Veteran of the Month: David Lubke


By Milan Eagle Media

David Lubke was born on a farm in North Dakota. He grew up with 6 sisters and was the only son. He knew he didn’t want farming to be his future. A teacher told him about ROTC and he went to college on Army ROTC scholarship at Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. He met Kathleen there, they had the same class schedule the first year. After graduation she became his wife.
David was with the Reserve National Guard. They moved to Georgia where Kathleen studied for her Masters, then she got a job with Ford Motor Company and they moved to Michigan. After living in Ann Arbor a couple of years the couple moved to Milan and bought their first house on Ideal St.
David was assigned to 983rd Engineering Battalion in Ohio. For most part he was busy 1 weekend a month and 2 weeks in the summer. David started as a Platoon Leader then he was a Company Executive Officer. On April 1, 2004, while still in Ohio, he received his first Company Commander position. A few weeks later orders arrived that he would probably be mobilized by Sept./Oct. and officially on active duty. He was sent to Camp Atterbury, IN where he prepared and trained to deploy. He packed all is stuff, everyday more people showed up from all over the U.S. They left Camp Atterbury December 27, 2004 and the plane touched down in Kuwait 5 minutes before his birthday which was December 29. 2004. His unit had to wait for “all their stuff” to arrive by boat which took almost 3 weeks. In the mean time the construction unit trained getting ready for Iraq and Camp Speicher near Tikrit (Saddom’s home town). It was a long drive, huge convoy with the entire battalion, probably a couple of days on a main highway with spaced out “stops”.
Once on base the units unpacked and after a few weeks they were doing more construction. Three platoons (dozers and heavy equipment, carpenters, electricians and plumbers on this huge base…construction such as protection, concrete barriers and towers.
There was rain December, January and a little into February. At Speicher they always had to wear helmets. The later part of January they received mail for the first time since their arrival. David’s men experienced living without running water, trailers for bathrooms, and generators for electricity and a giant tent for dining. Because of his rank, David’s living conditions were a little better. Because they had skills and equipment and it was important for the morale David had them build horse shoe pits, volleyball courts and a gazabo between 2 buildings for their recreation use. April the four companies were separated to help support different missions leaving Company C the lone representative of the 983rd.
In April/May his first soldier was killed, Sgt. Gary “Andy” Eckert from Toledo. A roadside bomb exploded while his convoy was on a mission. Only 5 weeks earlier Eckert’s son Myles was born. Forward a few years later and we heard of the little boy that found a twenty dollar bill in the parking lot and wrapped it in a note that said his dad had been a soldier but he was in heaven and gave it to a soldier because he was reminded of the dad he loves but never met. He wanted to pay it forward and thank him for his service. That little boy was Myles.
The materials they had to work with were poor quality. During summer the heat would reach 120 degrees in the shade. If pouring concrete they would do early morning. Not only did they build but they closed bases, meaning they leveled, spread, picked up and hauled away as if the base had never existed. Just shy of a year they left Iraq and returned home to a welcome home ceremony in Toledo. In May 2007 David decided he didn’t want to miss more of his kids lives and he couldn’t teach, do Army and kids. He finished grad school, taught at EMU and got his Master’s in math. In 2009 he started working for the company he presently works for.
He says a lot of being successful is being in the right place at the right time and being on time. Referring to the military he said, “there’s no other place where you can have responsibility and experiences, especially at a young age, you’d never be as a civilian.
David and Kathleen have 3 children, ages 7, 10 and 14. He’s a member of the American Legion, active with the Knights of Columbus and sometimes speaks with school groups. He enjoys teaching.
Thank you David Lubke for your service.

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