Regarding the Sept. 28 cover article about Army Capt. Dan Luckett (“Still fit to fight”): I thought it relevant to fill in the missing facts here. As a former captain myself, I was stationed in Baumholder, Germany, for more than four years and served two tours in Iraq. I met countless extraordinary soldiers during my short tenure in the Army, but none quite as prodigious as Dan Luckett.
I attended college with Dan, where I saw firsthand his unbounded potential. While somewhat raucous at times, Dan excelled in ROTC, graduating as one of the top cadets in his class. After finishing Ranger School and the usual infantry officer basic courses, Dan deployed to Iraq, where his seemingly life-changing injury occurred. However, that’s where the story takes a turn — for the better.
Any other person, regardless of physical fitness or mental toughness, would have allowed a double-amputation to change his life, but not Dan. Since I was deployed at the time, my wife Abby, also a captain, was the first friend or family member to visit Dan upon his arrival at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, en route to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington. I’ll never forget speaking to her afterward and her consternation at his ostensibly Spartan demeanor.
My mother-in-law, having seen all sorts of war injuries throughout her 17-year tenure as a nurse at Landstuhl, was also astounded by this resiliency. As she recalled, “I kept expecting ‘reality’ to hit him, but it never did.”
Finally, as a testament to his character, after what seemed to the rest of us like a quick recovery, Dan was awarded the U.S. Army’s premier award for leadership, the Gen. Douglas MacArthur Award, only a year after his release from the hospital. To quote the popular radio commentator Paul Harvey, “now you know the rest of the story.”
Every soldier’s death is news
I want to thank you for mentioning the death of a soldier in our brigade. Granted it was a small blurb, actually a side note, in another story (“U.S. soldier held in Iraq in slayings of fellow GIs,” article, Sept. 29).
I get that the killing of soldiers by another soldier is headline-worthy. But I also feel that the death of one of our own should not be treated so insignificantly.
A whole brigade’s worth of troops read your paper daily. We know when one of ours passes and to have it handled the way it was seems to be a slap in the face of all of us.
Staff Sgt. Phillip Cacciatore
Camp Arifjan, Kuwait