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By Lee Williams

Private First Class Jack Lucas celebrated his 17th birthday on February 14, 1945 aboard the troopship USS Deuel. Five days later he was fighting for his life in the black volcanic sand of the Japanese-held island of Iwo Jima.

Lucas, a Marine rifleman assigned to the 1st Battalion, 26th Marines, 5th Marine Division, originally forged his mother’s signature and enlisted at the age of 14. Later, after the Marine Corps discovered its error, Lucas was sent to Hawaii as a truck driver, but instead of sitting out the war in relative comfort, he stowed away on the Deuel and headed off to the Pacific War.

During his second day of combat, Lucas and his small patrol were ambushed. A Japanese squad attacked with rifle fire and grenades. Lucas’ Medal of Honor citation chronicles what happened next:

Quick to act when the lives of the small group were endangered by two grenades which landed directly in front of them, Private First Class Lucas unhesitatingly hurled himself over his comrades upon one grenade and pulled the other one under him, absorbing the whole blasting force of the explosions in his own body in order to shield his companions from the concussion and murderous flying fragments. By his inspiring action and valiant spirit of self-sacrifice, he not only protected his comrades from certain injury or possible death, but also enabled them to rout the Japanese patrol and continue the advance. His exceptionally courageous initiative and loyalty reflect the highest credit upon Private First Class Lucas and the United States Naval Service.

The two grenades sent more than 250 pieces of shrapnel through Lucas’ body, but he survived the blasts. A Navy Corpsman rendered aid and saw that the young hero was evacuated to the beach and later to a hospital ship offshore. He underwent 26 surgeries to remove shrapnel from his body.

Eight months after his conspicuous gallantry, President Harry Truman awarded Lucas the Congressional Medal of Honor – one of 27 Medals of Honor awarded to Iwo Jima veterans.

Sixty-five years later, Marine Lance Corporal William “Kyle” Carpenter, a 19-year-old rifleman assigned to Company F, 2d Battalion, 9th Marines, Regimental Combat Team 1, 1st Marine Division (Forward), 1 Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward), was manning a rooftop security position in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province when his position was attacked by grenades.

Kyle Carpenter 19m04sVideoFrame
White House videographer, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Carpenter’s Medal of Honor citation describes what occurred next:

Without hesitation, and with complete disregard for his own safety, Lance Corporal Carpenter moved toward the grenade in an attempt to shield his fellow Marine from the deadly blast. When the grenade detonated, his body absorbed the brunt of the blast, severely wounding him, but saving the life of his fellow Marine. By his undaunted courage, bold fighting spirit, and unwavering devotion to duty in the face of almost certain death, Lance Corporal Carpenter reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.

Carpenter lost an eye and most of his teeth, but he survived that attack. He was medically discharged in 2013 and was awarded the Medal of Honor at the White House a year later.

Lately, those who seek to infringe upon our God-given constitutional rights have focused their ire upon 18-, 19- and 20-year-olds who they say should not be allowed to purchase firearms. One critic – a medical doctor – believes 18-year-olds are not responsible enough to carry concealed weapons.

In response, I would point them toward the responsibility displayed by PFC Lucas and CPL Carpenter, and to the sacrifices of the thousands of young men and women currently serving in harm’s way – service members who cannot even purchase a beer, legally.

While most of the arguments made by the anti-rights crowd are false and misleading, their efforts to disarm 18-, 19- and 20-year-olds are un-American, unpatriotic, unappreciative and, quite frankly, just plain dumb.


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This story is part of the Second Amendment Foundation’s Investigative Journalism Project and is published here with their permission.

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  1. Such a change from young men (and yes, they were certainly men) like this to what we have all around us today.

    Honor, Integrity, Humility, Faith, Discipline.

    • I don”t understand what you mean…today’s beta males are sooo in touch with their feminine side and feelings…your [sic] such a hater.

      (do i need the sarc tag?)

    • All generations would have been just as great. The way I see it, the problem stemmed from bad parenting and the focus on self vs society.

