Saturday, February 05, 2011

Marine Cpl. Lucas T. Pyeatt

Remember Our Heroes

Marine Cpl. Lucas T. Pyeatt, 24, of West Chester, Ohio

Cpl Pyeatt was assigned to 2nd Radio Battalion, II Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.; died Feb. 5, 2011 while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

Marine corporal from Newport News killed in Afghanistan

A Marine corporal who grew up in Newport News was killed in combat in Afghanistan this weekend.

Lucas T. Pyeatt would have turned 25 next month. This was his first deployment since joining the Marines in 2007, and his unit, which had been in Afghanistan about a week, was on its first patrol when Pyeatt died Saturday morning in the southern province of Helmand.

A 2004 graduate of Woodside High School, he was assigned to the 2nd Radio Battalion, II Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group, II Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Lejeune, N.C.

His mother, Cindy Pyeatt, said her son hoped eventually to become a Navy SEAL. She said he joined the military after a close friend in the Army was killed in Iraq. “Luke said, 'This isn’t for other people to do. It’s for me to do.’”

Pyeatt was born in 1986 in England, where his father, Lon Scott, was stationed with the Air Force. He moved with his parents and older sister to Newport News in 1995 when his father was reassigned to Langley Air Force Base.

As a kid, he taught himself sign language, played the string bass and loved the Boy Scouts, eventually making Eagle Scout. He also was active in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

After high school, he briefly attended Old Dominion University before his father retired from the Air Force and the family left for Ohio.

Soon afterward, Pyeatt applied to go on a mission through the Mormon Church. He was sent to St. Petersburg, Russia, but was forced to come home early for medical reasons, his family said.

He was devastated that the mission ended so soon but not deterred, said Bryan Call, a close friend.

“He decided to just take it as a sign that he was needed here,” said Call, now a student at Virginia Tech. “So he did missionary work at home.”

Call added, “You live a very rigid lifestyle during your mission, and Luke continued to live that way even though he didn’t have to. I think he wanted to make sacrifices for things that were bigger than himself.”

That’s what appealed to Pyeatt about the Marine Corps, his mother said. He joined in April 2007. Before Camp Lejeune, he spent time at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, Calif., where he improved on the Russian he’d learned while preparing for his church mission.

His mother said the one thing Pyeatt didn’t like about the military was that it kept him from his family, especially his sister’s two young children.

“He was always torn about that,” she said. “He loved the Marines, but he hated being so far away.”

Others who knew him described Pyeatt as someone always willing to help a friend – always the one buddies called when they needed rides home after one too many beers, always the one looked to for advice.

He rode a motorcycle and dreamed of running his own ranch after retiring from the military, his family said.

“I’m not going to say he was perfect,” his mother said. “He made plenty of mistakes. … But he always took responsibility when he was wrong. He was never afraid to look anyone in the eye.”

Cpl. Pyeatt’s body arrived Monday night at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.

His family plans to hold a memorial service later this month in Ohio. Pyeatt will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

Marine Cpl. Lucas T. Pyeatt was killed in action on 2/5/11.

No comments: