Class Of 1964 USAF Academy

John's History

Gone But Not Forgotten

LukasikSm.jpg Lieutenant Colonel John A. Lukasik, United States Air Force Academy Class of 1964, died in Brighton, MA on October 13, 1987, after a prolonged illness. He was buried at the Air Force Academy Cemetery on October 19, 1987.

John was born in Dickson City, PA on July 22, 1940. While at the Academy, he was a member of the 10th Cadet Squadron. John will be remembered by all of us in the 10th as one of the “elders” of our class having attended the University of Scranton before entering the Academy. He was the one many turned to for help with the system and sound advice — academic, professional and personal.

Following graduation from the Academy, he attended navigator training at James Connelly AFB, TX and spent a substantial part of his aviation career in the airlift business: C-130s at CCK in Taiwan flying into Vietnam regularly, then C-141s at Travis AFB, CA and Norton AFB, CA. His flying assignments were complemented by schooling and staff duties. John obtained an MBA in December 1972 from Florida State University where he attended under Air Force Institute of Technology sponsorship. That led to a position in Plans and Programs at Tactical Air Command Headquarters from 1972 to 1976 — a job he enjoyed very much. After a respite at Armed Forces Staff College he returned to flying duties and met his gate requirements at Norton, then was given the opportunity to serve as a maintenance supervisor in the 63rd Field Maintenance Squadron - a position John felt was both meaningful and rewarding.

John and his family were then transferred to Yokota Air Base, Japan, working initially in the 5th Air Force Command Center then in Plans as the Director of Programs. The latter was one of his most fulfilling assignments. He shared in the planning to bed down an F-l6 Wing at Misawa, to swap out OV-l0s for OA-37s at Osan AB, Korea, and the many other programming efforts affecting 5th Air Force which accounted for a lion's share of PACAF resources. John's final assignment was a professor of Aerospace Studies at Boston University. He retired after 20 years of service and joined Sanders Associates in Nashua, N.H. as an integrated logistics manager working electronic warfare systems.

John's decorations included the Distinguished Flying Cross, Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters and the Air Force Commendation Medal with one oak leaf cluster.

We remember Luke as a very thoughtful, private, yet outgoing man who set high standards for himself and others. He enjoyed the privacy of his home, gardening, and was an avid reader. As death approached, and John knew he would not get well, he displayed great courage and the serenity that sprang from his deep religious beliefs. His faith sustained him and is reflected in a Passage from one of his favorite songs:

And he will raise you up on Eagles Wings;

Bear you on the breath of Dawn; Make you shine like the sun;

And hold you in the palm of his hand.

Our friend was preceded in death by his parents, and two brothers, Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Lukasik and Captain Bernard Lukasik. He is survived by his wife, Kathryn N. Lukasik; his daughter, Jill, age 18; and son, Martin, age 16, all living in Nashua, NH. He has one surviving brother, Anthony, of Dickson City, PA, and a sister, Barbara Heller, of Houston, TX. John's wife has asked that any contributions be made to the American Cancer Society in John's name.

John's wife asked that we include the following thoughts from another classmate: “To all of us who knew John at the Academy from 1960 to 1964, we will always remember his high “octane” voice. But beneath that sometimes piercing echo was a heart of gold. Luke was a great friend to all of us in the 10th Squadron, all of us in ‘64, and all who knew him. John loved the Academy, the Air Force and his family. We will miss the opportunity to share those old “war stories” at the next reunion. But we will never forget Luke . . . pipe smoking, bridge playing, determined Luke. We salute you, John Lukasik . . . classmate, friend and comrade.”

(Friends from 10th '64, Gone But Not Forgotten, Checkpoints, Winter 1987)
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