      The succeeding generations have continually morphed into self aggrandizement. I would chalk it up to the move from rural to urban locations, in which the next generation had to loose the shackles of the rural stigma and become “sophisticated”. I’ve seen it with so many of my friends. “Gotta lose my identity from which I emerged to become cosmopolitan, sophisticated, rich, popular, blah blah blah.

      Had the ensuring generations embraced where they came from, while also taking on some of the Urban-ness without becoming deuce-berries, we wouldn’t be saying this.

      My kids were raised in CA, in OC, on the backs of my sacrifice, so they would not have to grow up in the hood like I did. BUT, I took them to the hood often, Tijuana, soup kitchens and the like to let them know how good they have it. I will not have spoiled asshats for kids. They know how amazing this country is and can be. They appreciate their lots in life. They are patriots. Frankly, I should be giving more credit to my woman that raised them to be like that, and God fearing, honest, etc..

      I know my kids would fall on a grenade for their family or friends. That what men do, dammit.

    • “Such a change from young men (and yes, they were certainly men) like this to what we have all around us today.”

      Hard times produce people up for the challenge.

      And some that don’t, like the demented trolls that pollute this fine forum…

    • Is it because nearly 500,000 died a young death, fighting a war, that the countries we saved now dislike us? Like Patton said, you don’t go to war to die for your country. You go to war to kill the sonofabitch trying to kill you. We don’t deserve what those men had to give up. Tom Brokaw used the greatest generation line to sell his sorry ass book. That so called greatest generation voted into office decades of worthless politicians. After WW2, every president has been garbage, especially for gun owners. That trashed our rights like never before. The greatest generation will be the one to fix this mess.

      • News flash…Congress didn’t approve our entry into WWII until after Japan attacked our forces and killed the first couple of thousand of our young men. The Axis punched us in the face first. We happened to finish it.

  2. old enough to serve, old enough to drink still doesn’t work.
    but those disarming youngsters from ownership on american soil would not hesitate to send them off to battle… while their kids get an exemption.

    not legally, but that rifle has “belonged” to my son since before he was driving.

    • I knowa young man who, when he was only 12, got his M 1 Garand. he was so safe and accurate with it the MEN at his local gun club invited him to join their 18 and up rifle team. He did when he was 14, He was one of their best marksmen. But what really drew thair attention to him was the SAFE and awre conduct he deminstrated whenever he was around firearms. His excellent marksmanship was only a bonus Last I heard of him he was 7 and one of the top scoring MEN in the competition matches.

      Yeah smoe 18 and 19 year olds whoould NOT have guns. The ONE in particular I am thining of had committed at least three felony assaults, wor none of which he was ever charged, then bought his own rifle and shot up the school he’d been kicked out of for more felony level stunts.
      The grabbers would have eeryone believe ALL younger than 21 are like that dirtbag. But the Cowards of Browarad were too cowardly to ctually CHARGE him for any of his known felonies. Thus heas able to “legally” bu his rifle.

  3. To be honest most 18-20 year olds aren’t responsible enough nowadays. Because we havent held them accountable for their actions in their young lives. Several generations ago you had to work to survive. Now 20 year olds mostly all live at home. But I still believe in, “shall not be infringed”. Life is relatively easy nowadays. When half the population grew up on a farm, people learned what work was.

  4. Flag waving and drum beating does not change the fact that studies done on young men under age 25 show they have not reached full mental maturity and do not realize both the short and long term consequences of their actions. Military Generals have know this simple fact for at least 2,000 years. This is why it is so easy to brain wash them when they are inducted into the service. Only later in life do they realize the tremendous suffering they caused to people when they kill or torture or rape people when engaged in warfare.

    No drivers licenses or gun permits should be given to young men under the age of 21 and that is being far to lenient. I would set the age limit of 20 for young women. Insurance studies have shown that they cannot be trusted to make good judgments when driving and their much higher accident rates prove this beyond all doubt and this would easily transfer when it comes to handling and carrying deadly weapons, especially young men who when drunk are out to start a fight at the drop of a hat. None even consider how much legal trouble they can get in when even just using their fists and it often plagues them for life when applying for jobs.

    There is a damn good reason bars for centuries in most countries prohibited the carrying of weapons in bars as the young viscous naked male ape cannot be trusted any further than one could spit.

