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    Hunting bow serves to memorialize 3/3 Marine



    Story by Kristen Wong 

    Marine Corps Base Hawaii

    KANEOHE, Hawaii - A hunter’s arrow must always find its target.
    One hunter certainly made his mark on a new generation of 3rd Battalion, 3rd Regiment Marines, as they honored his memory.

    Lt. Col. Jeffrey Holt, commanding officer, 3/3, gathered his Marines to the front of the base chapel Jan. 13, where a large black case sat across several chapel chairs. On the case is inscribed the name of radio operator Cpl. Eric Lueken.

    The 23-year-old from Dubois, Ind., was killed in action April 22, 2006 by an improvised explosive device in Al Anbar province, Iraq. He was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart and the Navy Achievement Medal.

    Nestled in the case’s foam padding is a bow made to honor a Marine who “could always make a bad situation good,” according to his friend and former Marine, Dennis Sullivan.

    “He could make everybody laugh,” said Sullivan, of Williamsport, Pa.

    Lueken’s father Jake; Troy Euclide, Marine Corps Family Team Building director; and Mike Lueken, a family friend, presented the bow in Eric Lueken’s honor, to 3/3.

    “Anything we do is a small token compared to what [the military is] doing for all of us,” said Mike Lueken, the operations manager of Strother Archery.

    Brian Park, president of Strother Archery, shares the same sentiment.

    “They do an awful lot for us and we get the luxury of staying here under their protection,” Park said. “It’s the least that we can do.”

    The black and gray SR-71 bow presentation came together through contributions from several organizations and individuals.

    “It’s a very nice bow, top of the line,” Holt said. “It’s meant for you [to use], not as a display.”

    Holt, who used to bow hunt, offered to teach interested Marines how to use the bow and arrows, which will make their new home at 3/3’s command post.

    Euclide, a former first sergeant, was the casualty assistance calls officer assigned to assist the Lueken family, and has since remained close friends with them.

    “[The] presentation of this bow and arrow just shows that Eric is not forgotten,” Euclide said. “His name, his life will continue to live on and he’s forever bonded with 3/3.”

    An avid hunter since childhood, Eric Lueken learned how to use his first bow and arrow from his father, and frequently hunted with him.

    Unlike other children, Jake Lueken said his son was able to keep very quiet, a necessary skill in hunting. He would later take up fishing and basketball.

    Ken Bohnert, a friend of Jake Lueken, called Eric Lueken an “all-American boy” and a “true Marine.” Before one of Eric Lueken’s previous deployments, Bohnert, a former Marine, gave him his KA-BAR fighting knife.

    “Keep your head in the game and give this back to me,” Bohnert told Lueken.

    When Eric Lueken returned from that deployment, Bohnert told him to continue to hold on to it. After Eric Lueken’s death, the knife was recovered and returned to Bohnert, who keeps it as a memento on his mantel.

    Others still reminisce with each other about Eric Lueken. Though they have since left the Corps, Sullivan and Mike Fosque never forgot the friendship they made with their fellow Marine.

    Sullivan, who was a private first class when he met Eric Lueken, always “gets a chuckle” recalling a hair cutting incident in Afghanistan. Even though Eric Lueken was particular about his hair, Sullivan jokingly shaved him completely bald.

    “He in turn got to shave my head,” Sullivan said.

    Fosque, a former corporal, described him as a “really nice kid” who could make anything positive. “Training was always fun with him,” Fosque said.

    Fosque said the three of them would frequently spend time together during off hours, whether it was going to the beach or having cookouts at the barracks.

    “Not a day goes by that we don’t think about him and miss him,” Sullivan said. “His memory will always live on with us.”



    Date Taken: 01.21.2011
    Date Posted: 01.24.2011 20:57
    Story ID: 64140
    Location: KANEOHE, HAWAII, US

    Web Views: 206
    Downloads: 0