Borough dedicates ball field to Air Force aviators

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Christopher Botzum,
  • 111th Attack Wing Public Affairs
Before the first crack of the Little League Baseball bat, Dickson City officials held a dedication ceremony at Crystal Park here April 25, 2015, naming the field after three resident Air Force fliers.

Now Lukasik Field, it was renamed after brothers, Lt. Col. Joseph Lukasik, Capt. Bernard Lukasik and Lt. Col. John Lukasik, who were all honored posthumously after a three-year effort by relatives, friends and community leaders.

"Sometimes veterans are forgotten," said Dickson City Judge Thomas Munley "They're up there in heaven saying, 'thank you for what you're doing for me.' We're a good country and we have servicemen like the Lukasik brothers that make it great."

"You may have read about the accomplishment and decorations of the Lukasiks, and they are impressive," said keynote speaker at the event, Col. William Griffin, 111th Attack Wing vice commander. "But I bet this ceremony, with this audience, and the honor of naming this field in their memory, would have meant more to them than any of those medals. They lived and served to defend this beautiful slice of Americana."

According to a 2006 article in the Lackawanna Historical Society Journal, authored by Dan Glodek, Joseph Lukasik, the oldest brother, joined the Air Force in 1951. He served in the Korea and Vietnam Wars as a fighter pilot. Joseph, flying in the back seat of his North American F-100 Super Sabre, was training a Turkish pilot on routine weapons delivery techniques when his aircraft failed to recover from a steep dive. He was killed in Esh Keshir, Turkey, March 1973.

Bernard Lakasik, enlisted in the Air Force in 1954. After attending the University of Scranton and the Air Force Institute of Technology, he received his bachelor's degree in aeronautical engineering and his commission as a pilot. Bernard served in Bien Hoa Air Base in South Vietnam flying North American T-28 Trojans. While providing supporting fire over friendly ground forces, several passes without ammunition, Bernard was brought down by enemy fire at the age of 29. He earned and was awarded the Air Force Cross, the second highest Air Force award for extraordinary heroism.

John Lukasik found out of his brother's death while a cadet at the Air Force Academy, Colorado Spring, Colo., in 1964. After graduation, John was trained as a navigator aboard Lockheed's C-121 Constellations and C-130 Hercules aircraft. After 20 years of flying service, his final assignment was as a Boston College professor of aerospace studies. John passed away in October 1987 from natural causes.
"The Lukasik brothers are Dickson City's version of the Sullivan family [five Navy brothers from Waterloo, Iowa, killed with the sinking of the USS Juneau, 1942]," Glodek, life-long friend and neighbor of the Lukasiks said. "They were heroes in their own right, living by duty, honor and country."

"Today, we decorate this field with a new plaque and with the fond memories of the Lukasiks," said Griffin. "Most importantly, we'll decorate this field with the youth and hopes of this great community - exactly what the brothers defended."