Today Ingalls Shipyard in Pascagoula as well as the State of Mississippi gave a nod of the highest respect to a war hero and Gulf Coast native.
It’s a name that’s already gone down in history, but now will forever be known throughout the world.
Thursday, Ingalls Shipyard set the stage for a keel authentication ceremony for a destroyer named after Hattiesburg native Jack H. Lucas. Governor Phil Bryant and other dignitaries attended the event. “I met him in 1992. We became good friends and had his funeral I wept. So, today is an honor to know that we are laying the keel for the Jack H. Lucas DDG Destroyer. As Jack would say that we go and kill our enemies.”
Jack Lucas is credited as the youngest marine to date after he forged his mother’s signature at age 14 to join the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves in World War II. He also saved the lives of three fellow Marines after throwing himself on enemy hand grenades.
Lucas’ granddaughter, Tara Gonsorcik, says it is wonderful to see her grandfather honored this way. “It’s just kind of neat to see his legacy live on. Jack had a big personality. Anyone who knew him, especially family, friends, he just had a really big personality and I wish you could be here so he could see how far we’ve come.”
Lucas was injured during his time in service and went on to become the youngest service member in World War II to be awarded the Medal of Honor.
Governor Bryant said, “Jack was a warrior. He’s a man who snuck on the ship so he could get into combat. When a lot of people wanted to stay away he threw himself on top of two hand grenades in a fox hole to save three other Marines and Iwo Jima. So it’s got to be a warship, it’s got to be a destroyer and Jack would be awful proud to know that his name is going to go around the world protecting those and defending liberty throughout the world as we know it.”