Southeast man wins Bronze Star for spearheading assault on airfield in Iraq

Posted: Friday, April 11, 2003

The son of a Juneau couple won a Bronze Star in the Iraq war for his role in a U.S. assault on the airfield at Najaf.

Sgt. Lucas Goddard, 21, was awarded the medal Monday by U.S war commander Gen. Tommy Franks at a ceremony in Najaf, Iraq. Goddard is part of the 1st Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division, based in Fort Campbell, Ky.

Nick and Kathi Goddard of Juneau learned about their son's valor after The Associated Press sent a photo of the award presentation worldwide. Seeing a picture of Lucas alive and well was comforting to the Goddards, but they were in the dark about how he earned his medal.

"It was just such a gift that he was all right," Kathi Goddard said Thursday. "We were very proud of him just knowing what we did."

Details of their son's valor came through news media reports and a floor speech by U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, an Alaska Republican.

Murkowski said Sgt. Goddard won the Army's highest battlefield honor for bravery for his actions in the battle for Najaf earlier in the war when he was spearheading the assault on the airfield at Najaf and for taking direct enemy fire.

"I stand before you with a complete sense of pride and accomplishment for a young man from Alaska," Murkowski said Thursday on the Senate floor.

Goddard is a 2000 graduate of Sitka High School.

Nick Goddard is an IBEW electrician and Kathi Goddard is a paraprofessional who helps hand- icapped elementary school students. The Goddards moved from Sitka to Juneau in 2000, shortly after their son signed up for a four-year hitch in the Army.

"He will have three years on July 13, not that anyone's counting," Kathi said.

Lucas Goddard had aspired to become a soldier since he was 12, his parents said.

"When they say, 'Dad, I want to be in the Army,' you better pay attention," Nick said.

Lucas trained as a paratrooper and in helicopter assault. He received infantry and advanced infantry training and has been through rigorous Ranger school, his father said.

He called from Fort Campbell last month to say he was shipping out. He called again after reaching Germany and later from Kuwait.

His parents have been following movements of the 101st Airborne Division and knew he might be near Najaf.

They were interested in the reason for his award, but didn't want to know too much yet.

"Hopefully, someday soon he'll be able to come home and share it with us face to face," his mother said.

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