Lucas Todd Pyeatt was born in Lakenheath, Suffolk, England on March 5th, 1986 to Lon Scott and Cynthia Louise Pyeatt currently of West Chester, Ohio. He is the little brother of Emily Nicole Smalley (and her husband Jon) of Hamilton, Ohio and the proud uncle of Emily’s two children Travis and Makenna. He is the grandson of Gene B. and Joyce T. Pyeatt, Sr., and of Jacqueline A. Gagne and Jimmie E. Baker. Luke, his father Scott and grandfather Gene are all proud members of American Legion Post 812.
Luke spent his early years travelling with his USAF family and lived in a number of locations including England, California, Germany, Texas, North Dakota and Ohio, but he proudly calls Newport News, Virginia his home. Luke and his family spent nine years in Virginia, and he graduated from Woodside High School in June of 2004. He attended college for a semester at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. As a youngster living in Virginia, Luke developed a keen interest in Civil War history, and he explored many of the national battlefields throughout the area. He enjoyed the challenges of school and excelled at history. Luke was an accomplished musician and played the string bass throughout his middle school and high school years. Another talent Luke developed was using sign language so that he could talk with one of his school friends. He became proficient enough to be able to act as his friend’s interpreter during school hours.
Luke is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and was active in his church and community. He was an avid member of the Boy Scouts of America, earning the rank of Eagle Scout and going on to become an Assistant Scout Master. Continuing his interest in history, Luke’s Eagle project involved restoration work at Endview Plantation, a Revolutionary and Civil War archaeological site in Newport News. He faithfully served in many church youth and adult leadership positions. At the age of 19, Luke was called to and served a church Russian language mission in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Luke deployed on January 19th, 2011 with the 2nd Radio Battalion, II MHG (1 MHG, I MEF Forward) and was assigned to Forward Operating Base Zeebrugge. As a member of a dismounted patrol, Corporal Pyeatt was killed in action at Machi Kehyl (Kajaki District), Helmand Province, Afghanistan on February 5th, 2011, exactly one month shy of his 25th birthday. This was Luke’s first deployment and first combat action. According to members of his unit, Luke volunteered for the patrol saying he wanted to know what his team members would be facing before they went into action. Luke died of multiple traumatic injuries sustained in an IED attack. Although he received immediate medical attention from the Navy corpsman in their patrol they were unable to obtain any vital signs, and Luke was declared dead at 6:10 AM that morning. Three other patrol members received collateral blast injuries, but thankfully none were killed.
A visitation for Luke and his family was held in West Chester, Ohio on Friday the 18th of February. A funeral service followed at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints on Saturday, the 19th of February. As was his wish, Luke was buried near his Virginia home along with his brothers and sisters in-arms at Arlington National Cemetery on February 28th, 2011. Following time-honored Marine Corps tradition, Luke has been in the constant company of his fellow Marines from the time he was carried off the battlefield.
Luke’s decorations include the Director of National Intelligence Medal of Valor, Purple Heart, Combat Action Ribbon, Navy & Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Good Conduct Medal, Global War on Terrorism Medal, Sea Services Ribbon, Iraq/Afghanistan Campaign Medal and the National Defense Service Ribbon. He was also recently added to the National Security Agency Memorial Wall.
In one of his final emails to us Luke wrote:
I’ll keep safe and keep my guys safe. If anything should happen to me though, just know that you’ve given me the best life I could have possibly had… that I’m happy, and that I’m here where I belong doing what I am supposed to be doing. I have no regrets. Sgt Lucas Todd Pyeatt