By Staff Sgt. Crista Yazzie, USARPAC Public AffairsJuly 14, 2010
PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii -- Generations of military service were honored on deck the USS Missouri, July 9, when one family member was promoted and another retired.
Col. Benjamin D. Lukefahr, U.S. Army, Pacific Contingency Command Post deputy director, promoted his son, David, to the rank of captain, then Army Capt. David Lukefahr performed his first action as a captain and retired his father.
"I have always been proud of my father, I remember him working late, but I always knew he was working hard, and after three years of service, I have only (accomplished) a small amount of what he has done," said Capt. Lukefahr.
"I would not be here today if it were not for you," Capt. Lukefahr said to his father, then thanked his Soldiers and noncommissioned officers. "Behind every great officer is an even greater NCO."
Family was a common thread throughout the ceremony. Col. Lukefahr's daughter, Elizabeth, kicked off the event by singing the Star Spangled Banner, with her mother, Brenda, and brother, Justin, close by.
"Family must come first. They were with me when I started and have remained with me on this incredible journey," said Col. Lukefahr. "I thank my lucky stars that they are with me today, and have been with me through good times and bad."
"Today we are going to pay tribute not just to the Lukefahrs, but to our Army and military families," said Col.Thomas Ball, USARPAC chief of staff and keynote speaker at the event. "He [Col. Lukefahr] comes from a family with a proud history of service as well."
According to Ball, the Lukefahr family's U.S. Navy history made the venue of the famed battleship memorial, the same deck upon which World War II was officially ended, even more appropriate for the event.
Lukfahr's father, Lt. David Lukefahr served with the U.S. Navy and perished while on a mission in 1962. Lukefahr's stepfather, Navy Cmdr. (retired) Bill Wolfe, raised Lukefahr and his three siblings. Wolfe is a veteran of six tours in Vietnam.
Col. Lukefahr was commissioned in 1980 as the Distinguished Military Graduate at Texas Arts and Industries University as a military intelligence officer. He served in a variety of commands and positions throughout his 30-year career. Lukefahr has served several assignments in Hawaii.
Of all the assignments during his career, Lukefahr cited his most memorable as being in Iraq, where he deployed simultaneously with his son whom he sought out, found, and promoted to First Lieutenant.
"I had the privilege of serving at the same time with my son, David, watching him perform in some of the most difficult situations, performing better than I ever did as a young officer, and then having the opportunity to promote him to First Lieutenant in Baghdad," said Lukefahr.
Lukefahr's retirement from the active Army is not an end but a transition.
"This marks the end of some proud accomplishments... but here at the end of this uniformed career of service is also a new beginning," said Ball."We have immediately hired Luke right back into our headquarters as a Department of the Army civilian, where we expect great things from him as the Deputy Director of the CCP here in the Pacific."
Throughout his remarks, the senior Lukefahr expressed gratitude to his wife and children for their love and support.
"To my family, you have sacrificed so much during this journey, while I was trying to find that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, the next job, the next school, the next promotion, what I failed to realize was that pot of gold was always within my reach. I wasn't looking in the right places. I know now it's always been there at home with you," said Lukefahr.
"Now we venture together on our new journeys, as I already have that pot of gold right here."