Dear Rudy and Operation Valor,
I really want to say thank you for all the time and consideration that you and everyone with “Operation Valor” have put into this hunt. You have no idea how much this means to my husband. I apologize for this taking so long to get back to you and to tell you a little bit about Luke. Luke has TBI that affects his memory, we have been working on it and I was hoping that he would not forget to give you the pictures. He really had trouble with working the scanner so I finally decided that I would send you the pictures. I want to tell you a little bit about what happened to him, because I know that he would just say “I was in the Army”. I have been married to Luke for 25 years, so I have been with him through the thick and the thin of it all.
Luke first joined the military in 1986 and went to Ft. Benning, Georgia. He was 11-Bravo. He was attached to 4/6 Reg. 5th ID in “Operation Just Cause”, then “Operation Desert Storm”, “Operation Iraqi Freedom”, and “Operation Enduring Freedom”. During “Operation Just Cause” Luke was wounded by the PDF from a machine gun fire blasts and hand grenades that hit him and the surrounding walls when the PDF forces attacked his M- 113, while Luke’s platoon were clearing buildings. After “Operation Desert Storm” Luke decided to go to Bible College. Luke served for nine years on the mission field along with me and our three children. After 9-11 Luke felt called to go back in the military, not as a Chaplain, nor as 11-B, but as a Medic. After going to Ft. Sam Houston, his MOS became 91-W. He asked to be attached to an 11-Bravo unit since he had experience in infantry. During Luke’s deployment in Iraq he was wounded a second time as he was transporting a wounded soldier when they were hit by a mortar round. After being flown to Landstuhl, Germany and stabilized he was then sent to Walter Reed and eventually arrived at Sam Houston for the duration of his recovery. In January of 2009 Luke was placed on permanent disability retirement.
As his wife I am very proud of him, Luke never gives up nor complains; he is a patriot in every sense of the word. He has always thought of others before he thinks of himself. Both times he was wounded his fellow soldiers had to tell him to stop and that he was wounded, because he was thinking of the other soldiers and the civilians that may have been hurt. Luke does not like talking about exactly what happened, but he loves to tell the funny stories and I am sure you will hear them. Luke has so many accommodations’, both from the first time he served and from the second time he served, but he won’t tell anyone, He just says he should have “zigged when he zagged” if some asks. I am the one that does the bragging on his behalf, but I still have to be careful on how much info I give out. It wasn’t till 2010 that I finally convinced him to go ahead and get a “Purple Heart” license plate, because it saved us money. Even after rejoining the military in 2002 and going through his 91-W MOS training he did not tell any of the other soldiers and his commanders that he had his CIB , Purple Heart and a Bronze Star. Until one of the commanders read his file and made him sew on his CIB patch and then when he was awarded “Exemplary Soldier” of his graduating class he had to put on all of his accommodation medals, you should have seen the faces of the drill sergeants who were clueless that one of their training soldiers had more ribbons and was more decorated them they were, (as his wife I thought that was quite humorous).
My point about this last paragraph has everything to do with that Luke will not talk about what he has done or not done, what he has accomplished or what was awarded him and why. When you look at him you will not see any visible wounds (the Lord has graciously healed those). Although he is always in a lot of pain both physically and mentally. He will try to keep up and he will make jokes about it, but as his wife I sometimes wish I could shout out to everyone what a wonderful man he is and tell everyone of his heroics, but that would bother him greatly because he does not like attention drawn to him. The only reason why he is going on this trip is because he loves to hunt and we convinced that he deserves this. He cannot see very well and is losing his eyesight because of the shrap metal that is still lodged behind his retina along with the constant pain from his spinal injuries from the mortar blasts. I don’t know how many more hunts Luke will be able to go on, he has 20/20 where he can see and is dead on when he can focus in that small area.
Luke has never gotten anything worth hanging up and I know that would mean so much for him if he gets that opportunity down his line of fire. .
I am sorry that I have gone on and on, but I want to again tell you thank you from the bottom of my heart and to let you know that you have a very special man and that I really appreciate you all!
With my Sincerest Thanks
Luke’s wife – Tamara