Yankton, S.D. (KCAU) — Bryce Ladwig’s interest in the Army started with playing military-related video games, but something much deeper drew him to enlist when he turned 18.
“I was looking for adventure I think and without sounding too melodramatic about it, I think I was just kind of looking for a purpose. I really wasn’t interested in college at the time,” said Ladwig.
Ladwig completed basic training in Georgia and was assigned to the 3rd Infantry Division. As a kid from Aberdeen, he said it took a little time and a lot of people to help him adjust to life in the Army.
“I think I went into the Army in general as very unmolded. I had looked at the Army as a very one focal point of action and everything. I didn’t realize all the other stuff that goes into it. You just have to be a part of that melting pot of people from all around the country,” Ladwig said.
Ladwig was deployed to Iraq in 2011 where he performed various security missions as the U.S. began handing over control of the country to the Iraqi police. A few years later, he was sent to Afghanistan where he found the action he had been searching for.
“The combat would be, on a good day, a few potshots from a building got to go clear it, take care of that, and then on bad days, you’re pinned down for hours waiting for fire support or something of that nature,” Ladwig shared.
After the army, Ladwig graduated from Black Hills State University and the University of South Dakota.
These days, he lives in Yankton and works as a sports director for a local radio station. Ladwig said transitioning from the army to civilian life is tough but he tries to incorporate military values into his everyday life.
“I pretty much run a lot of my stuff like the military. I just like to have my stuff done, get it done in bulk. there are some days where I’m not doing a whole lot but there are some days where I’m here from 8:30 a.m. to 7 or 8 at night, come back in late, work at home,” Ladwig said.