A mounted patrol from Weapons Company was attacked by an IED, resulting in one Marine killed and two Marines wounded.
Indiana native killed in Iraq
April 28, 2006
Corporal Eric R Lueken, 23, of Dubois, Ind., died April 22 while conducting combat operations against enemy forces in Al Anbar province, Iraq.
Lueken was a field radio operator with 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, stationed at Marine Corps Base Hawaii.
Lueken joined the Marine Corps Oct. 2003 and reported to Hawaii May 2004. He deployed to Iraq March 2006. He also deployed to Afghanistan with 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment from Nov. 2004 to June 2005.
His awards include the Purple Heart, two Combat Action Ribbons, National Defense Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and the Sea Service Deployment ribbon.
Lueken is survived by his parents and brother.
Source: Marine Corps Base Hawaii
DoD Identifies Marine Casualty
IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 347-06
April 24, 2006
DoD Identifies Marine Casualty
The Department of Defense announced today the death of a Marine who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Cpl. Eric R. Lueken, 23, of Dubois, Ind., died April 22 while conducting combat operations against enemy forces in Al Anbar province, Iraq. He was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii.
Media with questions about this Marine can call the Hawaii Public Affairs Office at (808) 257-8870/71.
Source: Department of Defense
Two Kane’ohe Marines killed in separate missions in Iraq
By Eloise Aguiar | Advertiser Windward O’ahu Writer | Tuesday, April 25, 2006
KANE’OHE — Two Hawai’i-based Marines were killed last week in separate incidents while on duty in the Al Anbar province of Iraq.
Staff Sgt. Jason C. Ramseyer, 28, of Lenoir, N.C., and Cpl. Eric Lueken, 23, of Dubois, Ind., were assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment stationed at Marine Corps Base Hawai’i.
Their families yesterday recalled the pride both men took in serving as Marines and how each had been eagerly making plans for the future.
Ramseyer was set to re-enlist in a post that would allow him to spend more time with his wife and two girls, ages 2 and 3. Lueken was engaged to marry upon return in October.
Lueken and Ramseyer were deployed to Iraq in March, nine months after returning from a deployment to Afghanistan that went from November 2004 to June 2005.
Lueken, a field radio operator, was mortally wounded Saturday by an improvised device while in a convoy. Ramseyer was on a foot patrol, said 2nd Lt. Binford Strickland of the Marine Corps base.
A total of 54 Marines and three sailors based at Kane’ohe Bay have been killed in the Middle East since 2004, Strickland said.
‘OUR FUTURE … IS GONE’
Lueken graduated from high school in 2001 and decided to join the Marine Corps in 2003, according to The Herald in Jasper, Ind.
While growing up in a rural area, Lueken took life in stride, playing hard to win but never dwelling on losses, said his mother, Melinda Lueken. Serving in Afghanistan, however, changed his attitude about life and he was not taking it for granted anymore, she said.
The children there had touched his heart, she said. His father, Glenn Lueken, added that his son hated to see the way the children had to live.
Melinda Lueken said, “He wanted to achieve something for himself and he did.” She added, “He was just a country boy who liked hunting and fishing but he wanted to do something with his life and he didn’t want to always stick around here in the little town of Dubois.”
Lueken’s fiancee, Ericka Merkel, 21, said she and Lueken were childhood friends. Their relationship blossomed when he was in Afghanistan and she decided to e-mail him to see how he was doing.
“Our e-mails went from once a week to two to three times a week then to every day,” she said. “By the time he came home, we were talking about dating.”
Lueken sent flowers every month and thoughtful gifts, Merkel said.
“Once he joined the Marine Corps all of his needs, they were second,” she said. “Everybody else’s needs were first. He never put himself first. Even in Iraq he said: ‘I’m praying for you.’ He was never praying for himself.”
Merkel said Lueken was a hero and she is proud of him.
“He always told me he wanted to be my superhero,” she said, adding that they were planning to marry when he returned after the Iraq deployment and she then would have moved to Hawai’i. “It’s hard because our future together is gone.”
Lt. Col. Norm Cooling, commanding officer of the 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, also known as the “American Battalion,” described both Ramseyer and Lueken as “very proficient and popular” Marines.
“To lose them in two separate missions and in two different areas, yet so closely together in time, makes it even more difficult for all of us. But we have a mission to do and they would want us to see it through,” Cooling said yesterday by e-mail.
“We are committed to reducing violence in this area while creating self-sufficient Iraqi Security Forces to eventually take the place of Coalition Forces here. Our hearts and prayers go out to the Ramseyer and Lueken families,” he said.
Copyright © Honolulu Advertiser 2006
Small Indiana Town Remembers Fallen Marine
National Public Radio Morning Edition
May 11, 2006
Copyright © National Public Radio 2006
House of Representatives: Honoring Corporal Eric R. Lueken
June 8, 2006
Representative Mike Sodrel (R, IN): “Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor a young man, a Marine from my district who served with the 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force in Iraq.
“Corporal Eric R. Lueken of Dubois, Indiana joined the Marines in 2003. He served in Afghanistan from November 2004 to June 2005. On March 11, 2006, he left for service in Iraq. Eric grew up on the family poultry farm, played basketball at Northeast Dubois High School, and joined the Marines because he wanted to do something he could be proud of.
“Corporal Leuken’s [sic] mother, Melinda Lueken, said he wanted to achieve something for himself and he did. He was just a country boy. He liked hunting and fishing. But he wanted to do something with his life and he did not want to always stick around here in the little town of Dubois.
“Lueken’s fiancee, Ericka Merkel, said, “Once he joined the Marine Corps, all of his needs, they were second. Everybody else’s needs were first. He never put himself first.” Even in Iraq he said, “I am praying for you.” He was never praying for himself.
“This Memorial Day, Mr. Speaker, adds special meaning for me. Corporal Lueken was killed on April 22, 2006 when his convoy was the target of an improvised explosive device in Iraq’s Anbar Province.
“Corporal Lueken was a field radio operator. He was only 23 years old. Mr. Speaker, I attended the memorial services for Corporal Lueken and witnessed an incredible outpouring of affection and gratitude from the people of Dubois County, Indiana, from the people who knew Eric best.
“The Marine Honor Guard, Marine Corps Association, VFW, American Legion and other Armed Services members, current and past, traveled great distances to show their respect and support for his friends, his fiancee and his family.
“Like so many young men and women who choose to serve our country, it is clear to me, Corporal Eric Lueken embodied the very best of what makes this country great. Corporal Lueken’s sacrifice, his commitment to his faith, his family, and his country was unwavering.
“Semper Fidelis, always faithful, at home, in Afghanistan, and Iraq. Southern Indiana has lost a remarkable young man. My thoughts and prayers are with the Lueken family and with all of many men and women of the United States Armed Forces who defend liberty around the world.”
Source: Congressional Record