Sunday, May 28, 2006

Home Town Heroes: Tonganoxie mourns loss of Frantz |

He was a high school football star turned husband, and on Oct. 18, 2005, Lucas Frantz was an American soldier who was killed in combat in Iraq.

Sometime later this year, when his Army unit returns to their home base at Fort Wainwright, near Fairbanks, Alaska, Frantz’ 24-year-old widow will be there to welcome the soldiers with whom her husband served.

“It’s something I’ve got to do for myself and for Lucas,” Kelly Frantz said. “As much as Lucas was a brother to them, I am their sister. We are a family.”

The Tonganoxie man’s dedication to serving his country led him to join the Army Reserves at age 17. Three years later, in May 2003, Frantz requested and was granted active duty status. The United States had conquered Baghdad but the death toll from insurgent attacks was starting to add up.

Lucas Frantz was assigned to Fort Wainwright’s First Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment, 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team. The battalion deployed to Iraq in August 2005.

Only two months later — on his 22nd birthday — vehicle commander Spec. Lucas Frantz was killed in a sniper attack in the city of Mosul. He was the first member of his unit killed in action.

Kelly Frantz also won’t forget the torn emotions she experienced the day of her husband’s memorial service as his body was laid to rest in Tonganoxie’s Maple Grove Cemetery. A crowd estimated at 400 attended the service. More than 300 American flags lined the procession route to the cemetery.

Read more about Spc Lucas Frantz:

Tonganoxie mourns loss of Frantz |

Another Home Town Hero: Lance Cpl Christopher Wasser

Kevin Honeycutt remembers Christopher as a “spunky little boy” enrolled in summer art classes Honeycutt taught, a young man so full of patriotism that he signed up to serve in the Marines on his 18th birthday.

Whatever the activity was, Honeycutt said, Chris was at the front of the line, ready to work on any project Honeycutt assigned.

“He was full of life in a way that’s hard to describe,” Honeycutt said.

As the years went on, Chris began coming back to the art camp to volunteer, leading other children, helping in any way he could. Honeycutt described him as a “storm of energy.”

“When I found out (Chris had died) it was just the hardest thing in the world,” Honeycutt said. “Everyone that knew Chris just hit the floor.”

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