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The Baltimore Sun


Medal of Honor recipient

Jack Lucas, a North Carolina native who at 14 lied his way into military service during World War II and became the youngest Marine to receive the Medal of Honor, has died. He was 80.

Mr. Lucas, who suffered from cancer, died Thursday after he requested that doctors at a hospital in Hattiesburg, Miss., remove him from dialysis, his wife, Ruby, said.

Mr. Lucas was just six days past his 17th birthday in February 1945 when his heroism at Iwo Jima earned him the nation's highest military honor.

He used his body to shield three fellow squad members from two grenades and was nearly killed when one exploded.

Mr. Lucas was left with more than 250 pieces of shrapnel in his body - ncluding six pieces in his brain and two in his heart - and endured 26 surgeries in the following months.

He often showed the curious his arms, which were speckled with grenade fragments.

He was the youngest serviceman to receive the Medal of Honor in any conflict other than the Civil War.

Mr. Lucas became a symbol of patriotism in the decades after the war, meeting presidents and traveling the world to speak with frontline soldiers and fellow veterans.

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