No battle buddy left behind
September 10, 2013
If you find yourself in trouble in Deagu on a weekend night don't be surprised if you find a group of Americans wandering the streets looking for you. The group is comprised of American Soldiers in civilian clothes. Their only purpose is to help you.
The group calls themselves No Battle Buddle Left Behind and originates from Camp Walker, South Korea.
Sgt. Vainuupo Avegalio, a 31-year old American Samoan, started No Battle Buddy Left Behind after being inspired by his Soldiers.
"One day at work one of my Soldiers came up to me explained how they prevented a Soldier from getting in trouble over the weekend," said Avegalio. "My Soldiers took care of their fellow Soldier and that inspired me to start doing more."
Avegalio decided to start a group aimed to help fellow Soldiers. The group goal is prevent Soldiers from getting in trouble
"The group is driven by the Soldiers," said Capt. Robert White, Commander of 169th Signal Company, 36th Signal Battalion. "The command team isn't involved. It's basically Soldiers taking care of Soldiers."
The group started off with six members, but has quickly grown to 15, according to Avegalio. Only three members are noncommissioned officers: most members are junior Soldiers.
"We meet up every weekend in civilian clothes," said Avegalio. "We just walk around the hangout spots off base together. If we see a Soldier that needs help, we help them."
The group walks around Soldier hangout spots until United States Forces Korea curfew. After curfew hours they visit Camp Walkers's community club and unit barracks to make sure Soldiers are okay.
The group is relatively new.
"It's only been going on for two weekends," said White. "But I hope this is the start of something big."
However, in two weekends the group has broken up two fights, helped half a dozen Soldiers get taxi rides home and prevented a sexual assault.
"These Soldiers are inspiring other Soldiers to step up," said 1st Sgt. Robert Pennebecker, 169th Signal Company First Sergeant.
"Last weekend the group found three Soldiers that were having issues getting a taxi," said Avegalio. "They were too drunk and didn't have enough money."
No Battle buddy Left Behind members paid for the taxi and insured the three Soldiers got home safe. Currently there isn't any funding for the group. Members are paying out of their pocket to help fellow Soldiers.
"My command group is working on setting up a treasury to help pay for taxis," said Avegalio. "They are also working with legal to see if we can set the group up as a nonprofit organization so we can accept donations."
The group is open to any Soldier or family member in Deagu area.
If you would like to donate your time or just follow the group they can be seen on Facebook (facebook.com/battlebuddy4life).