Sep 21, 2010

SPC Mitch Roberson Student fights obstacles at home and abroad

by Cat Hewett


Roanoke native Specialist (SPC) Mitch Roberson always wanted to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps and join the Army.

“He was a Prisoner of War in Japan for about four and a half years,” Roberson said. “He was my hero.”

Roberson, a sports management major, recently returned from a tour of duty in Iraq with the 1-116th Infantry Battalion, where
he drove a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle (MRAP) and also spent time as
a gunner.

“It is just good to be home,” Roberson said. “I feel more comfortable here. (I) don’t have to constantly be worrying about watching my back and things like that.”

Roberson said that the transition from army life to civilian life has not been easy.

“It is so different (here),” Roberson said.
“I was gone long enough, here I kind of feel out of my element a little bit now. It is such
a different state of mind. Here you are still kind of in (the military) state of mind, even though you don’t need to be. It has just been kind of awkward.”

Roberson said that he misses the daily routine of life in Iraq and the camaraderie he shared with his fellow soldiers in Iraq.

“We grew to be really close together,” Roberson said. “(We) had some really strong bonds. I wouldn’t necessarily say that I miss (Iraq), but at the same time, I kind of do. I wouldn’t like to be back there, but at the same time, there is a part of me that would.”

One of the biggest obstacles Roberson faced while on the tour did not come from an enemy in Iraq, but in the form of a Red Cross letter in April. The letter informed Roberson that his mother had died of cancer and within 24 hours, Roberson was home with his family.

“It was just amazing how quickly they took care of me and got me home to be where I needed to be with my family and take care of the things that we needed to do,” Roberson said. “That meant the world to me that they were able to do that, and they cared enough about that.”

Roberson was also amazed when some of his Liberty friends attended his mother’s funeral.

“At that time, that was just what I needed,” Roberson said. “It was amazing just to see Liberty students showed up to support me and how they really care and kind of showed me that I chose the right place to go (to school). It showed that people really cared and I had that support group there when I needed it. Words can’t even describe how much that meant to me.”


HEWETT is the news editor.

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