Robert ‘Doc’ Pinkham, Private First Class E2 Veterans Charity Ride to Sturgis 2018 Mentor and Transportation Coordinator
Robert joined the Army on September 11, 2003, as a Combat Medic (91W). He left home and flew for the first time to Fort Sill, Oklahoma. Basic training was a life changing experience for him, giving him the opportunity to meet people from all walks of life. After basic training he went to Advanced Individual Training (AIT) at Fort Sam Houston, and was assigned to F Company 232 Medical Battalion. He became a medic on the advice of his Grandmother (Nonie), she was one of the smartest and loving people in his life. She told him that he should become a nurse. He listened to her and as ever, she was right.
Robert’s first deployment was to Baghdad, Iraq, in 2005-2006 OIF IV. It was at that point he realized how shielded he was from certain issues such as poverty and war. His deployment was a combination of being a line medic and an aid station medic. He deployed again in 2007-2008, this time to Tikrit, Iraq. This deployment really changed his life, he came home a different person. Robert witnessed first hand the ravages of war and Al Qaeda, seeing civilians, their children, and several of his friends and fellow soldiers give the ultimate sacrifice, their lives.
He was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during his first deployment, and he struggled with it for the rest of his time in the Army. He was diagnosed with a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) in 2008. Robert’s physical injuries from exposure to an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) have taken a toll on him, and have been progressively worsening.
Robert grew up in the small town of Carthage in Northern New York. He grew up around motorcycles and cars, and remembers when he was young watching his father ride his motorcycle, and thinking to himself how cool it sounded and looked. Robert started riding when he was 8 years old. He learned how to ride on an old Yamaha 100c dirt bike. His first move to pavement was when he bought a brand new 2007 Kawasaki KLR 650 after his first deployment, it was a present to himself.
Robert joined the Veterans Charity Ride (VCR) family as a participant in our Year Round MC Therapy Program and our VCR to Sturgis 2017 Program. It was a life changing experience for him, making new friends for life. Returning as a Mentor and Transportation Coordinator for Veterans Charity Ride to Sturgis 2018, Robert is ready to help the new veterans find the camaraderie and the peace that he found last year.
“It’s nice being with a group that we’ve all been through similar experiences, we’ve seen the same things, we’ve felt the same way, it’s a brotherhood…“Riding to me is the most therapeutic release for all the issues that plague me. I am so grateful to Veterans Charity Ride and Indian Motorcycle, for the opportunity they have given me for this adventure of a lifetime.”