Jeffrey Alan Lucas
ET-1, United States Navy
RELEASE from the United States Department of Defense
July 2, 2005
Media Contact: (703)697-5131
Public/Industry Contact: (703)428-0711
DoD Identifies Army and Navy Casualties
The Department of Defense announced today the death of eight soldiers and eight sailors who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
Soldiers killed were:
Staff Sergeant Shamus O. Goare, 29, of Danville,
All of these soldiers were assigned to the Army's 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne), Hunter Army Air Field, Georgia.
Sailors killed were:
Chief Petty Officer Jacques J. Fontan, 36,
of New Orleans, Louisiana
Healy, Patton and Suh were assigned to SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team One, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
Fontan, Kristensen, Lucas, McGreevy and Taylor were assigned to SEAL Team Ten, Virginia Beach, Virginia.
All 16 were killed while conducting combat operations when the MH-47 helicopter that they were aboard crashed in the vicinity of Asadabad, Afghanistan in Kumar Province on June 28, 2005.
For further information related to the Army personnel listed in this release, contact Army Public Affairs at (703) 692-2000.
For further information related to the Navy
personnel listed in this release, contact Naval Special Warfare Command
Public Affairs at (619) 437-5133.
Jeffrey Lucas was destined to be in the military.
Since he was a child, the country boy from Corbett wanted to be a Navy SEAL. The specialized, elite combat force was -- in the words of a report Lucas wrote in the third grade -- "the best."
When he was young, Lucas used to sneak up on people dressed in camouflage that he made from brush. He used to practice target shooting at long distances. And he built traps to capture rodents in the yard.
"He could surprise anyone," says Jamie Lucas, 32, Jeffrey's younger brother. "He was always so fast, so smart and so sure of himself. There was no way he wasn't going to reach his dream."
Today, Jamie Lucas and his family are in mourning. Jeffrey Alan Lucas, 33, died earlier this week in eastern Afghanistan after the MH-47 Chinook helicopter he was aboard was shot down, apparently by a rocket-propelled grenade. He leaves behind a wife and 4-year-old son.
Lucas, along with 15 other sailors and soldiers, died in the crash. The dead included eight Navy SEALs and eight U.S. Army air crew members. The SEAL unit had been called up for duty in Afghanistan in April.
Jeffrey Lucas was a 1989 graduate of Corbett High School. His destiny was set long before he enlisted at age 17. His skills, family members say, made him a natural for the military.
Jamie Lucas was in awe of his brother's abilities as a tactician and a sharpshooter.
The younger Lucas remembers waking up from the couch one night after hearing a noise in the basement of the family's Corbett home. He walked downstairs to find Jeffrey Lucas with a BB gun. He was picking off mice as they walked across a beam on the other side of the basement.
"I guess I shouldn't say this in front of my family, but we'd mostly shoot at each other with BB guns," Jamie Lucas recalls. "We'd throw rocks, break windows, stuff like that. We were just kids living in the country, and we had a lot of fun."
Other than riding dirt motorbikes, snowmobiling and fishing, Jeffrey Lucas liked to practice for his future in the military.
Jamie Lucas says his brother would hop on a motorbike and ride the back trails to a nearby Bible camp. He'd sneak into the camp, crawl across a creek on his belly and climb underneath some of the structures where the participants gathered.
Once he knew where everyone was, Jeffrey Lucas sneaked into the cabins and took candy from the campers, his brother says. "I went with him once, but I got caught by a dog," Jamie Lucas recalls. "He was mad because I blew his cover. He wouldn't let me go anymore. He honed his skills at that Bible camp."
Later, when Jeffrey Lucas became a SEAL, he told his younger brother about the time four years ago that he shot an antelope in Wyoming at 960 yards.
"It was part of his regular training," Jamie Lucas says. "He was with his spotter, and he asked how far away this pair of antelope was. When the spotter told him, 'Oh, about 640 yards,' my brother said he wanted the distance on the farther one. He took it in one shot."
Linda Traxler, Jeffrey's aunt, says she saw a lot of the rugged youngster as a child. Her three children were younger than the Lucas boys, but they always played together.
"Living in the country, the boys always had time to get into everything," she remembers. "They were all good boys, but every one of them looked up to Jeffrey. He was a leader and a mentor."
On Tuesday, Jamie Lucas was on his way to the veterinarian, taking a horse with an eye problem in for an exam. His brother's wife had called from her home in Virginia Beach, Vairginia. When he returned home, he learned that the copter carrying his brother had gone down.
"No way, no way, no way," he remembers thinking. "I told her that can't be. He'd been in lots of close calls before, but Jeff would always say that those were just hard landings."
Now Jamie Lucas fights back tears. His older brother, his guide, his friend is gone.
"I want to think that he was too smart, too fast to be dead," he says, crying. "There's no way it'd be him out there. He's always the best at everything, so he could survive.
"But it's sunk in now. They might as well just
take half of me away. I lost my brother and my best friend. With him, it
was always easy because he'd set the bar, and you'd know where to set the
bar to measure greatness."
Photo Courtesy of Holly, December 2005