Operation Iraqi Freedom, Fallen Heroes, Iraq War 03/19/03

Jeffrey A Lucas

Corbett, Oregon

June 28, 2005

Age Military Rank Unit/Location
33 Navy Petty Officer 1st Class

SEAL Team Ten

Virginia Beach, Virginia

 Killed while conducting combat operations when the MH-47 helicopter that they were aboard crashed in the vicinity of Asadabad, Afghanistan in Kumar Province

"Jeffrey Alan Lucas, 33, of Corbett, Oregon was killed Tuesday when the Chinook helicopter he was flying in crashed. Lucas' brother recalls that Lucas had an early inclination about what he wanted to spend his life doing. "He wrote a paper in about fourth grade, and it was all about the special forces." Lucas and his wife, Rhonda, were married for 12 years, and they have a 4-year-old son, Seth. He was an avid golfer and had hoped some day to go pro. Jeff Lucas left these instructions in case he died: Cremate my body. Bury me at Arlington. No "$%$%" bagpipes at my funeral. The rest, he wrote, "my wife knows"."

For Memorial Service Snapshots Click Photo Below

August 27, 2005

Jeff Lucas Memorial Stadium Construction Photos. Click Photo Below

July 3, 2010 to September 4, 2010

Jeffrey Lucas Memorial Dinner Fundraiser Snapshots

April 26, 2008

Jeff Lucas Memorial Official Site
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Stolen Medals Replaced, Click photo below:

January 7. 2016

Jeff Lucas Memorial Veterans Stadium Memorial Day Cleanup 2016

From The Portland Tribune portlandtribune.com 01/18/14

'Lone Survivor' a painful reminder for Corbett family

Created on Saturday, 18 January 2014 21:52 | Written by Cari Hachmann

Jeffrey Lucas of Corbett went down in a helicopter trying to save fellow Navy Seals

“Lone Survivor,” the gripping new war film starring Mark Wahlberg, has a local tie.
The movie, directed by Peter Berg (“Friday Night Lights”) and based on a book written by the real lone survivor, Marcus Luttrell, tells the story of four U.S. Navy Seals on a covert mission in 2005 Afghanistan that turns deadly when they are ambushed by enemy forces.

Adding to the mission gone awry, a helicopter carrying eight Navy Seals and eight Army Night Stalkers sent to rescue the stranded Seals was shot down by a rocket propelled grenade, killing everyone on board.

Nineteen servicemen lost their lives on the mountain that June during the mission, Operation Red Wings.

One of them was 33-year-old Jeffrey Lucas of Corbett.

Petty Officer 1st Class Lucas was a member of Seal Team 10, and on the helicopter bound to help extract his teammates on the mountain.
A photo of Lucas appears at the end of the film, along with fellow servicemen who were killed.

Lucas would have turned 42 on Sept. 17, 2013. He is survived by his wife, Rhonda, and son, Seth, now 13, who live in Virginia Beach, Va. Lucas’s brother Jamie Lucas, and his wife, Indy, live in Corbett, as does their mother, Pat Lucas.

After a five-year effort to honor Lucas, who graduated from Corbett High School in 1989, a stadium was dedicated in his name — the Jeff Lucas Memorial Stadium — on Sept. 4, 2010.

‘We lived it’

Jamie Lucas said he’s not in any hurry to see the movie that portrays the story of his older brother’s death.

“You could ask any family member that was involved with the situation,” he said. “We lived it.”

“Lone Survivor” has grossed $38.2 million since it opened in theaters Jan. 10.

Jamie said he doesn’t want to take anything away from people going to see the movie. Go see it, he said.

“Maybe it can help other people to understand what happened.”

But for him and his family, the book and movie is Marcus Luttrell’s story, not his brother’s.

“If it goes by the way the book is written, it doesn’t really honor everybody involved that actually died,” Jamie said. “It’s really about him and him honoring the group he was with.”

Under the direction of Lt. Commander Erik Kristensen, Luttrell, played by Mark Wahlburg, and his fellow Seals — Michael Murphy (Taylor Kitsch), Matthew “Axe” Axelson (Ben Foster) and Danny Dietz (Emile Hirsch) — are on a special mission to identify Ahmad Shah, a key Taliban loyalist responsible for the deaths of many American service members and believed to be hiding out in the remote mountainous terrain of the Kunar province.

In the movie, when three goat herders and their animals stumble across the men’s hiding place, the mission is immediately compromised and the Seals must abort. The men are forced to make an impossible moral decision: to kill the three captives, tie them up and leave them to die in the mountains or release them and be found out.

They choose the latter. By the time the four Seals retreat up the mountain to safety, they’re gunned down by Taliban forces and forced deeper into treacherous terrain.

