Lucas John Porter “Old-Luke”, born 14-01-1890 in West Virginia, a native of Kearneysville, WV, was a graduate of West Point, class of 1911. Commissioned as a Cavalry officer on 13-06-1911, he would branch-transfer to the Field Artillery in 1920. Lucas spent the first few years of his commissioned service in the Philippines, returning to the US in August, 1914. Lucas was stationed at Columbus, New Mexico, where he served as the commander of the Machine Gun Troop of the 13th Cavalry. On 09-03-1916 he distinguished himself in action against Pancho Villa’s raiders during the Battle of Columbus. He served during the Mexican Punitive Expedition, as an Aide de Camp to MG George Bell, Jr. at Fort Bliss, Texas . Lucas joined the 33rd Infantry Division in August, 1917 at Camp Logan, Texas, where he continued to serve MG George Bell, Jr., commander of the 33rd as Aide de Camp. CPT Lucas then led the division’s Infantry School of Arms while the division trained for war. Promoted to Major on 15-01-1918, he was given command of the 108th Field Signal Battalion and sailed to France with this unit. He simultaneously served as the Division Signal Officer. While serving as commander of the 108th he was seriously wounded in action near Amiens, France on 23-06-1918. Major Lucas was the battalion’s first casualty, being struck by a fragment from a German high-explosive shell. Evacuated to a hospital in England, he was later sent back to the United States on convalescent leave, where he recovered from his wounds in the Washington, D.C., area. His wounds were severe enough to prevent him from rejoining the 33rd Infantry Division. He then served as commander of the Artillery Brigade of the 2nd Infantry Division, nicknamed “Indianhead” at Fort Sam Houston, Texas until July, 1941. The 2nd Infantry division had the next losses during their European campaign, killed in action: 3.031, wounded in action: 12.785 and died of wounds: 457. He was notified that he would be given command of the 3rd Infantry Division, nickname “Rock of the Marne” and “Marne Men” .
Infantry Division suffered the highest casualty rate of any American Division in World War II. Its exploits are aptly illustrated by its Medal of Honor recipient Audie Murphy
.During their European campaign they had the next causalities, 4.922 were killed in action, and 18.766 wounded with a further 636 who died of wounds. In September, 1941, Lucas was assigned as the commander, 3rd
Infantry Division at Fort Lewis, Washington, where he conducted amphibious operations in the Puget Sound. He was next assigned as the Commander, III Corps, Fort McPherson, Georgia. In the Spring of 1943, Lucas was sent overseas as a deputy to Dwight Eisenhower
, and briefly took command of II Corps.
On 20-09-1943, Lucas was given command of VI Corps, taking over from Major General Ernest J. Dawley, he died age 87, on 10-12-1973. On 22-01-1944, from the deck of the cruiser USS Biscayne, Lucas oversaw Operation Shingle, the amphibious landing at Anzio. Lucas was highly critical of the plans for the Anzio battle, believing his force was not strong enough to accomplish its mission. His confidence was not reinforced when the mission was scaled back by last-minute orders and advice from his commander, Lieutenant General Mark Wayne Clark
, who told him not to “stick his neck out”. After four weeks of extremely tough fighting, Lucas was relieved by Clark and replaced with Major General Lucian King Truscott
as the commander of VI Corps at Anzio. Lucas spent three weeks as Clark’s deputy at Fifth Army headquarters before returning to the United States. Its role in Italy cost Fifth Army dearly. It suffered 109.642 casualties in 602 days of combat. 19.475 were killed in action. In March 1944 Lucas was assigned as deputy commander and later as commander of the U.S. Fourth Army, headquartered at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. After the war, he was made Chief of the US Military Advisory Group to the Nationalist Chinese Government led by Generalissimo Chiang Kai shek
. In 1948, he was assigned as Deputy Commander of the reactivated Fifth Army in Chicago, Illinois.
Death and burial ground of Lucas John Porter “Old-Luke”.
While still on active duty as Deputy Commander of the Fifth Army, he died suddenly at Naval Station Great Lakes Naval Hospital, near Chicago on 24-12-1949.
He is buried with his wife Sidney Virginia, who died age 67, in 1959, on Arlington National Cemetery, Section 2.
Cemetery and section 2 location of Lucas John Porter “Old-Luke”