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Imagine having your body littered with over 200 pieces of shrapnel, some the size of a .22 caliber round, for the rest of your life. Sucks? Well not for Mr. Jacklyn H. Lucas who at age 14 enlisted in the Marine Corps. Lucas was 14, enlisted, lied about his age, and forged his mothers name just to be part of the baddest gun club in the world.
Well on January 10th, 1945, Lucas was getting a little bored in Hawaii where he was a heavy machine gun crewman part of 6th Base Depot of the V Amphibious Corps. So what does Lucas do? What any go getting body slaying bullet chewing man would do……..He got the hell out of there and went UA
But seriously he went UA….for a good reason. He wanted to get his ass in the grass with the rest of the grunts. So Lucas walked out of camp to join a combat unit wearing his khaki uniform and carrying his dungarees and field shoes under his arm. The military declared him UA when he failed to return that night and then they reduced his rank to private. Where did he go, you ask? Well turns out Lucas hopped on board the USS Deuel which at the time was taking 1st Battalion, 26th Marine Regiment to Iwo Jima. On February 8th, the day before the Marine Corps would have listed him as a “Deserter”, he turned himself in to a Marine Captain Robert Dunlap who was the commanding officer of C Company. He was assign to Dunlap’s rifle company as a rifleman. Lucas turned 17 five days before the invasion of Iwo Jima began.
February 19th, Lucas made the landing on Iwo Jima with C Company, 1st Battalion, 26th Marines. On February 20th, Lucas and three Marines who were part of his fire team were creeping through a ravine towards when they spotted an enemy pillbox and slid into a trench for cover. They spotted 11 Japanese soldiers in a trench parallel to their position and opened up on them with rifle fire. The Japanese opened fire and threw two grenades inside of Lucas’s trench. Lucas spotted the grenades on the ground in front of his team and yelled “grenades”, he then jumped over a Marine and grabbed the grenade jamming one of them into the volcanic ash and covering it with his body while reaching out to grab the second one. The first grenade exploded, hurling Lucas on his back, severely wounding him in the right arm, wrist, right leg and thigh, and his chest. He was still conscious and hardly even alive after the blast sent him flying, but holding in his other hand was the second grenade, which didn’t explode. His team were all unharmed due to his actions that day and the Japanese soldiers in their trench were all killed. Having thought Lucas was dead, they moved on, but a Navy Corpsman came along tending to his wounds, and fighting off 2 more Japanese soldiers alone in the trench. He was transported back to the states and was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions on Iwo Jima.
But wait there is more! After all that crazy stuff happened he joined the U.S. Army in 1961 to become a paratrooper, just to conquer his fear of heights, and survived a training jump in with both of his parachutes didn’t open. Crazy shit right? He volunteered for Vietnam but wasn’t allowed to go for whatever reason and ended his time as a Captain in 1965 training troops for the Vietnam War. Badass mofo if you ask me. Joined at 14, Iwo Jima at 17, covered 2 grenades with his body, Medal of Honor, said I’m not done yet, joined the Army and had 2 parachutes fail to open, slamming his body into the ground AND LIVED. Jacklyn H. Lucas passed away on June 5, 2008. This is what America needs…..more people like him.