SYSK: World War II veterans share their stories - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

SYSK: World War II veterans share their stories

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

After the first Honor Flight out of Waterloo, two World War II veterans invited me to hear more about their war experiences.

Herbert Ludwig invited me to see some of the items he saved from World War II.

Herbert was on the ship the Grayson, also known at the Mighty G, for two and a half years.

He describes his time on the Grayson as lucky. He recounted one torpedo attack near what is now Taiwan.

"They dropped one for us, but they had it set for bigger ship for a greater depth because they wanted to hit the keel, so it went under us," said Herbert Ludwig.

Other ships weren't so lucky... the Grayson picked up hundreds of others who had to abandon ship.

"We continued all through the night, the next morning we found one still afloat out there, the last one," said Ludwig.

Herbert's brothers also served in the war. Herb met up with Clarence back in Pearl Harbor. But his older brother, Alphonse, was killed in action in France.

Herbert finally got to see his brother's grave on the 55th Anniversary of D-Day.

Verle Buck was there on D-Day, June 6, 1944. He was 20 years old.

"The commanding officer told us before we left that your chances of survival are slim to none," said Verle Buck.

Verle still has the actual map he was given before the invasion. You can still see it says "top secret."

Red "X's" mark where he landed and rendezvous points.

Verle remembers the chaos. People drowning and getting shot around him.

"It was an awful experience. I'll tell you that," he said.

Verle met up with two others and they made their way to the rendezvous point. It took three days.

"We just did our job. What we had to do. What we could do," he said.

With so many memories from the war, finally seeing the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. meant a lot to both Verle Buck and Herbert Ludwig.

I'm happy they shared their stories with me.

Reporter: Danielle Wagner

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