MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
After serving 21 years in the Marine Corps, Lt. Col. Dave Lucas, currently the executive officer for 10th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, is hanging up the uniform and will officially retire Nov. 1, 2013.
Despite his love for country and Corps, Lucas cited a main reason for his decision to retire is to be closer to his family on the West Coast. He has family in Washington and plans to move there after leaving the military.
“I want to be able to spend more time with my wife and kids,” Lucas said. “I also want my children to have a relationship with their grandparents, and that just isn’t realistic being stationed at Camp Lejeune.”
Lucas grew up in Colfax, a small town in Northern California. He attended school at the University of California, Davis, while also doing Naval ROTC at nearby UC Berkeley.
Lucas wanted to join the Air Force, but because of his eye sight, his job opportunities were limited. He then considered joining the SEALs, but during his time in Naval ROTC, he noticed differences between the Marine and Navy leaders in the program. He explained that he liked the mentorship the Marine Corps midshipmen received, so he decided to switch from the Navy option to the Marines.
Lucas completed Officer Candidate School after his junior year of college and after graduating from UC, Davis, he was officially commissioned as an artillery officer on June 20, 1992.
During his tenure in the military, Lucas served in every artillery regiment the Marine Corps has. He served with 11th Marines, 1st Marine Division; 14th Marines, 4th Marine Division; 12th Marines, 3rd Marine Division; and in 2012, he reported to 10th Marines.
Additionally, Lucas was assigned to Marine Corps Security Forces upon leaving 11th Marines, and he served with United States Central Command in 2005. He served as the commanding officer of Marine Detachment, US Abraham Lincoln in Everett, Wash. During his time at this unit, he met his wife, Ms. Laura Johnson.
Lucas deployed multiple times with the many units he’s served with, but the thing he has enjoyed the most in his long career is the people he met. He plans to keep in contact with many of those people who he worked with during his Marine Corps days.
“You meet a wide variety of people in the military,” Lucas said. “I’ve made friendships with so many people I otherwise never would have met.”
Lucas said they would like to stay in the Camp Lejeune area, but he doesn’t want to miss the opportunity to be closer to and spend more time with family.
“The timing is just perfect right now,” Lucas said about his retirement. “My sons will be starting school soon, and I have the chance to get out and spend more time with them.”
“We’re going to miss the community here,” he said. “But we’re excited to be closer to family and have a good relationship with them.”
Lucas has a final piece of advice for Marines as he prepares to exit the Marine Corps.
“Don’t be a bully,” Lucas said. “It’s easy to yell at another Marine who messed something up. A real leader is someone who corrects the Marine and explains how to improve the situation. A bully just belittles people, and that doesn’t benefit anyone.”