b. 02/10/1930 Washington DC. d. 23/07/1970 Fire Support Base Ripcord, Vietnam.
DATE OF MOH ACTION: 01-23/07/1970 Fire Support Base Ripcord, Vietnam.
Lucas was born in Washington D.C. His father William was a career Army officer who had fought in France during World War I. His mother Suzanne had been born in France and she sent him to her home town there to receive his secondary education. Lucas enlisted in the Army on June 30, 1948 and was assigned to the same company in the 26th Infantry Regiment that his father had commanded during the World War I. He received an at-large presidential appointment to the United States Military Academy, graduating with a B.S. degree in 1954. After receiving his Army commission, he attended the Infantry, Ranger and Airborne Schools. Lucas later graduated from the Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth in 1965 and L’École d’état-major (the French Staff Academy) in Paris in 1966.
Lucas married Madeleine Mae Miller, who was also fluent in French because of Swiss-French parentage. They had two sons. He was a Lieutenant Colonel with the U.S. Army, 2d Battalion, 506th Infantry, 101st Airborne Division and was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism at Fire Support Base Ripcord, Republic of Vietnam, July 1-23, 1970. His family was presented with his posthumous Medal of Honor on July 17, 1974 by Vice President Gerald R. Ford at Blair House.
Lt. Col. Lucas distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism while serving as the commanding officer of the 2d Battalion. Although the fire base was constantly subjected to heavy attacks by a numerically superior enemy force throughout this period, Lt. Col. Lucas, forsaking his own safety, performed numerous acts of extraordinary valor in directing the defense of the allied position. On one occasion, he flew in a helicopter at treetop level above an entrenched enemy directing the fire of one of his companies for over three hours. Even though his helicopter was heavily damaged by enemy fire, he remained in an exposed position until the company expended its supply of grenades. He then transferred to another helicopter, dropped critically needed grenades to the troops, and resumed his perilous mission of directing fire on the enemy. These courageous actions by Lt. Col. Lucas prevented the company from being encircled and destroyed by a larger enemy force. On another occasion, Lt. Col. Lucas attempted to rescue a crewman trapped in a burning helicopter. As the flames in the aircraft spread, and enemy fire became intense, Lt. Col. Lucas ordered all members of the rescue party to safety. Then, at great personal risk, he continued the rescue effort amid concentrated enemy mortar fire, intense heat, and exploding ammunition until the aircraft was completely engulfed in flames. Lt. Col. Lucas was mortally wounded while directing the successful withdrawal of his battalion from the fire base. His actions throughout this extended period inspired his men to heroic efforts, and were instrumental in saving the lives of many of his fellow soldiers while inflicting heavy casualties on the enemy. Lt. Col. Lucas’ conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action, at the cost of his own life, were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit on him, his unit, and the U.S. Army.
BURIAL LOCATION: US MILITARY ACADEMY CEMETERY, WEST POINT, NEW YORK.
SECTION VII, ROW C, GRAVE 160.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: FAMILY.