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Rodberg: Lives out boyhood dream

A lot of children dream of being a doctor or a lawyer, but not Red Level’s Cory Rodberg.

For as long as he can remember, Rodberg has dreamed of being a soldier.

The 2009 graduate of Red Level High School is living out his boyhood dream, and has recently returned from a nine-month tour of duty in Kirkuk, Iraq.

“It’s what I always wanted to do,” he said. “I’ve talked about it for at least the last 10 years.”

Rodberg said he wanted to do hand-to-hand combat, and that’s exactly what he is doing in the U.S. Army.

Rodberg belongs to the 1-1 Bravo Infrantry, where he carries a 249 fully automatic SAW and specializes in hand-to-hand combat.

Rodberg said he decided he wanted to be in the military when he was 10.

“My next door neighbor was in the service, and he would send my parents letters,” he said. “They wouldn’t let me read them. So, I’d sneak in there with a flashlight when they were asleep and read them.”

When Rodberg was about 13, their neighbor was in the first Army graduating class following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, and the neighbor was among the first soldiers deployed to Iraq.

“(The neighbor) had a reporter embedded with him,” Doug Rodberg, Cory’s father, said. “The reporter would let (the neighbor) call home, and Cory got to hear a lot of the war. That’s when he really started kicking the idea around.”

Rodberg enlisted in the Army under the Future Solider Program when he was 17.

“I had to finish high school first,” he said. “I left two days after graduation, did my basic training and AIT, then was at Fort Bliss, Texas, for a month. I got sent to a unit that was rapidly deploying.”

One might call the military “a family affair” for the Rodbergs.

Rodberg’s friend, classmate and brother-in-law Nathan Trieber recently joined the Army and just graduated basic training. Trieber is currently in advanced individual training (AIT).

Before that, Rodberg’s sister, Jessica Trieber, was in the Army, but is now home with her family.

“I’m very proud of all of my children,” mom Jodi Rodberg said.

Rodberg said he’s seen a lot of “perspective” through seeing the world and see how different things are.

“It’s a whole other story than the news tells,” he said. “You see a lot of small kids running around, and no one watches them. It makes you appreciate what you have. People take things for granted here.”

Rodberg said that while children in the U.S. want candy, the Iraqi children ask for pens so they can write.

“We gave out a lot of pens and paper,” he said.

Cory said his unit is called the 1-1 Old Ironsides.

He’s home for about two weeks and then will return to Fort Bliss, where he will undergo specialized training for his second tour of duty. This time, he will go to Afghanistan.

Many may think it’s a great achievement for a 19-year-old to have been to war and back, however; Rodberg doesn’t think so.

“It’s just a job,” he said. “If I don’t do it, who else will?”

Red Level’s Cory Rodberg is shown with some Iraqi school children demonstrating the “rock on” hand symbol. | Courtesy photo