Indestructible by Jack Lucas

I just finished a book about a remarkable man who selflessly gave his body for his country and his fellow Marines. The book, Indestructible: The Unforgettable Story of a Marine Hero at the Battle of Iwo Jima by Jack Lucas, traces the life of Lucas, the youngest Marine to ever win the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Lucas’s story is one of tragedy and getting back up again. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, Lucas, at the age of fourteen, lied about his age and his mom’s consent and joined the Marines. He quickly grew to love the Marines and easily adjusted to the lifestyle. After becoming bored with stateside duty, he ignored orders and made his way to the Pacific where eventually got on a troop ship headed for the invasion of Iwo Jima. From there, he bravely protected his comrades from a grenade attack with his own body.

This book is generally about choices – the various roads that Lucas chose to take on his road of life. Some of the choices were poor and others were good, but they all seemed to lead him toward the one decision that saved three Marines’ lives. Following that heroic event, he continued making choices that would help and hurt him – e.g. divorcing his first wife and marrying his second, who embezzled from his company and tried to have him murdered.

Although I do not agree with many of Lucas’s decisions, I respect him for his sacrifice and his unabashed patriotism. The book clearly describes his motives for joining the Marines at such a young age – his patriotism and his drive to avenge the damage done to America by the Japanese at Pearl Harbor. His enduring love of his country is commendable, especially in today’s age of cynicism. Lucas makes it clear that he never questioned his decision to come to his country’s aid at its most desperate time.

I like how the book is not in the style of a typical autobiography where the author goes in a chronological order of his or her life. Lucas begins his book with his decision to join the Marines and goes from there – he interweaves scenes from his childhood throughout his story. For example, when he is being shot at for the first time on Iwo Jima, he relates that to his first experience of having a weapon fired at him by mistake when he was four years old.

Although I expected to read more about battles in the Pacific (his only combat was on Iwo Jima – through no fault of his own), I read about a man who fought his own personal battles throughout his life and won.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the life of a war hero whose life did not always go as planned.

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