COLONIAL HEIGHTS, Va. -- Ludwig Hoge is part of a small fraternity of military men.
He served in the U.S. Army for nearly 30 years. During that time the 90-year-old man saw action on the front lines in World War II, The Korean War and Vietnam.
He came out of each conflict without a scratch. Ludwig says one thing kept him alive.
“Pray every chance you could get,” he says. “And by that I think it saved my life. I really do.”
Ludwig possesses a razor sharp mind and can easily recall events from 70 plus years ago.
It was January of 1945 when the Ohio native was drafted and fought his way across Europe during WWII with the 36th Infantry Division.
“We went to enemy territory,” he says. “We were on our own.”
Ludwig earned a Bronze Star.
“I had bullets pass me,” he recalls, “and shrapnel.”
But lost many friends along the way.
Ludwig returned to Fort Lee a grizzled veteran but Uncle Sam was far from through with him.
“I had orders to go to Korea,” he says.
Ludwig was then assigned to the 45th Infantry Division’s band.
“I was a percussionist,” he said.
The soldier with a fondness for music, found himself entertaining U.S. troops on the front lines, within earshot of the enemy.
“As soon as you played music they didn’t like to hear they would send rounds in.”
Following Korea the U.S. Army needed his expertise in logistics.
“I was on a ship going to Vietnam,” he recalls.
“Everyone was firing; firing, firing, firing.”
Ludwig returned to Fort Lee and settled in the Tri-Cities.
To this day the 90-year-old is still astonished by one thing.
“I walked away from all three of them,” he says. “I don’t know how many people can say they did.”
He served our nation with distinction for three wars, three different decades.
“I’m proud I did serve and do what I did but I’m not going to brag about it,” the humble soldier says.
Ludwig is a member of American Legion Post 284 in Colonial Heights.
Though he just celebrated his 90th birthday, he says he doesn’t feel nine decades old.
He says he still feels as good as that 18 year old who marched off to war 70 plus years ago.
If you know someone who you think should be featured in my "Heroes Among Us" segment email me at Heroes@wtvr.com