MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- For the last three years, Marines and families with 2nd Radio Battalion, II Marine Headquarters Group, run to remember their fallen brother, Sgt. Lucas Pyeatt, on the first Saturday of August.
Pyeatt, who was serving in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom as a cryptolinguist, was conducting a foot patrol with Marines from 5th Marine Regiment in February 2011 when he was killed by an improvised explosive device blast.
“We have about 650 Marines in our battalion, so when one of our Marines falls, it hits home,” said Lt. Col. Jon L. Bradley, commanding officer of 2nd Radio Bn. “We feel it’s fitting and appropriate to commemorate the run to Sgt. Pyeatt. We wanted to do something special to memorialize him and what he meant to the battalion, and all the other service members we have lost.”
The event consisted of a children’s 1K race, along with a 5 and 10K for adult participants.
Pyeatt’s father Scott, a retired Air Force officer, who served 30 years, and mother, Cindy, were in attendance for the run to support the participants, whose numbers have greatly grown since the first event.
Cindy said they are grateful and appreciate the outpour of support and love they have received from Marines within 2nd Radio Bn, 5th Marines, local recruiters in their hometown and those who have served with their son.
“What we appreciate, and what we’ve come to know and love, is the Marine Corps culture,” Scott said. “The Marines, they’re our family, and we mean that with all our heart. We learned from Luke how to love Marines.”
Bradley said Pyeatt is the only cryptologic linguist who has been killed in action in Afghanistan. Cryptologic linguists are responsible for monitoring and translating data to detect and locate possible threats.
“He was not perfect, but honest to goodness, he was the kind of person most of us want to be,” Cindy said. “We want to be the kind of person who when we’re gone people will say, ‘Oh no, this was the real deal.’”
Pyeatt was a college student when he learned a childhood friend had been killed in action.
“We went out to dinner and he said, ‘Mom, there’s something I have to tell you,’ and I knew,” Cindy said. “He said, ‘This is my responsibility. I can’t go to school and let other people serve.’”
Scott said he understood because of his military career, and he was very proud of his son and what he accomplished. He remembers him saying, “This is my war, not my dad’s war.”
TJ McAnich, a former Marine Corps sergeant who served with Pyeatt in Afghanistan, was also in attendance.
McAnich described Pyeatt as smart and well spoken. “He was a Marine who wasn’t afraid to look anyone in the eye, nor did he shy away from admitting when he was wrong.”
“He garnered respect not because of some imposing authority, but because of the content of his character,” McAnich said. “He was a real man about things.”
Pyeatt was posthumously promoted to the rank of sergeant and awarded the Purple Heart, the oldest military award given to those who are wounded or killed in action.
Bradley said he hopes this tradition remind members in with the battalion what their mission is and will continue in years to come as a way to commemorate the fallen service members.
“Radio battalion exists, intelligence exists, to support that Marine on the ground, so that Marine knows where the enemy is, where the threat is, so they can come back alive,” Bradley said. “He was out there on the street, on patrol with his Marines doing his job. That’s the legacy to me, because our job is to support our brothers and sisters, and that could mean laying it all on the line like Lucas did.”