Dale Alan Luster was born on January 21, 1941
and joined the Armed Forces while in Chicago, Illinois.
He served in the United States Marine Corps
and in six years of service, he attained the rank of Captain. He began
a tour of duty in the Republic of Vietnam on October 17, 1967.
On September 26, 1968, at the age of 27, Dale
Alan Luster perished in the service of our country in South Vietnam, Quang
Captain Luster was killed during his second
tour of duty in Vietnam. He was awarded the Purple Heart as well
as the Distinguished Flying Cross for his service.
Dale Alan Luster
Captain, United States Marine Corps
January 21, 1941-September 26, 1968
Killed In Action, Quang Ngal, Vietnam
Section 30, Arlington National Cemetery
Courtesy of The Captain's Sister, Joyce
D. Luster Donner, August 2005:
Dale Alan Luster was born in Chicago, Illinois,
on January 21, 1941, to Mr. and Mrs. Wayman Luster. He grew up in
Northbrook, Illinois, until his family moved to the northwest side of Chicago
in 1955. He attended Taft High School where he joined the ROTC and
attained the rank of Major, graduating in June of 1958. Dale was
also attached to a local Civil Air Patrol unit.
He then attended Northwestern University on
the Naval ROTC Scholarship Program selecting the Marine Corps option after
his sophomore year. He attained the rank of Battalion Commander.
In his senior year, he received the Frank Knox Sword award for displaying
the highest leadership qualities for the four year course.
Upon graduation in 1962, he was commissioned
a Second Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps. He then completed
Basic Jet and Advanced Flight Training and was awarded his Wings of Gold.
In December of 1963, Dale was united in marriage
to Mary O'Hare in a military ceremony. They met during high school
and continued to see one another through college and early military service.
Dale's first tour of duty in Vietnam was from
February, 1965 through April, 1966, where he was stationed at Chu Lai.
He flew the A4C and later the A4E fighter planes. Near the end of his service
commitment, he extended his service contract and volunteered to return
for a second tour in Vietnam.
His second tour started in October, 1967,
and this time he was assigned to Marine Attack Squadron 121, Marine Aircraft
Group Twelve, First Marine Aircraft Wing at Chu Lai where he flew the A4E
Skyhawk. During this tour, Dale was also assigned temporary duty
as the Air Liaison Officer for the Second Battalion, Third Marine Regiment
headquarted in Hue Phu Bai. During Dale’s time with the 2/3, the
battalion operated just south of the DMZ from Khe Sanh to Dang Ha and Con
Dale completed his tour with 2/3 early in
September and returned to Chu Lai to resume flying duties. On September
26, 1968 Dale and his wingman were providing close air support for a U.S.
Army unit which was under heavy attack by a numerically superior enemy
force. This engagement occurred during Operation Wheeler Wallowa
near Tam Ky in the Quang Ngai province of South Vietnam. The
Army soldiers were pinned down and had sustained numerous casualties.
Dale made several runs dropping his ordnance within 30 meters of the friendly
forces. On one of these runs, just at ordnance release, his wingman
saw his aircraft roll sharply to the left and impact the ground in a nose
low attitude, having been hit by intense hostile fire. There was
no evidence of ejection. As a result of his superior airmanship,
the Army unit was able to withdraw from an untenable position.
Dale flew 200 missions during his two tours
in Vietnam and had served six years in the United States Marine Corps.
He was posthumously awarded the Distinguished
Flying Cross and the Purple Heart.
Posted: 2 February 2002 Updated: 30 August 2003
Updated: 2 June 2005 Updated: 20 August 2005