Fond Du Lac, Wis. (WFRV) – “At that time we thought (let’s do it), if our country was going to war- There was a sense of patriotism at that time,” Terry Judkins recalled.

When Judkins says ‘We,’ he’s referring to he and his twin brother Larry, both who enlisted in the armed forces in the Vietnam War in 1966.

“I said to Larry, ‘You know, I’m going to go get this thing over with, I’m gonna serve and take my chances.’ And he said. ‘Well, I am (too) but I’m not going into the Army, I’m going into the Navy.’ He wanted to be a medical corpsman,” Judkins said.

So in 1966, Terry was headed with the army to Vietnam.

He was tasked with a group of engineers and mechanics whose job was to keep artillery firing on all cylinders, delivering parts to soldiers out in the field.

“It might be a secure sight north, or we go right to the guns. You can grow up real quick in Vietnam, it doesn’t take long. You can only hide behind the rock so long, then your nose has got to come up,” said Judkins.

Things changed Larry made it over to Vietnam. 

When Larry enlisted in the Navy, what he didn’t realize was that the Navy was still a part of the Marine Corp, and he was stationed as a medic in the much more dangerous area of Danang.

“Larry’s out there on search and destroy, it’s a completely different story. So my goal was to get him out of country. I saw no reason for my mother to have twins in Vietnam, it was wrong in the first place,” Judkins recalled.

Letters upon letters to a Wisconsin senator asking for Larry to be sent home from Vietnam went unanswered, and finally Terry’s time overseas was up.

But what was supposed to be joyful day on February 10th, 1967, a long-awaited homecoming, ended up being a day that changed Terry’s life forever. Larry was killed that same morning in friendly fire.

“Larry was killed I think about 6am that morning, and I left at 9 o’clock, You’re just so full of joy when you leave that country, and I had no idea. I didn’t find out until I hit California,” said Judkins.

Terry said he never looked back at Vietnam much, and he spends his time now giving back to others through his local church and Broken Bread Food Pantry in Fond Du Lac  .

Larry had his whole life to live, but Terry is still busy living his for those like Larry, and so many others.

“(Larry) is around me all the time, he is. It gives you a real good sense of how lucky we are to be alive. And make sure you appreciate every day,” Judkins said.