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John Hooker, a civilian with the Army Materiel Command, holds up his winning check from the Washington state lottery.
John Hooker, a civilian with the Army Materiel Command, holds up his winning check from the Washington state lottery. (Photo courtesy of Washington Lottery)

Some people think they’re lucky just to be leaving Iraq. John Hooker went them one better.

The Department of the Army civilian, who until Friday was in Mosul, attached to the 3-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team out of Fort Lewis, Wash., hit the state’s “Lucky for Life” lottery with a ticket he bought that same day he touched down.

His winnings: “jackpots” of $20,000 and $2. Hooker will take home $15,150.

Hooker, 51, of Olympia, is a regular lottery player who lets the machine pick his numbers. Despite having a lot of time to think about winning, he’s not sure what he’ll do with his take just yet.

“I’ll put it in the bank for now, but eventually I’ll buy a car,” Hooker said. “That’s what I was saving for anyway.”

An 11-year Stock Control and Accounting Specialist (76P) Army veteran, Hooker left the service in 1983 as an E-5.

Hooker is unmarried, and has yet to hear from any family members or long-lost friends.

“I just found out on Saturday,” he said.

As for his 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division friends still in Iraq?

“Tell them I’m doing well and I wish them the best. They’ll be home soon, too.”

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