SPC David P Swenson, Jr.
By Judi, David's Mom
My son, Active Duty Army ( E Co 704 FSC 4ID), SPC David P. Swenson, Jr. was born in Teheran, Iran, on July 23, 1978 and ended his life at Ft. Hood, Texas on June 16, 2005. He will be 26 forever. He will be loved forever. He will be missed forever. He will be our hero forever.
My son, SPC David Swenson, Jr. sought help. He knew he was struggling. I knew it too. He was strong enough to ask for help. He was keeping his mental health appointments. He was trying. But, he couldn't stay in the fight. Davey died after being transported to Darnall Army Medical Center on June 16, 2005.
Davey was born in Teheran 10 weeks premature; he came home from the hospital at a whopping 3 pounds. But he was strong. The Dr. said he'll grow, and he'll be fine, and the Dr. was right. Needless to say, Davey was our world. After being evacuated from Iran during an evolving revolution, we took our one year old on another adventure, to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. When Davey was starting school, he asked for a dog. We figured, it was time to set down some roots, buy a house, have a yard that wasn't sand, and get our beloved boy a dog. We still live in that house, in Humble, Texas. Davey's dog, an Old English sheepdog named Beaureguarde, died of old age the same month Davey met his future wife, Tim's mom.
Davey first went into the Texas National Guard, but as he and his wife separated soon after Timmy's arrival, Davey decided the Regular Army was the place for him.
My son was a compassionate, giving human being. He put others first. He worked hard. But, he didn't party hard. He felt like he finally had the role of a big brother. He was the one who got called when the car wouldn't start, or no gas money. He covered CQ when a buddy needed that time. He bought many a pack of diapers, and even a crib once. He stood up at weddings, and tried to talk sense when a young couple had problems. He was a great 'big brother'.
But, that was his role. When his problems got the best of him, he couldn't and wouldn't 'burden' his friends. He sought help on his own. But, it wasn't enough. He lost his battle. If only he had had the strength to fight long enough. Davey quit fighting when he was 26. At 28, he may have found happiness again. He may have found a great career, life and lived to be loved for many, many years. His friends were shocked. Dave?, they said. No, not Dave! Anybody but Dave. He was the dependable one! He was the responsible one! He took care of them! Who would be there to help them get through this? They needed him.
Davey deployed to Iraq as a heavy vehicle mechanic in 2003. He was with his beloved 4ID, in 2/4 Aviation support. He returned in '04, and they were scheduled to redeploy in July of '05. But, since Davey had reenlisted, he was assigned to a new unit, just being formed. He wouldn't be going back with his guys. In his mind, he was not only letting them down, (his new unit wasn't scheduled to leave until November), but he was letting down their families. The young new mothers were depending on him to have their fellas’ backs, like he did last time. His two best friends both had new babies at his funeral. Booker's little boy was 4 weeks, and Jays' was 6 weeks old.
He fought to hold on, so that he wouldn't let them down just as much as he fought to hold on for his kids and his family. He just couldn't hold on any longer. In Iraq he saw the effects of war. He drove past Pepsi cans that could detonate and destroy a Humvee and the lives it contained. His job was to keep these vehicles running, so they could carry soldiers to battle, and possibly their deaths. When I drove him to get his license renewed, I saw firsthand the emotions this caused. It brought me to tears. My brave, compassionate son, was broken.
Davey's funeral was at the Houston National Cemetery. The funeral home could hardly hold all the soldiers who drove down. The next day, a Memorial Service was held for him in the Palmer Theater on Ft Hood. I never felt any stigma or slight from any military member for the way my son died.
We miss Davey every day. He will be our Hero always.
And, Soldiers, please stay strong and get the help you or your buddy need. The help is out there. Stay strong and go get it! HOOAH!
(Persevere--to persist in spite of counter influences, opposition, or discouragement)
Oh! And call your Mama.