Why I served is an ongoing series that highlights local veterans and their stories presented by Warriors Entrepreneurs Network. This week, we met Dave Lineberry, U.S. Army - 82nd Airborne Division.
Why did you decide to join the military?
I knew growing up that the military was in my future. I never considered doing anything else. My father was a Marine. He was killed in Vietnam and awarded the Navy Cross, the 2nd highest honor in the nation, it’s right under the Medal of Honor.
My stepfather was also a Marine and served three tours in Vietnam. I grew up on Camp Lejune and saw marines everywhere. It was nothing to head to the PX or the beach and see troop transports, tanks crossing the roads and low flying aircraft. It was great.
Does your family have a history of military service?
My dads were both Marines. My grandfather served in the Navy during World War II. My son was a cadet at UNG and served in the Army. Even my sister-in-law spent 10 years in the Marine Corp. I am very proud of my family’s service to our country.
What determining factors helped you choose branch in which you served?
For me it was always a battle between joining the Marines or the Army. In the 1980s the Army offered a choice between a two-, three- or four-year enlistment so I went down the middle and chose a three-year enlistment. Plus, the Army guaranteed me a slot in airborne school and the becoming a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne at Fort Bragg. Back in those days when you join the Marines Corp, they tell you what you’re going to do while you’re in the military and where you will be stationed. I liked the options the Army offered.
Where were you stationed/deployed?
All my time was spent at Ft. Benning and then Ft. Bragg. My first six months in the military was devoted to basic training, infantry school and then airborne school. My test scores where high enough to be considered to go to flight school to fly helicopters or I was going to Ranger school. One of my regrets in life was not re-enlisting and pursuing those opportunities.
What advice would you give anyone that is interested in joining the military?
I encourage everyone to at least do their homework and consider the military as an option. The military has so much to offer in terms of benefits and training. I recently spoke to you a young man was looking into automotive training and was going to spend nearly $40,000 for that school. I advised him to look into any of the branches in the military where he would get superior automotive training and graduate without school loans or debt. He would also be in best physical shape of his life, he would be disciplined and have a chance to see the world.
The most important thing is he would always be called a veteran of the United States military and no one can ever take that pride away from him. I want people to realize that when you serve in the military not everyone is in a war zone and at risk. For every shooter in the military you have approximately 30 support personnel. Depending on your MOS, or job description, would you be in harm’s way.
How did your service impact where you are in your life today?
Being a veteran impacts my life daily. I feel like I am a better man and a better person because of my training and my service. I feel focused and disciplined. Only 1 percent of our citizens served in the military and that creates a brother/sisterhood like no other. I meet new people every day and if they also served there is an instant connection. It doesn’t matter if I am meeting an older generation of veterans or younger generation of veterans, there is instant respect.
I meet people who never served and hear thank you for your service, that always nice to hear.
Why is it important to you to sponsor “Why I served?”
There are many reasons and they are all important. I want all the veterans to be recognized for their sacrifices. I believe there are a lot of stories to be told and lessons to learn from our local veterans. I want to use this platform to spotlight all the brave men and women who took the oath to serve. I also hope we can also use this platform to honor the spouses as well. I think it’s important to tell their stories too. This is part of my way of honoring my mother who buried my father at the age of 27 and raised two boys on her own until she met my stepfather. He is also a marine and is dealing ALS that was attributed to agent orange. One day she will bury her second marine. My mom is the toughest lady I have ever known.
I think Forsyth County has its share of sacrifices that families have made to our country. It’s my goal to help tell all these amazing stories and honor our real heroes every Wednesday in this paper for as long as our community wants to hear them. I would really appreciate it if people will contact us and nominate their special veteran.
We would also be interested in veterans nominating their spouse so we can honor the person who stood by them during their deployments.