard time, don’t ignore it, but do something,” Roever said. “Accountability is a vitally important part of our relationships. I really hope that I can get that across that we need to take care of each other because we are keepers of our brothers.”

To the Devil brigade Soldiers, Roever’s speech was a means of catharsis during their nine-month rotation in South Korea.

“Roever inspired me because he told his story of how he wanted to give up because of what happened to him,” said Spc. Mitchell Strange from the 2nd Battalion, 34th Armor Regiment, 1st ABCT. “While a lot of people would have given up, he never gave up. From now on, I want to start to look at things more positively.”

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