    More than one veteran has told me down through the years that they would never do it again, because it was not worth it and war was only the Rich becoming more wealthy and the workingman sending his sons to get their heads blown off. And that by the way came from several WWII vets that saw combat in Europe. Vietnam Veterans told me much the same story as how they were suckers to have ever went there and some said the murders they committed against civilians will haunt them for the rest of their lives.

    I might add letters sent home in the early 1900’s from the young men who killed civilians during the Philippian insurrection so shocked their parents that the parents blamed the U.S. Military for turning their sons into mindless killing machines and had those letters published in some of the major news papers in the U.S. The invasion of the Philippian Islands was actually a very controversial war with many famous intellectuals like Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) condemning it. The published letters causes such an outrage because they described the mass murder of civilians that the President forced the Military Generals to get retractions at bayonet point from the troops that sent those letters home. Of course even in those rather naïve years the U.S. public wasn’t buying it. Decades later some of their grandsons would commit the same atrocities in a new war, the Vietnam War, perhaps the most shameful war the U.S. ever fought although most American Indians would disagree with that statement and point to the mass genocide they suffered through at the hands of the U.S. Military.

    When Dustin Hoffman played in the movie “Little Big Man” the real truth came out of how horrific the atrocities were against the American Indians and what an arrogant moron and viscous monster Col. Custer was. When Custer got what was coming to him in the movie the entire parking lot at the outdoor movie that was showing it erupted in cheers and horns blowing. It took a little over 100 years but the truth finally was shown to the American public. Three cheers for Hoffman he was excellent in the movie and it went down in history as a classic Hollywood Movie.

    Even many military men have stated many times “Their is no glory in war” but they fail to admit how lucrative it is for the Rich and Powerful who start the wars.

    The real Hero’s of the Vietnam War were people like Senator John Kerry who threw his medals at the Capitol Building and Jane Fonda that risked her career to expose what was going on there and of course the 4 Heroic Students killed at Kent State that were the straw that broke the camels back and forced Nixon to finally do what he had promised and get the hell out of that war because by that time he had killed an additional 40,000 American soldiers and 3 million Vietnamese Civilians.

    Jane Fonda sitting on the Vietnamese anti-air craft gun became a rallying cry for an outraged public fed up with Nixon’s lies and deceit. Fonda saved lives on both sides of the war by helping to bring to an end much sooner a war that was immoral, obscene and totally unjust.

    • So John Kerry and Jane Fonda are who you respect after that post? You really think you’re above everyone else. And you think you’re the smartest person you know. Ma’am you need to go get a job. Your absolute misery oozes out of every comment you post. It’s quite pitiful.

    • Sez Dacian:

      “…young men under age 25 show they have not reached full mental maturity…”

      We now know how young Lil’D is.

      • “…….young men under age 25 show they have not reached full mental maturity and do not realize both the short and long term consequences of their actions…….”

        So, you would approve of a min voting age of 25 lil’dtard? 🤔

    • during the Philippian insurrection

      “PhilippiN INURRECTION”? What on earth are yuo jabbeing on about?

      Philippians were a people in Asia Minor in and around the city of Philippi. If you are referring to the island chain in the South Pacific that is the “Philippine Islands”, a separate country which had been overtakenby the Spanish a century or three before.

      There was no “insurrection” that prompted our military involvement in a local tribal war. We had a False Flag Psy Op that detonated a bomb in the hold of the USS Maine in Havaha Harbur about 1896, sinking her n her own hook lying in the Roads just outside the main harbour. We staged that FalseFlag op in order to “justify” going to war against the Spaniards. Since they alsooccupied the Philippines that gave us excuse to go there and pluunder and destroy. We found their natural harbours, tucked as they were in various deepbays scttered rond the island rchipelago to be quite desirable.
      For no known reason other than we wanted to, the entire island nation was subject to US rule for two generations or more. We wanted their deep and sheltered harbours, their cheap labour proximity to the rest of the Pacific Thetre for our”future plans” It was not until the last forty years or so we began to get squeezed out. Our military hv inflicted a heavy toll on the people and culture and economy of that nation. It was not until perhps ffiteen or twenty years ago they finally got a governor bold and loyal (to HIS own people) enough to finally inform the president at the time that US Military were no longer welcome in the areas near the base ports because there were problems with their use of prosttutes, drugs, other unsavoury things. He declared he was DONE with US military ruiining the morals and economy of his people.

