SOUTH SIOUX CITY, Neb. (KCAU) – He was part of the 25th infantry division and served in Vietnam for two years. John Ludwick shares his story of service on this weeks edition of Veterans Voices.

“Well, you didn’t know what to expect. There was a little bit of, what are we getting ourselves into,” John Ludwick said.

In 1969, 18-year-old John Ludwick joined the Army and was sent to Vietnam.

“When we were coming in for our landing, we landed in Cam Ranh Bay, and I saw all these sandbag bunkers and, you know, gun displacements,” Ludwick said.

He was part of the 25th infantry division.

“I was assigned to a patrol unit called LRRP, Long-range reconnaissance patrol. We go out on reconnaissance. Most of the time we were the first to engage, call in the main force. You never knew what was going to happen,” Ludwick said.

This put Ludwick on the front lines, which didn’t always end well.

“Well we’d catch them say hiding, they’d be coming down a trail. And of course, every now and then you’d lose one of your men. It’s not easy having somebody you know you’ve stood shoulder to shoulder with and have them die in your arms,” Ludwick said.

He said he tried to also remember the good moments from his time in Vietnam.

“There was always, well we called them the care packages, you know our mothers would send us stuff you know, cookies and whatever else. Most of them ended up going to the Vietnamese kids,” Ludwick said.

Ultimately, Ludwick says he could not wait to get back home.

“Especially as you come up to the end of your tour, you were getting what you call short. So and then you start counting down, you know 60 days and a wake up, you know, 30 days and a wake up,” Ludwick said.

Ludwick remembers what it was like on the plane ride home.

“We didn’t start cheering until the wheels got off the ground and we were up on over the South China Sea, then we go phew, we made it,” Ludwick said.

Ludwick has been the Post Commander at American Legion Post 307 for the past five years. One of his goals is to connect with younger veterans in Siouxland.