Scarred Vietnam veteran brings message of hope to Japan
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — Vietnam War veteran and internationally renowned inspirational speaker Dave Roever landed in Japan on Saturday for a weeklong tour of major Pacific Air Forces installations.
After visiting Army, Navy and Air Force bases in Hawaii last week, he’ll sweep through Japan and South Korea and then to Alaska on stops aimed at lifting morale and offering practical solutions to issues such as peer pressure and suicide.
“He has such a profound message,” said Father (Lt. Col.) Gary Linsky, the 374th Airlift Wing chaplain at Yokota, where Roever was scheduled to speak at the Traditional and Contemporary chapels on Sunday. “He gives two different presentations: One more of a spiritual nature, which will take place here. The other is of a secular nature in a more public forum.
“He’s a man of deep and abiding faith. His message is so wonderful today because many of us have seen soldiers and troops wounded in the battle in Iraq, in this current war. He’s been through it and brings an incredible message of hope.”
Roever was a member of the Navy’s elite Coastal and Riverine Warfare community serving in Vietnam. In July 1969, eight months into his tour of duty, he was burned beyond recognition when a white phosphorous grenade he was poised to throw exploded about 6 inches from his face. The ordeal left him hospitalized for 14 months and he underwent 15 major surgeries.
“His message is intensely military-related,” Linsky said. “With all the challenges we face today, it’s good to know about the support we have. His message can really inspire young guys who sometimes struggle with hope.”
Linsky said Roever was invited to speak by Gen. Paul V. Hester, the PACAF commander, and Lt. Gen. Bruce Wright, commander of U.S. Forces Japan and the 5th Air Force.
“It’s a tremendous thing for us,” he added. “When you have someone coming here who’s touched the lives of so many … that gives us all a boost. His life is such a testimony. You can still see his scars and see how he’s overcome that to go on to a full and successful life with his family. Just by living, that’s demonstrated he was able to overcome what some of us might not be able to imagine.
“He was still a young man when got hurt, but he shows that life can go on. Any time we have that, it can certainly inspire a lot of people because it’s such a human story of survival.”
Tour of Pacific bases
Upcoming stops on a Pacific tour by Vietnam War veteran and internationally renowned inspirational speaker Dave Roever:
Monday: Yokota Air Base, Japan — Yokota High School, 7:45 a.m.; base theater, 10 a.m.
Tuesday: Misawa Air Base, Japan, 10 a.m., Co-Located Combined Club; Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, 7 p.m., base chapel
Wednesday: Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, 10 a.m., base theater; Osan Air Base, South Korea, 7 p.m., base chapel
Thursday: Osan Air Base, South Korea, 10 a.m., base theater; Kunsan Air Base, South Korea, 4 p.m., base theater
Sunday: Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, 6 p.m., Protestant worship service
Dec. 5: Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, 11 a.m., base theater; Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, 3 p.m.