      No, we had NO justifiction for ur military actions in the Philippines. Using them as a FOB in our push to chase the Japs back to Tokyo Bay was perhaps justified, but that had a narrow cause and a determinable goal. WHY did we contiue to occup for another two or three generatinos?

      • As to Samuel langrhone Clemmens, he ws anti ALL wars, and was utterly non-specific about that. So taking HIS work and using it as proof agaisnt a specific war is a bogus plan.

        • “As to Samuel langrhone Clemmens, he ws anti ALL wars, and was utterly non-specific about that.“

          TP, while much of your historical recounting is accurate, you could not be more wrong about the great American ‘Mark Twain’.

          Samuel Clemens spoke specifically about the United States Army’s massacre of innocent Philippine men, women and children in his essay “Comments on the Moro Massacre”:

          “General Wood was present and looking on. His order had been, “Kill or capture those savages.” Apparently our little army considered that the “or” left them authorized to kill or capture according to taste, and that their taste had remained what it has been for eight years, in our army out there—the taste of Christian butchers.“

          There you have it, “Christian butchers”…

          The massacre of over 600 innocent Muslim civilians by armed Christian invaders is one of many reasons the Muslim world hates Christians.

          Of course, most American school children never heard about the bloodthirsty, violent invasion of the peaceful Philippines, just like Thomas Jefferson repeatedly raping black children and enslaving his own offspring somehow missed inclusion in our history class.

          But that’s OK, Republicans in Texas and other right-wing states are moving now to continue to officially censor history because some ‘compassionate conservatives’ are uncomfortable about America’s bloodthirsty wars for empire.

          Read the truth for yourself, if your delusions about ‘American exceptionalism’ will permit you to entertain actual historical facts versus a bullshit disinformation narrative by wealthy robber barons:

        • Hey whiner, why are Marines nicknames Leathernecks? Why does their song refer to the “Shores of Tripoli”?

          The old saying, don’t start no sh!t, won’t be no sh!t applies here.

          The mooslums bit off more then they could chew when they started hijacking US flagged ships, taking the goods, killing men, raping women, selling children and some women into slavery.
          They tried to extort the US, by receiving payments (from the government) for all goods and passengers that sailed by their shores.
          Jefferson refused to negotiate with terrorists.👏
          His response was simple (just like your mind), mess with the bull, get the horns.🖕
          Educate yourself moron49er.

        • Sorry about that James.

          I reviewed your material, and you are correct, I need to educate myself better, and stop reading CRT based hate-filled websites that promote Marxistism.

          Haha NOT… I, the Miner49er am a Marxist, and I hate this country and seek its collapse.

      • to Tionico

        Your distorted view of history is laughable. Obviously you flunked every history class you were ever in.

        Roosevelt claimed we had the right to be Imperialistic and invade any country we chose to invade. The Philippian people at first cheered us when we defeated the Spanish but soon came to realize that they had simply exchanged on slave master for another and revolted. Since the Philippine Islands were a series of Islands they were cut off from outside help and that is the only reason they lost. If they had been part of a continent like Vietnam was the results would have been very different as they could have been supplied by another country sympathetic to their cause.

        We had no right to enslave them after we beat the Spanish and we violated our own “prime directive” i.e. “All Nations have the right to their own self-determination”. Noble words that we have violated consistently ever since they were first used as U.S. propaganda.

        We tried the same bullshit in China in 1899, In Japan in 1853 and in Vietnam in 1964. Japan defeated us by the use of feigned economic cooperation and China and Vietnam decided on war.

        Using the Far Right excuse that our invasion of the Philippian Islands somehow benefited them when the Japanese later invaded them is pure fantasy. When we beat the Japanese in WWII the results would have been the same we would have liberated the Islands from the Japanese. Your twisting of history to justify our occupation of the Philippian Islands is right wing bullshit, patriotic flag waving and drum beating.

