The story of Jack Lucas

He'd fast-talked his way into the Marines at fourteen, fooling the recruits with his muscled physique... Assigned to drive a truck in Hawaii, he had grown frustrated; he wanted to fight. He stowed away on a transport out of Honolulu, surviving on food passed along to him by sympathetic leather-necks on board.

He landed on D-Day [at Iwo Jima] without a rifle. He grabbed one lying on the beach and fought his way inland.

Now, on D+1, Jack and three comrades were crawling through a trench when eight Japanese sprung in front of them. Jack shot one through the head. Then his rifle jammed. As he struggled with it a grenade landed at his feet. He yelled a warning to the others and rammed the grenade into the soft ash. Immediately, another rolled in. Jack Lucas, seventeen, fell on both grenades. "Luke, you're gonna die," he remembered thinking...

Aboard the hospital ship Samaritan, the doctors could scarcely believe it. "Maybe he was too d***ed young and too d***ed tough to die," one said. He endured twenty-one reconstructive operations and became the nation's youngest Medal of Honor winner - and the only high school freshman to receive it.

Excerpt from James Bradley's Flags of our Fathers. Taken from John Pipers Don't Waste Your Life


Carilyn said...

Wow is right! He survived that?!

Maybe I'm just reading it wrong or something, but how is it that he was 17 and only a highschool freshman?

Graydon L said...

hmm... I never thought of that, but I'll bet he's called a freshman 'cause he quit school and joined the army at 14. I guess that makes sense.

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