After a more than three-hour battle, his brothers-in-arms are killed and Luttrell is the lone survivor. Half-dead, he is rescued by a Pashtun villager whose tribe lives by an ancient code of honor that mandates protection for a person in imminent danger of his enemies.

Much to the risk of his family and fellow villagers, Gulab fights to keep Luttrell safe until he is finally rescued by American forces.

See the movie, brother urges

Jamie Lucas encourages people to go see the movie: “I’m glad he made it.”
His mother, Pat, is trying to escape the movie altogether.

“It was a horrible, horrible tragedy and the mission went really, really wrong,” said the mother of two sons who grew up and attended school in Corbett.

Everybody has his or her own version of what happened, she said.

She tried reading Luttrell’s book, but couldn’t.

Hollywood’s version obviously stretches the truth a bit.

In an online report (historyvshollywood.com) describing the differences between the movie and real life, Luttrell is quoted as saying in the The Daily Beast that in real life, he didn’t know the helicopter had gone down as he was hiding in a rock crevice at the time.

‘They need recognition’

Seth, the son Jeffrey left behind, is doing really well, Pat said.

“He asks about his daddy and he’s learning more about his daddy,” Pat said. “Rhonda does a wonderful job with him. I get to see him a couple times a year. I miss him and I miss Jeff terribly.”

Pat said her son and the 15 others on the helicopter gave up their lives to save their teammates.

“They need recognition,” she said, unable to hold back tears.

Jamie also hopes people will honor the unsung heroes, who in the movie are recognized only at the end of the film when their photos fill the big screen.

The 16 Special Operations members who stepped on the rescue helicopter and lost their lives on that fateful day, June 28, 2005, included eight U.S. Navy Seals — Erik Kristensen, Jeffrey Taylor, James Suh, Jacques Fontan, Jeffrey Lucas, Daniel Healy, Michael McGreevy Jr. and Shane Patton — and eight Army Night Stalkers — Stephen Reich, Michael Russell, Christopher Scherkenbach, James “Tre” Ponder III, Kip Jacoby, Marcus Muralles, Shamus Goare and Corey Goodnature.

On the Jeff Lucas Memorial page on Facebook, Candace Miller, a longtime family friend, said she saw “Lone Survivor.”

She wrote, “Knowing someone who was part of the mission makes you take a deep breath just to step into the theater ... Seeing Jeff’s face cover an entire movie theater screen was a very humbling and proud feeling at the same time.”

Jamie said his brother wouldn’t want any of the limelight, and “neither would the rest of them.”

“He just went in. He didn’t care. He saw a need. They knew there was a need. And they knew they might not come back,” Jamie said.

“I am very proud of my brother and I miss him every day.”

For him, every day is Veterans Day and Memorial Day.

Jamie said if people really want to honor those who have given their lives to serve, “There are a lot of things we can do here.”

Jamie and his wife have published “Ed the AED,” a book to help people save lives by learning CPR.

His brother is the main character and hero of the story.

For those still overseas, Jamie said, “We need to honor and respect them. We need to keep them in our thoughts.”
From The Oregonian oregonlive.com 09/03/10

Tiny community of Corbett creates a lasting monument to fallen Navy Seal Jeff Lucas

By The Oregonian/OregonLive 

CORBETT --The news of Jeff Lucas' death was only days old when James Sorensen and seven friends began handing out fliers at Corbett's annual Fourth of July celebration.
Let's build a grandstand at the Corbett High School football field. Let's name it in honor of the Navy Seal killed June 28, 2005, in Afghanistan. Let's build a memorial wall at its entrance to honor all veterans.

And the little community on a windswept edge of the Columbia River Gorge did. It raised $175,000, got thousands of dollars in donated material, and harnessed hours and hours of labor from hundreds of volunteers. Saturday, the community -- with the help of Patriot Guard riders, a Navy marching band and an admiral -- will dedicate the Jeff Lucas Veterans Memorial Stadium. All for a native son killed with 15 others during a mountain rescue attempt five years ago that led to the biggest single loss of Navy special forces since World War II.

"This is a legacy and a reminder not only about Jeff but about all veterans," said Sorensen. "To see this come to be -- although it is not sufficient -- would make Jeff feel good. But the broader point is to honor all those who serve."
The grandstand sits on a long slope, with a view of the Cascade foothills and Mount Hood. It replaces a splintered bleacher few used. The aluminum structure has a roof, seating for 400, lights and two rooms for coaches. Light poles have been painted white with Lucas' jersey number 44 stenciled on them. Goal posts got new paint, and the electronic scoreboard was refurbished.
Leading to the grandstand is a plaza of bricks with donors' names cut into them and 3-foot-high red brick wall with bronze plaques honoring Lucas and other veterans.

"It makes a statement," Sorensen said.

