Lieutenant Colonel (Ret.) Ronald Laurance Lucas, 77, of Havre de Grace, MD, went to be with his Lord and Savior on September 26, 2021. He died as a result of a tragic accident that occurred at his home.
Born on March 21, 1944 in Frostburg, MD, he was the son of the late George and Bernice (Gibson) Lucas, and was preceded in death by four brothers, Eugene, Thomas, Robert, and Gary Lucas; and three sisters, Sharon Miller, Darlene Porter, and Donna Lucas.
As a child, Ron was interested in serving his community and actively participated in Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts. He always had ambitions of entering the military and serving his country.
Ron graduated with honors and as class vice president from Beall High School in 1962. Upon graduation, he applied, qualified, but was denied acceptance to West Point Military Academy, as there were only a few appointments. He tried again the next year unsuccessfully, but this didn’t dampen his spirit. He attended Frostburg State College for a year and a half and then enlisted into the armed forces in 1964. Following basic training at Fort Knox, KY, he qualified for the U.S. Military Academy preparatory school at Fort Belvoir, VA. Through a competitive process, he successfully received the coveted military appointment to West Point Military Academy, and was one of only two students selected from Maryland’s 6th Congressional District. He graduated from West Point in 1969 with the cadet rank of sergeant first class and was then commissioned an Army second lieutenant. While at West Point, he was one of a 45-member cadet honor company that marched in the funeral cortege honoring General of the Army and former President, Dwight D. Eisenhower.
After West Point, Ron was stationed at Fort Knox during which he advanced to first lieutenant. In 1970, he reported for duty in Vietnam and by 1971, became an Army captain. In 1972, he graduated from the U.S. Army Rotary Wing Aviation School, Ft. Rucker, AL as a helicopter pilot. By 1973, Ron had already completed two tours in Vietnam and was the recipient of numerous military honors for meritorious achievement and heroism. His accolades included 12 Air Medals and the Bronze Star Medal, which he received 3 times. He was awarded the Air Medal for “exceptionally valorous action as pilot of a utility helicopter when it came under small arms fire.” His ability to skillfully pilot the aircraft out of small arms range avoided what would have been certain injury and possible death for his crew and passengers.
After his service in the Vietnam War, Ron was attached to the Fort Bragg 82nd Airborne Division. He then was assigned to the 1204th Transportation Company (aircraft maintenance) Maryland Army National Guard, and then to the 29th Air Traffic Services Group as its executive officer/deputy commander. Ron deployed to Saudi Arabia as part of Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm with the 29th Air Traffic Services Group during the Persian Gulf War and was promoted to lieutenant colonel. He served in the war for 5 months and retired shortly after returning home. In addition to the aforementioned military honors, Ron also received the Oak Leaf Cluster, Combat Infantry Badge, and Vietnam Cross of Gallantry.
Ron had a long, distinguished career in the military. And, while he was dedicated to his country, he was equally committed to his family. He instilled many of the values he learned through his military training to his nieces and nephews. Despite all of his incredible achievements, he always remained humble and eager to lend a helping hand to friends and family.
He is survived by his brother Donald Lucas, Bloomington, Maryland; two sisters, Carole Harper, Frostburg, Maryland, and Glenda McKenzie, Eckhart, Maryland; one brother-in-law, Mike Miller, Frostburg, Maryland, and a sister-in-law, Connie Lucas, Port Matilda, Pennsylvania; and many nieces and nephews.
Family and friends will be received at the Sowers Funeral Home located at 60 W. Main Street, Frostburg, MD 21532, on Monday, October 11, 2021 from 2 to 5 p.m. with funeral services following at 5 p.m. with Pastor Kyle Durbin officiating.
American Legion Farrady Post 24 will accord military honors at the funeral home.
Interment will occur at a later date at Arlington National Cemetery.