Luke B Holler

COMAL, TX, USA U.S. Marines LCPL, 4TH RECON, RCT-7, I MEF FWD HIT, IRAQ 11/02/2006

As a teenager, Luke B. Holler and his friends battled each other with Star Wars light sabers in the aisles of Wal-Mart. Holler even got the nickname Luke Skywalker when he was a fourth grader.

What losers, huh? We were always doing random stuff like that, said a buddy, Aaron Watters. It showed how good friends we were because it didn’t matter what we were doing as long as we were together.

Holler, 21, of Bulverde, Texas, was killed Nov. 2 by a roadside bomb in Anbar province. He was assigned to San Antonio.

Ever since we were in sixth grade, we always dreamed of driving a Humvee or at least riding in one, flying in a helicopter and having an AR-15 carbine at the time with a scope on it, said Danny Scholwinski, a longtime friend. That was our dream gun and our dreams, and he met all of them before he was killed.

John and Ruth Holler had been counting the days until they saw their son return from Iraq.

“We truly thought he would come home in March,” said Ruth, the mother of Lance Corporal Holler, 21, a Marine reservist from Bulverde.

Last week, Luke left Iraq for what John and Ruth hope is a better place than even they could provide.

Luke was killed Thursday by a roadside bomb in western Iraq’s Al-Anbar province while soldiers were extracting his unit from a reconnaissance mission. Luke was the ninth Marine from San Antonio’s 4th Reconnaissance Battalion to die in Iraq since the March 20, 2003, invasion of the country.

The grieving but proud Marine mom said Luke told her that he wanted to join the Marines because he wanted to join the hardest branch of the military.

“I need to do this – I want to serve my country,” she said he told his parents. “If I’m going to do it, I want the toughest.”

Ruth said her son needed structure and that he was “very social in school,” a sentiment echoed by Craig Walker, administrator of Bracken Christian School, where Luke graduated from in 2003.

“I remember Luke as a happy student. A lot of the students liked Luke,” Walker said.

Luke’s sister, Rebekah, said she remembered Luke as the “class clown.”

After high school, Luke attended San Antonio College and then worked at different jobs in San Antonio for a year before going to boot camp.

Luke graduated from boot camp on Nov. 5, 2004, a date that holds special meaning to Luke’s family and fiancee, Jessica Coker.”That was the date Jessica, Luke’s longtime love, and he decided would be their dating anniversary date,” Ruth said.

According to Ruth, the year Luke went into the Marines he did nothing but train for his chosen specialty – reconnaissance – going from one school to the next all over the country.

Ruth said Luke went away to boot camp “with insecurities about himself, but when he came back, he was a man, secure in himself. He loved the Marines.” But he also loved his fiancée and had decided not to make the military a career. They had planned to get married once he got out of the Marines and, according to Rebekah, Luke had been saving up for the ring. Tall, with sandy blond, baby-soft hair and blue eyes, and big, square shoulders, he was always big on surprises. Days before he died, he asked that an arrangement of Gerber daisies and roses be sent to Jessica.

Luke’s portrait is also located on Poster 2