Jeffrey Lucas Family Interview
Pat Lucas is the mother of Navy SEAL Jeffrey Lucas who was killed in action on June 28, 2005 during Operation Redwing. Ms. Lucas resides in Corbett, Oregon.
LSN: What was he like as a child? What were some of his hobbies and interests growing up?
PL: He and his brother played outside a lot and they had their friends over. Jeffrey wanted to be SEAL ever since he was in the third grade and I think they played “Army” quite a bit out in the woods. And they worked here on the farm. They worked in the hay, helped with the wood….everything to help support their family.
LSN: What kind of farming did you all do?
PL: Growing up we sold milk, we had milkcows. We raised pigs and my grandma raised chickens and the boys were old enough to collect the eggs and do some of those things and they helped with the cows. We had beef cows and they helped with those. Then Jeff’s grandpa and his brother and my dad’s brother-in-law were all loggers.
LSN: You said he wanted to be a SEAL since the third grade….how did he first learn about the SEALs?
PL: He must have been reading about them somewhere or something because he knew then that’s what he wanted to be because they were the best. Where he got that information and why he started so small I don’t know but that’s what he wanted to be….and he never wavered.
LSN: Did he have any other family members that were in the military?
PL: His uncle was, his father was, his grandpa was, his great-uncles were….his great-grandpa had been in World War I. Then my dad and that generation had been in the World War II. His dad was in during the Vietnam War and his uncle was also in during the Vietnam War and in fact went to Vietnam…his dad did not.
LSN: I understand he was a pretty good athlete growing up also?
PL: He wa a really good athlete. It seemed like he could play and do any game or any activity and he always did it to the best of his ability. He liked to win so he pushed and pushed and he did well at all sports.
LSN: Whed did he join the SEALs, was it straight out of high school?
PL: Straight out of high school in 1989. He went in in August when he was 17 years old.
LSN: What were the family’s thoughts on him joining the SEALs?
PL: Very supportive. If that’s what he wanted then that’s what he should do. He did his basic in Florida then he went to Chicago I believe for his Electronics Specialist training. Then he went to BUD/S in Miramar.
LSN: Did you know much about his activities while he was in the SEALs?
PL: No. It was all pretty secretive.
LSN: How long had he deployed in Afghanistan before Operation RedWings took place?
PL: I don’t know if he had been there before. I assume he had been there before because he had been gone for a little bit. His family….his wife and son and I got to go to Florida for Spring Break and when we came back from Spring Break he was supposed to leave for Afghanistatn in about a month but then something happened and he got called up much, much earlier and he left right away.
LSN: Did he ever serve anytime in Iraq before that?
PL: I don’t know.
LSN: How did you first hear about Redwing and the crash?
PL: His wife called at 5:00 in the morning and said that there was a helicopter that had been shot down and was missing. Everybody talks….all of the SEALs and their familiies talk a lot and they thought that Jeff was on it. I tried to get to Virginia as fast as I could and my youngest took care of things here….and from then on I don’t really remember a lot.
LSN: Jeff had just one brother right?
PL: Yes, he’s a year and half younger and his name is Jamie. He’s a paramedic firefighter and recently he has been trying to figure out if he wants to go into the Army Reserves but he’s had a lot of things to do and he hasn’t gone yet, but if he goes I will be supportive of him as well because he should also do what he wants to do and if he wants to go overseas then I would not stop him. He wants to be a medic on a helicopter.
LSN: What were your thoughts on the Lone Survivor book? Have you read it?
PL: I haven’t read it through. I’ve read parts of it but I haven’t been able to get through it yet. If that’s what happened to Marcus I’m very glad that there was a survivor and I praise the Lord for that. It must have been an horrific thing to be in and live through but I’m so glad he’s okay. I just hope and pray that he returns to a normal life and can continue and I appreciate what he’s doing in Texas.
LSN: Do you know Marcus very well? Do you ever speak with him?
PL: I have spoken with him but he’s pretty quiet and reserved (Laughs). I don’t know if that’s what he was before but his mom sure is a dynamo and I enjoyed meeting with her the times that I’ve had the opportunity to do so.
LSN: Now did you get to go down to the Lone Survivor Foundation gala in Texas recently?
PL: We didn’t get to. Jeffrey’s friends have been holding golf tournaments since he died and they’ve had those on June 28. They’ve been trying to earn money to build a football stadium in his honor in Corbett and this year it’s being dedicated. It will be completed on September 4th.
LSN: How much money was raised for that?
PL: $175,000 so far. They have a website…jefflucasmemorial.com.
LSN: What are your thoughts about the upcoming movie?
PL: I know that there is one in the making but I haven’t heard that much about it. I hope that the benefits from the movie would go to continue to help support some of the families and their children because evidently there’s a lot of the Army wives and families that are really struggling and there may be some of the SEAL wives that are struggling and having a really hard time as well. So that’s what I would hope…that people get the help that they need. I think it’s a wonderful idea. I hope it’s pretty true and not just a Hollywood story.
LSN: It sounds like it will be pretty true to what actually what happened. I’ve heard that Marcus has a lot to do with it and the guy that’s directing it, Peter Berg, sounds like he’s really committed to it. Has he spoken with you?
PL: He has not, but we have a friend that is an actor and I talked to him a couple of times and he has worked with him a lot and so he was pretty excited about what was going on with it. Maybe he’ll be in it I don’t know.
LSN: What’s his name, do you mind saying?
PL: His name is Matt Dotson. (Facebook page).
LSN: When was the last time you spoke with Jeff?
PL: The last time I saw him was in Florida on Spring Break. I think it was the next to the last week in March and we took a road trip to DisneyWorld. Then we came back and we had a really good visit and I think that he knew and I know and Rhonda and Seth and Jamie know that he loved us very much….and that he was a hero to this country.
LSN: He absolutely was. Seth was his only child right?
PL: Yes. He’s nine right now. He’s going to be ten in November…and he’s a super kid. They’re doing okay.
LSN: I know you’ve got a ton of great memories about Jeff…..is there maybe one or two memories that stand out to you as favorites?
PL: (Laughs) I guess I have one and that was when over at the house in the basement, we had heard some mice one night and Jeffrey heard them and got up and when Jamie and I went downstairs Jeff was shooting them off the wall with his bb gun and he hit them everytime (Laughs). He was an extremely good shooter. Now, he had a favorite memory. It was while he was in sniper school up in Wyoming and he went hunting and he shot and killed an antelope from 980 yards away.
LSN: Wow, he was a heckuva shot wasn’t he?
PL: (Laughs) I think so. He was a heckuva shot, a heckuva football player and basketball player and all those fun things. He had a really fun life and we were truly blessed.
LSN: Thank you for speaking with me. Your son was a true American hero.