TUCSON, AZ, US
U.S. Marine Corps
LCPL, C CO, 2D CEB, 2D MARDIV, (1STBN, 8THMAR, RCT-7, 1ST MARDIV)
11/27/2004, FALLUJAH, IRAQ
Lance Corporal Joshua Elijah Lucero last spoke to his parents on November 25th from an abandoned school near Mosul. Lance Corporal Lucero explained by telephone that ‘I’m really tired. I’m really dirty.’ But through it all he was laughing. That was the happiest phone call I’ve got from him, where he was just laughing and giggling and making jokes.”
“He said he was having a good day,” Tina Lucero said her son told her. “He said Mom, I’m sorry I wasn’t honest with you, I’ve been in Fallujah all this time.”
Lance Corporal Lucero explained to his father in an earlier conversation that he had been the first Marine to enter Fallujah during Operation Phantom Fury. By 2004, Fallujah had become a haven for insurgents. The American led assault to take the city back from the enemy began Nov. 8th.
He told his mother, Tina that he was hungry and asked, “‘Did you make Thanksgiving dinner for us? You better have made it for my brothers and my sisters. Tell them it’s on me this year.”
The Lucero home was filled with pictures, and photos of Joshua. His dress uniform and spit-shined shoes were carefully laid out. Flags lined the Luceros’ street because neighbors “wanted us to know that our son was the neighborhood hero, too — not just the hero of America,” said Lance Corporal Lucero’s his father Michael.
Michael Lucero, held a picture of Joshua as a small boy in camouflage clothing. Lance Corporal Lucero wanted to be a soldier since childhood, and was 12 when he first said he wanted to be a Marine. Joshua graduated in 2003 from Sunnyside High School. Though slight of build at 5′ 2”, Joshua compensated by lifting weights and working out with a punching bag in high school. Joshua held two jobs as a teenager. He was the eldest of seven children.
Lance Corporal Lucero went to boot camp within a month of graduation in May 2003. Mr. Lucero said when he first saw Joshua in uniform, he knew his son “had found what he wanted to do, because he had a great big huge smile on his face. I’m proud of my son. I’m proud of him because he did what he believed in.”
Joshua’s parents said their son typically worried about those around him, and family members. He asked about “the kids” — his younger brothers and sisters — and about his fiancée, Tasha Lepes, and their baby son. Michael Lucero wants Lance Corporal Lucero to be remembered for being a Marine because that’s what he loved. And added that “under his uniform there was a human being, and he did what he did because he cared. He cared more about everybody else than he did about himself.”