        Your not qualified to play History Teacher you just proved that.

      • because they slop their swine with pineapple. and the happy ending button on the hotel room phone.
        and the egg rolls covered in sukang paombong.

    • Some day little d might be man enough to emerge for his mommy’s basement and enlist. No they Army/USMC need men.

    • The “Full mental maturity” argument is a specious non-sequitur that just won’t stay dead. The question is not, has never been, when a person has finished maturing, but rather even they have matured sufficiently to join society as co-equal citizens. After all, age-related cognitive decline can be shown to begin just a few years after 25, yet we don’t treat everybody over 30 as senile and in need of a conservatorship.

    • I saw Little Big Man at Saturday matinee when I was a kid at the Leaf Theatre. I thought it was a comedy. So did everyone else. BTW, I still do. But it is a good comedy. Sure as shit ain’t anything to do history. Except in the vaguest sort of way.

      • Flag Waver you really had me in hysterical laughter. You are a complete Moron when it comes to History as you flunked it big time.

        For starters I suggest you read “Bury my Heart at Wounded Knee”. There are many more historical books on the plight and genocide of the American Indians at the hands of the U.S. Military.

        Another good book is “Son of the Morning Star” a no holds barred book about Custer and his genocidal men and their sordid past.

        Only a History flunk out would have made the statement you did about the movie “Little Big Man” as not being very historically accurate when it came to portraying what Custer did to the Indians.

        I give you the “Hillbilly Flunk Out Award” for your History Classes.

        Educated people are exclaiming, “He is the typical racist Trumpite Moron”.

    • DACIAN the DUNCE, If a young man/woman is old enough to carry a gun in defense of this country, if he/she is old enough to vote then they are old enough to own their own firearm. “Educated people?” What you real mean is indoctrinated Socialist lemmings.
      For your edification long before the White Man ever set foot on this continent, the Indians were fighting amongst themselves over hunting rights, insults, land etc. There was and still is plenty of land for everyone. Seems that your Red brethren wanted to hog it all.

  5. At 18 my eldest son joined the army. He was everywhere in the Mideast. Speaks Arabic now and works at DoD. Having a son and a crappy wife at 20 sure made old dad grow up. Now a daze I’m not so sure. I know “the greatest generation” didn’t commit suicide in record numbers. If you could die for your country you deserve all the rights a 21 year gets!!!

  6. I call BS on the “fact” that teens are not responsible enough. Give them the responsibility and many will rise to take it. My daughters of 10 and 12 at the time were taking orders in our business and figuring out how much to charge the customer for 10 and 20k purchases. We made the mistake of introducing them at a party to others we dealt with and they could not believe that they could do it or that we would back up any mistakes. This was a family business and they knew that if they messed up, it would hurt. They also knew that anything wrong with a credit card or other payment went through us first.
    My grandfather was put into the navy before he was 15 because of a fight with his stepfather and did 2 hitches. My other grandfather and grandmother 17 and 13 drove to Ca in 1919(that was a big deal) from Ok (3rd grad education). Them that can does, them that can’t go to school or teach(to gain time, putting off working). How many boys got union cards at 16-17 and worked like their father and grandfather?

    • I am staying right now visiting for a few days, with friends who have nine kids. the oldest three, at 13, 15, 16, have been able to, and HAVE, when Mum was laid up with a roua\gh pregnancy, comletely managed the household for days, even weeks, on end. Dad had to go do the grocery shoppig, but took 14 year old eldest daughter along to make sure he got things right.

      At 14 by Dad was THE ONLY driver for the school bus. At 16 he was commercialy driivng a big dump truck for a construction company. I know another woo=man, now married with six kids, herself, when she was 14 she started her own company and made thousands. She had to HIRE her older siblings to do the packing and shipping, ran that business well until she sold it and all rights to it to a much larger companhy. She designed made, and sold high qulity modest women/s and young ladies’ hich quality MODEST clothing. Her 8 year old daughter does most of the famiy cooking.
      My Grandpa, Dads Dad, came to the US when he was early teens, and at sixteen setoff out west to a construction project he had heard of. He set p a barber shop in a tent, for the workers on the dam project. He married at I think 19, his Bridw was I think 17. They had ten and raised nine kids, one having died of achilc=dhood disease at 1 1/2 years. Thelong list of achievements of those nine kids is remarkable.

