Dale Alan Luster was born on January 21, 1941 and joined the Armed Forces while in Chicago, Illinois.
He served in the United States Marine Corps and in six years of service, he attained the rank of Captain. He began a tour of duty in the Republic of Vietnam on October 17, 1967.
On September 26, 1968, at the age of 27, Dale Alan Luster perished in the service of our country in South Vietnam, Quang Ngai.
Captain Luster was killed during his second tour of duty in Vietnam. He was awarded the Purple Heart as well as the Distinguished Flying Cross for his service.
Dale Alan Luster
Captain, United States Marine Corps
January 21, 1941-September 26, 1968
Killed In Action, Quang Ngal, Vietnam
Section 30, Arlington National Cemetery
Dale Alan Luster was born in Chicago, Illinois, on January 21, 1941, to Mr. and Mrs. Wayman Luster. He grew up in Northbrook, Illinois, until his family moved to the northwest side of Chicago in 1955. He attended Taft High School where he joined the ROTC and attained the rank of Major, graduating in June of 1958. Dale was also attached to a local Civil Air Patrol unit.
He then attended Northwestern University on the Naval ROTC Scholarship Program selecting the Marine Corps option after his sophomore year. He attained the rank of Battalion Commander. In his senior year, he received the Frank Knox Sword award for displaying the highest leadership qualities for the four year course.
Upon graduation in 1962, he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps. He then completed Basic Jet and Advanced Flight Training and was awarded his Wings of Gold.
In December of 1963, Dale was united in marriage to Mary O'Hare in a military ceremony. They met during high school and continued to see one another through college and early military service.
Dale's first tour of duty in Vietnam was from February, 1965 through April, 1966, where he was stationed at Chu Lai. He flew the A4C and later the A4E fighter planes. Near the end of his service commitment, he extended his service contract and volunteered to return for a second tour in Vietnam.
His second tour started in October, 1967, and this time he was assigned to Marine Attack Squadron 121, Marine Aircraft Group Twelve, First Marine Aircraft Wing at Chu Lai where he flew the A4E Skyhawk. During this tour, Dale was also assigned temporary duty as the Air Liaison Officer for the Second Battalion, Third Marine Regiment headquarted in Hue Phu Bai. During Dale’s time with the 2/3, the battalion operated just south of the DMZ from Khe Sanh to Dang Ha and Con Thien.
Dale completed his tour with 2/3 early in September and returned to Chu Lai to resume flying duties. On September 26, 1968 Dale and his wingman were providing close air support for a U.S. Army unit which was under heavy attack by a numerically superior enemy force. This engagement occurred during Operation Wheeler Wallowa near Tam Ky in the Quang Ngai province of South Vietnam. The Army soldiers were pinned down and had sustained numerous casualties. Dale made several runs dropping his ordnance within 30 meters of the friendly forces. On one of these runs, just at ordnance release, his wingman saw his aircraft roll sharply to the left and impact the ground in a nose low attitude, having been hit by intense hostile fire. There was no evidence of ejection. As a result of his superior airmanship, the Army unit was able to withdraw from an untenable position.
Dale flew 200 missions during his two tours in Vietnam and had served six years in the United States Marine Corps.
He was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Purple Heart.
Michael Robert Patterson was born in Arlington and is the son of a former officer of the US Army. So it was no wonder that sooner or later his interests drew him to American history and especially to American military history. Many of his articles can be found on renowned portals like the New York Times, Washingtonpost or Wikipedia.
Reviewed by: Michael Howard