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Making the world safe for Mom, apple pie, and mindless bureaucrats

This weekend, the Congressional Medal Of Honor Society is holding their annual banquet, and this year it's in Boston. I was fortunate enough to hear two of its members speak on a talk show.

Jack Lucas (USMC) has an amazing story. Shortly after Pearl Harbor, he persuaded his mother to help him lie about his age and enlist (he was 14, but a big 14). He served throughout the war in the Pacific, with the single motivating element to "kill Japanese." When he heard about the planned invasion of Iwo Jima, he left his unit, stowed away on a ship, and talked his way into taking part in the landing.

While in the heat of combat, the Japanese threw two grenades at Lucas and his squad. He dove on one of them and pulled the other under him. He shoved them into the volcanic ash and sand beneath him and prepared himself to die.

The ground absorbed very little of the blast and shrapnel, but just enough for this tough as hell kid to survive the blasts, but gravely wounded.

He was six days past his seventeenth birthday.

On October 5, 1945, he was brought to the White House for the presentation of the Congressional Medal of Honor. President Truman told Jack that he'd rather be a Medal of Honor winner than President, and Jack promptly offered to swap.

The war over, Jack was honorably discharged and returned home to North Carolina, where he resumed his real age.

And since he had just turned 18, he was promptly notified by his local draft board that he had to register for military service.

The Society is having its banquet tonight, in Boston. I wish to hell I could go.

I know there are plenty of men and women currently serving in Afghanistan, in Iraq, and in many other places are capable of the kind of heroism Jack Lucas and his fellow Society members displayed. It'd be nice if we could hear more about them.

The official citation for Jack Lucas' award is here, and more of his story is here.


Comments (7)

Jacklyn Lucas is the toughe... (Below threshold)
John:

Jacklyn Lucas is the toughest SOB ever to wear the uniform.

Here is a link for women me... (Below threshold)
nogo postal:

Here is a link for women medal winners..not sure how up to date it is. I am assuming because of the nature of the Iraq Occupation, just as there have been over 70 women troop deaths there must be more recognition of bravery.
http://userpages.aug.com/captbarb/medals.html

I had the distinct honor an... (Below threshold)
Luke:

I had the distinct honor and pleasure of spending a while talking to MoH winner Desmond T. Doss a couple years ago. A more humble man could not be found. We never discussed the Medal, just his personal life and his faith in God. Mr. Doss recently passed away and the world lost a true hero.

Mr. Doss was the only Concientous Objector (s?) to win the Medal of Honor in WWII. His story can easily be found by googling his name. It is well worth the read and close to 100 men (Mr. Doss says 50, the army said 100, they settled on 75 for the citation) lived to see another day because of this great man.

RIP Mr. Doss.

If ever in Indianapolis, vi... (Below threshold)
Diane:

If ever in Indianapolis, visit the only Medal of Honor memorial in the USA. It is an impressive glass structure, with each (nearly 3,500) recipient's name. It is especially nice to visit in the evening--names light up and one can hear the audio stories of different recipients.

The day of the dedication of the memorial a few years ago, all but 5-6 living recipients were in Indy for the program---what an awesome day!

Thanks for your nice post a... (Below threshold)

Thanks for your nice post about Jack Lucas. You may be interested to know that Da Capo Press--the publishing company for which I work--recently published a book by him. It's called Indestructible: The Unforgettable Story of a Marine Hero at the Battle of Iwo Jima. It's available at most bookstores and on Amazon.com.

Best,
Lissa Warren

What a badass, starting you... (Below threshold)

What a badass, starting your first day of high school with the MOH. He landed on Iwo without a rifle, the crazy SOB. I hope they tell some of his story in Flags of Our Fathers.

The world needs more men li... (Below threshold)

The world needs more men like Jack Lucas. He shares his MOH day with my birthday. Sweet.




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