Rattler/Firebird Association

Paul Roger Lukins

Name Paul Roger Lukins
Rank/Grade CAPT - O3 - Army - Reserve
Age 25
Marital Status Single
Race Caucasian
Gender Male
Date of Birth Nov 30, 1943
From Riverside, California
Length of Service 2 years
Tour Began Dec 31, 1968
Casualty Date May 13, 1969
Hostile/Non-Hostile   Hostile, died of wounds
Body Recovered Yes
Religion Methodist

Vietnam Memorial


Panel 25W - - Line 104
Paul Roger Lukins

Visitor Comments

Posted by:Vic Bandini
Date:Monday, May 26, 2003 2:21 PM UTC
Relationship:Fellow soldier
From:Indianapolis, IN
Comments:Paul - a kind and gentle officer who always treated me with respect and understanding. Wounded May 13, 1969 while sitting in his resupply bird on LZ Professional. Died in surgery a few hours later at Chu Lai.

May God be with you and remember you on this Memorial Day 2003.

Vic Bandini

Firebird 99

Posted by:Walt Peck
Date:Saturday, July 12, 2003 5:12 AM UTC
From:Live Oak, Texas
Comments:He was my platoon leader and a real friend. I was flying another aircraft on the same resupply mission the day he died. It was a great loss. I have thought of him often and missed him these many years.

Posted by:Ted unther
Date:Sunday, September 7, 2003 3:45 PM UTC
Relationship:Friend, College Mate
From:South Pasaena, CA
Comments:I first met Paul at Riverside City College and where I was immediately impressed by his gentle strength, sense of humor, and maturity. Paul loved to talk about his old cars, his family, and plans for his future. I was shocked upon learning of his death. On each return trip to Riverside, I visit Paul's grave where he is resting along side his father, a U.S. Air Force veteran. Paul is truly missed by all those people with whom he had contact.

Posted by:Tommy Hobbs
Date:Friday, September 12, 2003 5:51 PM UTC
Relationship:Crew Member
From:Winter Haven
Comments:Even after all these years I still hear his easy laugh, soft words and can see the warm smile of the River Boat Gambler.

Posted by:Alan Johnson
Date:Monday, February 7, 2005 11:54 PM UTC
Relationship:Member 1/46 on date of his death
Comments:Just one small correction. Paul's aircraft was actually in the perimeter of Alpha 1/46 four klicks west of LZ Professional when he received a head wound from a sniper bullet, not on LZ Professional itself. A mortar attack and heavy enemy fire had started with that resupply. Also killed was an Alpha infantryman who had flown in on Paul's aircraft. He caught some fatal shrapnel shortly after jumping off the helicopter. In the two-day period of May 13-14 Alpha and Recon fought a pitched battle with a battalion of NVA. Alpa commander Kern Dunagan, who was wounded in the attack that resulted in Paul's death, but refused evacuation to stay with his company, was awarded the Medal of Honor. My company, Charlie, maneuvered to Alpha and Recon to help them break out of the enemy encirclement. I have fond memories of the "Ratttlers" that kept us fed and supplied when I was privileged to be medic for 3rd platoon of C 1/46 from April through October of 1969. I would like to hear from any Rattler and Firebird vets who supported us in May of 1969. I know one was assigned as the "Charlie-Charlie" for LTC Underwood that day. They flew in to pick up bodies that the dustoff wouldn't take. They also stayed overhead during the whole thing. Eight days later, when we retrieved the 12 bodies that had to be left behind on May 14, I helped load the body bags onto a Rattler ship. Not a pleasant task for us or, I'm sure, the crew that had to fly them to Chu Lai. I am trying to put together a history that goes past the official reports and tells the individual soldier stories. I would love to have the stories of those who flew in support of us.
Alan "Doc" Johnson

Posted by:Michael Macfarlane
Date:Saturday, July 23, 2005 1:13 AM UTC
Relationship:Boyhood Friend
From:Payson, Arizona
Comments:I am so grateful to find this site and read all the comments. Paul and I were friends through Jr. & Sr. High School. We built and flew model airplanes together and were good friends. Our birthdays were six days apart. Paul was such a quiet, gentle person and I still grieve his loss. I would like to visit his grave but do not know where it is. Perhaps one of you who has written can tell me the location. - Mike M

Posted by:Tom Martiniano
Date:Saturday, December 9, 2006 11:19 PM UTC
Relationship:Fellow Americal Soldier
From:Baton Rouge
Comments:I want to set the record completely straight about Captain Lukens because the above just doesn't tell what a hero he was.