      Today kds can NOT legly work until some ridiculous old age, can’t even drive a tractor on the family farm till they are 18 AND have a commercial driving licence…. My dad ran the wagon and team during haying when he was a skiny 12 year old. It is illegal for me to hire any young kid for mowing lawns, painting (I had my own houe paiting business at 14, made good money, and a paper route wen I was 11. MH business. Cnt do that any more.

      No WONDER kids can’t mature.. government will not let them. Get gummit OUT of such decisions. Thise arefor the family to decide.

      • Downunder it is not uncommon for children to start driving vehicles on farms when they can see over the steering wheel.

        • I have seen them do that too back in the 50’s in the U.S. and a lot of tragic farm accidents happened because of this.

      • Your comment is awaiting moderation

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        Children working on farms without proper training or supervision is one of the leading causes of childhood injury and death, strangely many farm families want to ignore this fact because they need the child labor to make their farm profitable against the giant agribusiness farms with their wealthy owners and lobbyists collecting taxpayer-funded subsidies.

        “According to the National Ag Safety Database, every day, 33 children sustain agriculture-related injuries. Every three days, a child dies because of an agriculture-related incident.”

        “Youth Agricultural Safety Specialist Marsha Salzwedel said, “Children on farms and ranches can experience a fairly wide variety of injuries, from something as small as a scraped knee or cut finger to something as large as an amputated limb or death. Cuts, sprained joints, pulled muscles, broken bones and back injuries are other examples of injuries experienced by farm children.”

        “There are more youth who die working in agriculture than in all other industries combined,” said Salzwedel. “Many of these deaths and injuries sustained by working youth are a result of doing work that is not consistent with their age and abilities.”

        • Notice how much I like to Cut and Paste..

          Not an original thought anywhere.

          NYT and WaPo are my GoTo!

  7. Damn shame that Carpenter had to receive the Medal from the Kenyan pretender. And Matt Urban to receive his from the hand of Jimmy Carter.

    Would be a real insult to involve Joe Obiden in such.

    • “Kenyan pretender“

      Your child-like ethnic insults betray your lack of cognitive ability.

      You know, when normal people read such ad hominem attacks they realize immediately that the poster has no intelligent response and has chosen instead to rely upon a grade school insult.

        • Look I’m not saying I am a normal person, I am quite superior to all of you because I’m a forward thinking Leftist. You are backwards thinking people that believe you have “rights” from some “God”.

          My responses are therefore intelligent, and well above the grade school level. For example, I know the government tells you what is allowed and what is not allowed, not some sky God.

          And Barak Obama is not a Kenyan!! Why? Because I don’t even know what a Kenyan is. Therefore because my cognitive ability is far superior to yours, I say you made a child-like grade school insult.

      • Miner49er, sounds like a personal problem. Obuma the Phony is a Kenyan, bu as his mother is an American citizen, it does not matter as her citizen status makes him one as well. If you want to be a Leftist-Socialist that is your affliction in life.

  8. FYI
    Children lie about their age all the time just to serve the nation in time of war.

    1. “An astounding number of American teenagers, both male and female, altered their birth dates in order to serve their country during World War Two. The practice reached its peak in 1943. Over time, nearly 50,000 were detected and sent home.”

    2. “Calvin Graham, the USS South Dakota‘s 12-year-old gunner, in 1942.”

    3. “Too Young the Hero” (1988)

    “The film tells the true story of a 12-year-old boy who forges his mother’s signature to join the United States Navy during World War II.”

    Before 1968 a 16 year old could buy a long gun without the permisson of their parents. Either at a gun store or through mail order. And we didn’t have mass shooting back then. Because we had a majority of very moral and religious people back then.

  9. Let’s pass a law to stop those under 25’s from voting, signing contracts, being adult and owning firearms.

    We’ll name it the Dacian law. And in honor of his contributions to extending childhood for those folks we’ll have a parade for Dacian. He’ll ride a float and receive accolades from those he protected from adulthood.

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