Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Army Specialist Lucas A. Frantz

Remember Our Heroes

Army Specialist Lucas A. Frantz, 22, of Tonganoxie, Kansas.

Spc Frantz died in Mosul, Iraq when he was hit by enemy fire while performing a combat mission. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment, 172nd Sryker Brigade Combat Team, Fort Wainwright, Alaska.

Frantz's platoon was conducting an operation in an area of Mosul known as "Bedrock." Frantz was in his Stryker vehicle protecting dismounted members of his platoon when he was attacked.

Frantz was an infantryman and Stryker vehicle commander assigned to Company A, 1st Battalion, 17th Infantry. He turned 22 on Tuesday.

Frantz's hometown of Tonganoxie, Kan., rallied around his family after his wife, Kelly, got word of his death. Kelly Frantz said in a Wednesday phone interview that flags around the small town were flying at half-staff. Even the Sonic Drive-in had changed its sign to read, "Thank you for serving our country Lucas."

Frantz's fellow squad members remembered him Wednesday in a news release issued by U.S. Army Alaska.

"Spc. Frantz was the kind of guy who would always help you out," said his platoon leader, 1st Lt. Randy Lewis. "He would never ask you for help, no matter what, but he was always helping others."

Spc. Toby Alsip said Frantz could fix anything.

"He was the biggest, strongest guy I ever knew," he said

Kelly Frantz said her husband was known for his build. It earned him the nickname "Killer" as a star linebacker on the Tonganoxie High School football team.

The Frantzes' love story also began in high school. Kelly Frantz said she was two years ahead of Lucas in school, where they knew each other but didn't date.

"But he always had a little bit of a crush on me," she said.

After Lucas graduated in 2002, he began working at the same grocery store as Kelly. She said they became friends, she eventually became interested in him and teased him about when he was going to ask her out. On their first date, they went to Taco Johns and walked around the high school track until 3 a.m.

"We knew we were meant to be," she said.

Kelly Frantz said her husband joined the Army Reserves in 2000 and went on active duty in May 2003. When Lucas returned from advanced individual training, he had two weeks in Tonganoxie before leaving for Fort Wainwright. Kelly said in those two weeks they got engaged and then married.

"It was a perfect love," Kelly said.

The two were together in Fairbanks until Lucas left with the rest of the brigade in August for a yearlong deployment. She returned to Tonganoxie and was able to talk to Lucas in Iraq once or twice a week.

She last spoke to him on Oct. 12 when they each had access to a Web cam and were able to see each other for the first time since Frantz left.

Kelly Frantz said the Tonganoxie High football team will retire Frantz's No. 69 at its game Friday. She said there are no plans for a memorial service or funeral yet, but she hopes to hold a service on the Veterans of Foreign Wars grounds to honor Frantz's service. It was where the couple had their wedding pictures taken and had planned to renew their vows when Frantz returned from Iraq.

Kelly Frantz spoke in a strong voice and said she had already talked to several newspapers and members of the media about her husband. She sometimes cried while talking about special memories but kept talking, adamant that she wanted to tell the story of her husband's life and service.

"He was a perfect soldier if there ever could be one," she said. "When he needed to be a husband, he was one. When he needed to be a friend, he was one. He went over there and fought and he died for our country and I don't want people to forget that."

Army Specialist Lucas A. Frantz was killed in action on 10/18/05.

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