Dave Carey was born in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, in 1942. He entered the U.S. Naval Academy in June 1960, and was commissioned an Ensign in the U.S. Navy on June 4, 1964. Carey next attended flight training at NAS Pensacola, Florida, and was designated a Naval Aviator in 1966. After completing A-4 Skyhawk Replacement Air Group training he served as an A-4 pilot with VA-163 at NAS Lemoore, California, and deployed aboard the aircraft carrier USS Oriskany (CVA-34) from 1966 until he was forced to eject over North Vietnam and was taken as a Prisoner of War on August 31, 1967. After spending 2,022 days in captivity, LCDR Carey was released during Operation Homecoming on March 14, 1973. He then returned to flying status and served as Operations Officer, Maintenance Officer, and Safety Officer with VF-126 at NAS Miramar, California, from 1974 to 1979, followed by service as Commanding Officer of Fleet Composite Squadron 7 from 1979 to 1981. His next assignment was as Commanding Officer of VF-126 at NAS Miramar from July 1982 to 1984, and then as Commanding Officer of the Naval Amphibious School, Director of the Navy's Leadership and Management Effectiveness Program, and Lead Facilitator in the Leadership and Management Seminar for Prospective Commanding and Executive Officers at Coronado, California, from 1984 until his retirement from the Navy on January 1, 1986. Since his retirement from the Navy, Dave has been a professional speaker, consultant, and trainer. He is the author of the book "The Ways We Choose, Lessons for Life from a POW's Experience".
His Legion of Merit with Valor Citation reads:
For exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding service as a Prisoner of War in North Vietnam from August 1967 to March 1973. Under the most adverse of conditions, he resisted all attempts by the North Vietnamese to use him in causes detrimental to the United States, never wavering in his devotion and loyalty to the United States. In an outstanding and tireless fashion he served as an educator to provide diversion and constructive rehabilitative thinking to his fellow prisoners during their long internment. Despite harsh treatment and a lack of material aids, he devoted long hours toward improving their morale and well-being. His extraordinary skill, resourcefulness, and dedication to duty throughout his lengthy confinement reflected great credit upon himself and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the Naval Service and the United States Armed Forces.
The Combat Distinguishing Device is authorized.