Ronald George Luce, Jr.
Captain, United States Army
U.S. Department of Defense
DoD Identifies Army Casualties
The Department of Defense announced today the death of three soldiers who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. They died from wounds suffered when insurgents attacked their vehicle with an improvised explosive device August 2, 2009 in Qole Gerdsar, Afghanistan.
Captain Ronald G. Luce Jr., 27, of Fayetteville, North Carolina
Sergeant First Class Alejandro Granado, 42, of Fairfax, Virginia
Sergeant First Class Severin W. Summers III, 43, of Bentonia, Mississippi
All three soldiers were members of the Mississippi Army National Guard, and assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 20th Special Forces Group (Airborne), Jackson, Mississippi.
For more information media may contact the U.S. Army Special Operations Command public affairs office at (910) 432-6005; after hours (910) 689-6187, or visit http://news.soc.mil.
Alabama Guard member slain in Afghanistan to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery
13 August 2009
Captain Ron Luce, an Alabama National Guard Special Forces officer killed earlier this month in Afghanistan, is to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery, state Guard headquarters said today.
Captain Luce, 27, a member of the 20th Special Forces Group which is headquartered in Birmingham, was killed August 2 in Qole Gerdsar, Afghanistan, when his vehicle was hit by an improvised explosive device. At the time of his death, Luce was serving as a team commander.
Captain Luce, from Fayetteville, North Carolina, was assigned to the 20th Group's 1st Battalion in Huntsville. Lieutenant Colonel Randall Zeegers of Chelsea headed the Huntsville battalion before taking command of the 20th earlier this year.
Also killed in the same bomb attack were Sergeants First Class Severin W. Summers, 43, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Alejandro Grenado 42, of Tatum, Texas. Both were assigned to the 20th's 2nd Battalion, based in Jackson, Mississippi.
Services for Luce were held today at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. An Alabama Guard press release said Luce would be buried later at Arlington, but did not specify when.
Luce's survivors include his wife, Kendahl,
and a daughter, Carrie.
Courtesy of the United States Army:
Captain Ronald G. Luce died while conducting combat operations in the Qole Gerdsar, Afghanistan August 2, 2009, while serving as the Special Forces Team Commander with Charlie Company, 2nd Battalion, 20th Special Forces Group (Airborne), headquartered in Jackson, Mississippi.
Luce, 27, was killed when a command wire improvised explosive device struck his vehicle while deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Luce, born in Julian, California, enrolled in ROTC at Valley Forge Military Academy and became a commissioned officer in 2002. In 2005 attended the Special Forces Qualification Course, graduating May 2008 as an 18A, Team Commander and was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group (A) as a Liaison Officer. He was reassigned to Company C, 2nd Battalion, 20th Special Forces Group (A) as a Detachment Commander.
Luceís military and civilian educations include a Bachelorís of Science Degree in Biology from Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. He also attended the Infantry Officerís Basic Course, Infantry Captainís Career Course, Ranger School and Airborne School.
His awards and decorations include the National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal and the Army Service Ribbon. Luce also earned the Parachutist Badge, and Ranger and Special Forces Tabs.
Luce is survived by his wife Kendahl and daughter
Carrie of Fayetteville, North Carolina.
Whether it was helping people recover after a hurricane or fighting in Afghanistan, Captain Ronald G. Luce loved serving his country.
Luce was one of three soldiers killed August 2, 2009, in Qole Gerdsar, Afghanistan, when insurgents attacked their vehicle with a makeshift bomb.
Wednesday, more than 100 friends and family members gathered at Arlington National Cemetery to bid the dedicated soldier farewell. The sound of hooves from the horses pulling the caisson, which carried Luce's cherry wood coffin, and the beat of the U.S. Army Band's drums preceded the large funeral party as it slowly made its way down a nearby hill.
Luce, 27, was a member of the Mississippi Army National Guard and was serving as Special Forces team commander with Charlie Company, 2nd Battalion, 20th Special Forces Group (Airborne), headquartered in Jackson, Miss. Luce was born in Julian, California, and most recently lived in Fayetteville, North Carolina, with his wife, Kendahl Shoemaker, and their daughter, Carle.
He was remembered as a strong soldier with a commanding presence and a keen sense of integrity.
"Ron is the kind of guy that would have been disappointed if he couldn't go to the conflict that our armed forces are involved in," said Steve Murphree, a biology professor at Belmont University in Nashville, who taught Luce. The captain received a bachelor of science degree in biology from the university.
"He was obviously a military guy, and I think a lot of his strength came out because of that," Murphree said.
Murphree described Luce as a dedicated student who balanced military duties with schoolwork and never complained. In fall 2004, Murphree said, Luce took several weeks off from school to help with recovery efforts after Hurricane Ivan struck the Gulf Coast. When Luce returned to his embryology course, Murphree said, his former student worked hard to catch up and earned a good grade.
"I was really impressed with his integrity as a student," Murphree said. "He worked hard and was sincere about making up the work. He just impressed people." Murphree hopes to establish a biology scholarship in Luce's name for Belmont students.
Luce enrolled in ROTC at Valley Forge Military Academy and College and became a commissioned officer in 2002. Six years later, he graduated from the Special Forces Qualification Course and was assigned to the 2nd Battalion 7th Special Forces Group at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He was later reassigned to the 20th Special Forces Group.
Luce also attended the Infantry Officer Basic Course, Infantry Captains Career Course, Ranger School and Airborne School. His awards and decorations include the National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal and the Army Service Ribbon.
When the burial service ended Wednesday, the tears flowed. One soldier, dressed immaculately in a green beret and shiny black boats, wiped tears from his eyes as he left the grave site. Luce's widow, now a young single mother, cradled her daughter in her arms and stared at the soldier's coffin.
LUCE, RONALD GEORGE JR
Posted: 13 August 2009 Updated: 21 October 2009 Updated: 3 February 2010 Updated: 17 April 2010
Photo Courtesy of Eileen Horan, April 2010
Photos By Eileen Horan, February 2010