OTF Soldier Story for February 15, 2010 - Lt. Col. John Luchansky
Current Unit: 300th Military Police Brigade
Current Position: Judge Advocate General
Component: Army Reserve
Current Location: Inkster, Mich.
Hometown: Youngstown, Ohio
Years of Service: 39
With a military career that spans four decades, includes three deployments and covers two branches of service, Lt. Col. John Luchansky is preparing to retire after a long and distinguished military career.
After graduating from Youngstown State University, Luchansky followed in the footsteps of his father and brother and joined the Marines. After completing a tour of duty in Vietnam, he returned home to attend law school at the University of Toledo. As he recalls, the Army recruiting office was just a block away from his campus, so he decided to join the Army Reserve.
Now, after returning from a deployment to Iraq last fall, he notes the changes in himself and the military in the past 40 years.
"When I served in Vietnam, I was a 22-year-old pup. Then, when I first deployed for Operation Iraqi Freedom, I was 57 and serving along with people nearly a third of my age," he said. "In Vietnam, it wasn't an all-volunteer force. Now, the Soldiers I work with are enthusiastic about serving their country, regardless of their role, and they want to be where they are. They displayed a true sense of patriotism throughout the deployment."
He also spoke about the marked difference of community support.
"Coming back from Vietnam, it was kept quiet - no one wanted to fly home in uniform and no one was there to shake our hands. But this time, everyone warmly welcomed us home. People might disagree with the operations overseas, but people continue to strongly support the troops. It is a great culture to return home to," Luchansky said.
When Luchansky arrived in Iraq in September 2007, he was tasked by the Commanding General of Detainee Operations to oversee the establishment of a team to study the circumstances surrounding released detainees' return to insurgent activity. Throughout his two years in theater, he successfully reduced return to crime rates from 7 percent to less than 1 percent. Additionally, the Soldier served as the Staff Judge Advocate for Contract and Fiscal Law and provided legal review for more than 450 proposed contracts.
"I am proud of what I accomplished. I worked with outstanding Soldiers, Airmen and Navy personnel who are much younger than myself and for Generals who have appreciated my years of service," he said.
For his meritorious service throughout the 23-month deployment and successful completion of his mission, Luchansky was awarded the Bronze Star Medal. The award citation reads: "While forward deployed in a hostile fire environment, Lt. Col. Luchansky demonstrated unparalleled leadership in a joint service environment and was willing to accept additional responsibilities as it became necessary to achieve mission completion."
In addition to his most recent deployment, he also volunteered for a deployment to Kuwait in 2006-2007 where he served with the 377th Theater Support Command. Prior to deploying, the Reservist chose to close the private law office he had managed. He said that his clients were very positive about the transition and appreciative for his military service.
With nearly four decades of military service, Luchansky plans to retire in March. He is not planning to return to private practice as an attorney, but hopes to find employment utilizing his legal background. Additionally, he looks forward to spending increased time with his wife, Linda, and son, who was married last fall.
"Both my wife and my son made a lot of sacrifices to support my military career. I am excited to spend more time with them. It is long overdue," he said.