Beaver Dam man fresh out of the Marines honored to be a veteran
A U.S. Marine returned to Beaver Dam last week, just in time to celebrate his first Veterans Day after his discharge.
“It is weird to think I’m at that point,” Sgt. Sam Budde said. “I would always look up to those guys and say Happy Veterans Day. It is interesting to be at that point now.”
Even during his younger years, Budde said he liked hearing stories from veterans.
“I learned a lot from them,” Budde said. “I liked learning everything I could about veterans.”
Budde said he wasn’t interested in pursuing higher education immediately after graduating from Beaver Dam High School in 2014, so he decided to go another route.
“I wanted adventure, travel and the challenges I would get by joining the military,” Budde said. “I left for boot camp three months after graduating from high school.”
Budde was deployed twice. The first time was to the USS Wasp in the Mediterranean Sea, while a Marine air wing was doing airstrikes in Libya. The second deployment was to Okinawa, Japan, and the Philippines.
“I think the biggest thing I learned from being in the military was responsibility and that everything isn’t about you,” Budde said.
In his last years, Budde said he was in charge of lower-rank Marines, but he learned quickly that to lead was to respect everyone.
“I had to make sure those guys were OK more than me,” Budde said. “I think I learned that most of all, because not a lot of people get to experience that.”
On Nov. 5, Budde said his father drove down to Camp Lejeune in North Carolina to pick him up.
“We drove back, but it was 4 a.m. when we got home,” Budde said.
He was welcomed home by his mom when he came in the door.
“She was up and there was the sign up outside for me, so that was cool,” Budde said.