Royal George Vida was born in Maui, Hawaii, on January 15, 1930. He graduated from St Anthony High School in 1948 and joined the United States Army shortly after. He joined the Army because of a lack of jobs in his hometown, and he does not remember learning about Korea before joining. He received his boot camp training in Schofield Barracks in Oʻahu, Hawaii. After his training in 1948, he left Honolulu for Japan. In Japan, he served in Osaka alongside the 56th Combat Engineers of the 25th Division. When the Korean War broke out in the summer of 1950, he was sent to Busan.