Story by LCpl A. J. Van Fredenberg on 08/23/2019In 2016, 67.9% of high school graduates enrolled in college after graduation, according to the Bureau of Labor. In the same year, roughly 3% of the same class enlisted in the U.S. Military. For one Minnesota native, the call to serve was a way to make his life meaningful.
"I joined the Marine Corps because I wanted to do something meaningful with my life," said Sgt. Jacob Ludovissie. "I thought it was time for a change so I made it."
U.S. Marine Sgt. Jacob Ludovissie is a Wadena, Minn. And was recruited out of Grand Rapids, Minn. in July 2015. Before joining, he went to a local community college for three years, first attempting to major in forestry and wildland firefighting for two years and his final year began working toward becoming an elementary school teacher.
"After changing my major in my third year I hit a rough patch," said Ludovissie. "I started not going to class, so I didn't get my associates. At that point I looked at myself, a 21 year-old, living with his parents and I was working in a dead-end job. I was in a rut. That's when I ended up meeting with one of my buddy's, Andre Snyder, whom was a corporal in the Corps. He had just gotten out so I started picking his brain."
After speaking Snyder, Ludovissie enlisted out of Recruiting Sub-Station Grand Rapids and subsequently departed for boot camp at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, Calif. November 9, 2015.
"Nothing can truly prepare you for when the drill instructors first come on the bus and start yelling," said Ludovissie. "The first few weeks were hard, but I grew accustom to it and looking back it wasn't all that bad."
After he had completed entry-level training, Ludovissie arrived in Camp Pendleton in January 2017 and checked into 9th Communications Battalion, I Marine Expeditionary Force Information Group. I Marine Expeditionary Force as a network administrator. In January 2018 he then transferred to the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit in preparation for the West-Pac 2-18 deployment.
Ludovissie deployed on theUSS Essex (LHD 2) during the West-Pac. While aboard he participated in many exercises including: Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training in Malaysia and Theater Amphibious Combat Rehearsal in Djibouti.
"If I had the option to go [on a MEU] again, I would," said Ludovissie. "It's an experience you have to do to see what it's like."
While on a MEU, the ships will pull into ports around the world to conduct regular maintenance and resupply. During this time the Marines and Sailors of ten receive liberty ashore.
"My favorite port by-far was Thailand," said Ludovissie. "The outdoor venues were amazing, we were able to get internet access almost everywhere we went so I could call back home to talk to my family. It was overall just a great time."
During his deployment Ludovissie had been a corporal the entire time. in July, he found out he had been selected for sergeant, a chance many Marines never get the opportunity to see.
"The day I was promoted to sergeant was one of the most proud moments in my career," said Ludovissie. "I was awestruck when I found out. The other Marines I work with were almost as excited as I was too."
On August 1, 2019 Ludovissie was promoted to sergeant. He was pinned by his mother, Kim Ludovissie, and twin sister, Jenna Ludovissie. "I am very thankful to have the support of my family, it meant a lot having them at my promotion ceremony."
Aside from his family, Ludovissie receives constant recognition from his leadership within the 13th MEU for his maturity and aptitude as a Marine.
"Ludovissie has prevented any single points of failure within [the communications section]," said Master Sgt. Joshua Wilson, communications chief of the 13th MEU. "He has held a staff non-commissioned officers billet since he was a corporal. He is one of the most reliable NCOs I have ever worked with."
Ludovissie now serves as the networking chief for the 13th MEU, I Marine Expeditionary Force, a billet typically held by a staff sergeant or higher in most units. As part of his job, he is responsible for ensuring all unit-level communication capabilities are running at full capacity.
"I think the best part of being a Marine is just being surrounded by other Marines," said Ludovissie. "We are our own breed, and I wouldn't trade the memories I have had with my Marines for anything."
The California-based 13th MEU is a scalable, and highly capable Marine Air Ground Task Force, designed to rapidly respond to a wide-range of military operations around the globe.