So does the stadium. Since 2001, 139 service members with connections to Oregon and southwest Washington have been killed in Iraq or Afghanistan. Valued at $300,000, the project led by Jeff Lucas' old high school friends is the largest memorial for any of them.

Lucas grew up on five acres carved out of his grandfather's homestead. With his younger brother, Jamie, they prowled the streams and forests.

"They had a whole lot of land to run and play," said his mother, Pat.

In grade school, Jeff Lucas wrote a paper about the military's special forces, declaring at the end he wanted to become a Navy Seal. In high school, although only 5-foot-8, he lettered all four years in football and basketball, and was named to the 1988 Class A All-State football team as a running back. He and Sorensen were among 60 kids in Corbett High's class of 1989.

Lucas wanted to play college football but was also drawn to the military. He went to a Navy summer camp before the start of his senior year, then headed to boot camp after graduation. A day after he left, Pat Lucas said, a scholarship offer from Linfield College arrived in the mail.

"But Jeff knew that was what he was supposed to be doing," his mother said.

Lucas became a Seal in 1994 and deployed to Kosovo, the Philippines and Sri Lanka. He married Rhonda Grimm and in 1999 transferred to Virginia Beach, Va. Their son, Seth, was born in 2001. With the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, his six-month deployments intensified.

On June 28, 2005, four Navy Seals looking for a Taliban leader in the Hindu Kush mountains of Afghanistan were attacked and overrun. A Chinook helicopter carrying Lucas, seven other Seals and eight Army Night Stalkers took off for the rescue with an escort of Army gunships. The Navy later said the weight of the gunships flying at 10,000 feet slowed the formation's advance, leading the Chinook to outrun its escort.

Knowing the four Seals on the ground were under fire, the Navy said the rescue team tried to land without cover from the gunships. A rocket-propelled grenade came through the open rear ramp, sending the Chinook to the bottom of a ravine and killing everyone onboard. Jeff Lucas was 33. Of the four Seals on the ground, only one survived.

Sorensen was traveling on business when Corbett classmate Randy Lee called with the news two days later. Lee, a building contractor and varsity girls' basketball coach, had known Lucas since kindergarten. On July 3, 2005, Sorensen, Lee and friends were at a backyard barbecue when they came up with the stadium idea. The next day at the big community parade, they started the campaign.

"We had nothing more than an idea at that point," Sorensen says. "I don't think anybody knew what it was going to take."

Lucas' friends fired up a website. They started a foundation. They organized a golf tournament -- golf had become Lucas' passion -- and raised $20,000. The next spring, they staged a dinner and auction that raised $30,000.

"That's when I knew we could do it," Sorensen said.

Six golf tournaments and three dinners followed.
The grandstand came in a $120,000 kit and resembled a giant Erector set. Corbett folks began calling in favors. The engineering and design were donated. So were the excavation, electrical services, sound system, landscaping, paint, gutters and metal trim, and wallboard for the booths. A volunteer photographer shot every stage of construction and posted images daily on the group's Facebook page.
Larry McDougall donated his summer.

McDougall, an ex-Marine who graduated three years before Lucas, works overseas in oil exploration and construction. Finished with a job in South Korea, McDougall came home, and the next day -- June 18 -- became the unofficial construction supervisor. Except for two days last week that his wife ruled were for vacation, he never missed a day, seven days a week.

"It's been a roller coaster of emotions," he said.

A big break came in July when the 142nd Civil Engineering Squadron of the Oregon Air National Guard, three months back from in Iraq, agreed to use its annual two-week training session to erect and bolt together the grandstand, a contribution valued at $55,000.

A community workday in late July drew 30 more volunteers. McDougall said one man showed up saying, "I don't have any money, but I can paint." McDougall gave him supplies and pointed him to the goal posts.

"Most people will give when they can and where they can," he said. "And if they can't give, they help."

Now, Pat Lucas, Sorensen, McDougall and Lee are struggling with how to thank donors and volunteers. Today's barbecue and ceremony will be one way. But there seem to be so many people to thank, said Pat Lucas, "in a community that always pulls together when there's a tragedy."

"Many of those who helped knew Jeff or are local supporters," Sorensen said. "Each one has a unique and interesting story for why they are involved. It has really been a fascinating process."

The process led Sorensen to reflect on why some projects work. Giving in a small community is more ingrained. Corbett supports its schools, the need for a grandstand is well known, and the Lucas family has deep roots.

"But at the end of the day, it was about Jeff Lucas, who he was and what he stood for," Sorensen said. "He had that extra notch of intensity, and that's what gets you there -- that extra work, that dedication."

Jeff Lucas might say the same thing about his friends in Corbett.

-- Quinton Smith
From Lindsi 12/20/05:

I totally love what you are doing. My family is still having a hard time with the loss of Jeff, my cousin. I only hope that all of the tribute pages can provide us all with a little comfort. Thank you again.

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