Semper Fi, Captain Lukasiewicz

Update added May 16, 2015.  Today is Armed Forces Day.  Rather than a "gem of the week" that we normally post on Saturdays, today we're thinking about Dusty.  When the message below was initially posted on May 13, we were hopeful that Dusty and the other Marines and Nepalese soldiers would be found alive and well.  Since then, the helicopter wreckage has been found and the Marine leaders in Nepal stated that there are no survivors.

We would like to express our deep sympathy for Dusty's wife and children, sisters, and parents, among many, many others who loved and respected this young man.  We also know that each of the others on that helicopter had their own families and friends, who are also feeling the shock and grief of having a loved one taken from them too soon.

None of us know when our own clocks will strike midnight.  This is a reminder, and we think Dusty would agree, to live well, and do good.

In addition, if you know someone who is the family of a member of the armed forces, perhaps give them a thank you too.  They who stay home also serve.


Original Post of May 13, 2015

While we normally focus this blog on a travel-related topic, we have something else on our minds today.  Namely, Captain Lukasiewicz, his crew and his (and their) loved ones.

Dusty wanted to be a pilot from a very young age.  We fondly remember his family visiting when he was a kid and taking him to ACES at the Mall of America, where he had a great time flying the aircraft simulator.  I still think of him as that kid, but he grew up, and became a pilot.  To be more specific, a U.S. Marine Corps helicopter pilot.

Captain Lukasiewicz is very proud of his work, including the latest mission to deliver supplies to people who were cut off after the recent Nepal earthquake.

Their helicopter is now missing, along with Dusty and the crew of 5 more marines and 2 Nepalese soldiers.

We want to recognize the courage and dedication of Dusty and his fellow service members.  We also want to express our newfound level of admiration for the people on the home front.

Any marine, any soldier, understands that they have risky jobs.  They routinely face those risks with courage.  Less recognized is the great courage and composure with which the mom, the sisters, the wife, and many family and friends support the marine.  These people also recognize the risks, they experience fear and worry, but they have no ability to mitigate the risks or help fix a problem that arises.  Yet they support their loved one unconditionally, so that the marine (as representative of anyone in the armed forces) can focus on their job with 100% attention and therefore maximum likelihood of success.

There are very few things in life that are more difficult than knowing your daughter or son, sibling, or spouse has encountered a very serious problem, maybe halfway around the world, but you don’t know the scope of the problem, the outcome, and you have no way to help them.  The feeling of helplessness in indescribable.  But each of the spouses, sisters, mothers and other family and friends is willing to face that risk so that their soldier can do the good work in support of our own freedom, and that of so many others around the world.

We want to express our deepest gratitude to the family and friends of Dusty, of the marines in his unit, and of all members of our armed forces.  You are vital to their success, and you are brave.

And to Dusty and team, stay strong.  Help is on the way.