You see, I was 3 feet from Captain Lukens when he was shot. It was during one of the biggest battles in Vietnam and Mr Lukens was a big part of why I am still here and able to write this. I am actually going to start a movement to get Captain Lukens a Silver Star for his heroism that fateful day. Here is the story:

On May 13th, 1969 in Quang Tin Province, Alpha Company, 1st of the 46th was trapped by a Battalion of NVA. We had been fighting all day long and were taking casualties every fifteen minutes. It was close to sundown and we were surrounded and engaged with 200-300 NVA. They were moving in on us for the kill. We were all fighting for our lives and we were running out of ammo fast. I radiod Battalion and told them to get more ammo out to us asap. Battalion had anticipated us running out and had the resupply chopper loaded and running on the chopper pad of LZ Professional. Captain Lukens' ran his chopper out to us immediately after my call. He was coming in while we were heavily engaged with enemy as close as 50 meters to us. Capt Lukens called me and told me he was inbound. I told him he would have to drop the ammo on our position because the LZ was way too hot. He countered by asking me how many wounded we had. I told him "a lot" and re-iterated that the LZ was closed. He ignored me and came straight in and flared for a landing. I told him to break off the landing and get up to 500 feet and drop the ammo. He responded with; "Get your wounded ready for evacuation." I ran over to the LZ and stood in the middle of it and told him he was forbidden to land. He landed right on top of me. I ran to his window with my radio in hand and yelled at him to get the bird out of there. By this time the NVA were hammering his Rattler with bullets. There were so many bullets hitting the chopper at this time, that little pieces of chopper cut my face and hands, but I kept ordering him to take off. That is when he got hit in the face with a bullet. I pulled him out and put him in the back so his co-pilot could take off. He did and got the chopper back to L Professional.

Captain Lukens risked his own life to get the wounded out and to the hospital, which he did. He not only saved the lives of those seven wounded, but he saved the rest of our lives by giving us the precious ammo we needed to fend off the NVA, which we did.

Captain Lukens saved 65 lives that day: The seven wounded he got out went on to the States where they lived the rest of their natural lives. They owe Capt Lukens their lives. The other 58 of us had enough ammo to continue to fight. Mr Lukens is a true hero and deserves a medal for his sacrifice.
This is true and an accurate summary of how Captain Lukens was killed in Vietnam.
Tom Martiniano
Spec 4th Class, RTO, Alpha Company, 1st of 46th Infantry

Posted by:Alan Kirby Milton
Date:Friday, April 16, 2010 11:32 PM UTC
Relationship:Soldier from Alpha Co
From:North Chelmsford
Comments:I was there in May 1969.This what I remember on that day in May.I was a Sgt for the Second Platoon in Alpha Co.I was told that a chopper was coming in and get ready to load the wounded.We were taking heavy small arms fire and also were being mortared.Myself and another soldier carried a badly wounded soldier and put him on the chopper.He was 3/4 in when the side gunner grabbed him and pulled him in.With that the wounded soldier yelled with pain.I stepped back and waited for the other wounded to be loaded.Once the chopper was full,I was knelling and waiting for the chopper to take off.I remember thinking, what were the waiting for.The chopper started to bounce off the ground.All of a sudden,one of the side gunners got out and opened the door at the front where the pilots were.I think he took off the pilots helmet and saw that he was shot.He closed the front door and climbed back in to the side gun and the chopper took off.The chopper clipped a tree while ascending.I thought for a moment that the skids would catch a limb and crash.I remember hearing the pilot say on the radio that he is not coming back to LZ Pro but that he is going straight to Chu Lai.By taking the wounded that day, I know he and the men on that chopper saved their lives.In 2000 I found out his name.I just found this site today and started to read some of the stories.This is my memory of what happened on that day in May,1969.

Posted by:Sally Wimbish
Date:Wednesday, May 26, 2010 8:51 PM UTC
Comments:For so many years I've not been able to find out anything about how Paul died until I found this website. I dated Paul when he was stationed in Savannah, GA. in 1968 and I've never forgotten him; I was nuts about him. We really had some good times, but he was shipped out shortly after we met, so I never saw him again. I can see by all the comments here that he was, indeed, a hero and reading about him was very emotional. He was a fine young man and I'm privileged to have known him.

May you rest in peace, dear Paul.

Posted by:tom major
Date:Monday, December 20, 2010 9:05 AM UTC
From:hemet california
Comments:Paul and I graduated from Ramona High in Riverside CA. Class of 1961. Paul was friendly to everyone. I learned of Pauls death at the ten year class reunion in 1971. ever since than I think of Paul every time the subject of the Vietnam War comes up. I mourn the fact that Paul died at such a young age. I had the chance to have a family, children and grandchildren, pursue a career and many other things that Paul did not have a chance to experience. This past Easter Sunday I was visiting Olivewood Cemetery in Riverside. I accidently came across Pauls grave. I was grateful for the chance to be in his presence and tell him just how often I had thought of him these past many years and to acknowledge the tremendous sacrifice he made for our country. The tremendous sacrifice he made for our country

Posted by:g a lowery
Date:Friday, December 31, 2010 7:52 PM UTC
Relationship:co c 1/46 196 lib
From:so boston
Comments:would like to corrospond with allen johnson who had a post on this site.

Posted by:Larry W. Maitland
Date:Wednesday, July 25, 2018 12:38 PM UTC
Relationship:He was my pilot at times 71st aviation R
From:Muskegon Mi.
Comments:I was in rattler 522 that day we were on a Charlie Charlie mission and had Col.Underhill on board we followed Capt.Lukens back to the hospital and then went back to LZ Professional for the rest of the day Capt. Lukens was a great guy


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