Monday, June 07, 2010

Army Sgt. Joshua A. Lukeala

Remember Our Heroes

Army Sgt. Joshua A. Lukeala, 23, of Yigo, Guam

Sgt. Lukeala was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Ky; died June 7, 2010 in Konar, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked his vehicle with an improvised explosive device. Also killed in the attack were Spc. Matthew R. Catlett, Spc. Charles S. Jirtle and Spc. Blaine E. Redding.

Joshua Akoni Sablan Lukeala, a 23-year-old Army sergeant originally from Yigo, Guam died while in combat, according to family members. He was fatally injured when the Humvee he was in ran over a roadside bomb.

His parents, Anthony and Dorothy Lukeala, said they learned of their son's death Tuesday. Yesterday, relatives gathered at their Yigo home to support the family and help prepare for rosary prayers.

Joshua Lukeala is survived by his wife, Deniece Nave Lukeala, and their 3-year-old daughter, Maiya.

Joining the Army was the obvious path for Lukeala, who followed in the footsteps of his father and uncles who served in the military.

He joined the service shortly after graduating from Simon Sanchez High School in 2005.

"He made me proud, knowing that he wanted to serve in the military," said Anthony Lukeala, who retired after 24 years of service with the Hawaii and Guam National Guard.

Before starting his tour in Afghanistan, Joshua Lukeala had survived a tour in Iraq, where he was injured. He was awarded the Purple Heart, his mother said.

Dorothy Lukeala said injuries that affected her son's hearing didn't stop him from wanting to be back with his fellow soldiers.

Joshua Lukeala started his tour in Afghanistan just last month as part of an infantry company with the Army's 101st Airborne Division.

His family last spoke to him less than two weeks ago during the Memorial Day weekend. "He said everything was OK, and I told him to take care and to make sure you do what you have to do to get home," said his younger brother, Anthony Keoni Lukeala.

The 16-year-old said his older brother was the reason he joined his school's Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps program.

Joshua Lukeala was a standout on Simon Sanchez High's JROTC marksmanship team, garnering several trophies for his shooting talent.

"He's the one who influenced me, who helped me be the person I am today," the younger Lukeala said. "Pretty soon, I'll be joining the military, too."

Joshua Lukeala was planning to visit the island again in September, his mother said.

Army Sgt. Joshua A. Lukeala was killed in action on 6/7/10.

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