A Marine's Story: Captain Jacklyn "Jack" Harold Lucas

Captain Jacklyn "Jack" Harold Lucas was born on February 14, 1928, in Plymouth, North Carolina. e attended the Edwards Military Institute and was an all-around athlete, playing football, basketball, and softball. He also boxed and wrestled, as well as skeet and trap shooting. Captain Jacklyn H. Lucas left school at 14 and enlisted in the US Marine Corps on August 8, 1942, forging his mother's signature in response to World War II.

After training, where he qualified as a sharpshooter, he was first posted to Jacksonville, Florida, before leaving for Pearl Harbor in November 1943.   Dissatisfied with his duty station on Pearl Harbor and wanting to enter combat, on January 10, 1945, Captain Jacklyn Harold Lucas stowed aboard the USS Deuel with the 26th Marines. He turned himself in to command when far enough out to sea and was busted down to a private and assigned to rifleman duties.

On February 19, 1945, Captain Jacklyn Harold Lucas participated in the Marine landing on Iwo Jima, and while on patrol with three other marines, he earned a Congressional Medal of Honor when his patrol engaged a pocket of  11 enemy soldiers, who returned fire and lobbed two grenades. Captain Jacklyn Harold Lucas pushed the grenades deep into the sand of the beach with the butt of his rifle and then covered them with his body, saving the lives of the other three marines, who disabled the enemy. Believin Captain Lucas dead, he was left, and the remaining marines continued on patrol.

He was discovered alive by a following unit, who got Captain Jacklyn H. Lucas to a corpsman, and was evacuated, landing in San Francisco on March 28, 1945. He underwent more than 20 surgeries and would live with more than 250 pieces of shrapnel. President Harry Truman presented him with the Congressional Medal of Honor on October 4, 1945. He received a medical discharge from the US Marine Corps.

Captain Jack Lucas finished his high school education. Then he graduated from High Point University with a business degree in 1956. He spent a few years working in the private sector before reenlisting in the US Military, this time the US Army, in 1961. He was assigned to 82nd Airborne and suffered a jump accident on his first training jump after both parachutes failed. Captain Jacklyn H. Lucas fell approximately 3,500 feet and walked away from the fall because of a well-timed roll.

He volunteered for a combat deployment to Vietnam but was denied. He spent his US Army career at Fort Bragg, training airborne combat troops, and retired a Captain in 1965.

Captain Jack Lucas owned a chain of butchershops in Maryland and survived an assassination attempt by his second wife before retiring to Hattiesburg, Mississippi, and dying of leukemia on June 5, 2008. He rests at the Highland Cemetery in Hattiesburg Mississipi.

Before he died, Captain Jacklyn H. Lucas donated his Congressional Medal of Honor to the US Marine Corps, who placed it in the hull of the USS Iwo Jima.   He also wrote the autobiography "Indestructible: The Unforgettable Story of a Marine Hero at the Battle of Iwo Jima.


a.d. elliott is a wanderer, writer, and photographer currently living in Salem, Virginia. 

In addition to the travel writings at www.takethebackroads.com, you can also read her book reviews at www.riteoffancy.com and US military biographies at www.everydaypatriot.com

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