Marine posthumously awarded Intelligence Community Medal for Valor[MIGRATE]
Sgt. Lucas T. Pyeatt was posthumously awarded the Intelligence Community Medal for Valor during a ceremony at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence Headquarters in Mclean, Va.
James R. Clapper, the director of National Intelligence, presented the medal to Pyeatt’s parents, Scott and Cindy Pyeatt, in an intimate gathering, consisting of family, friends and Marines. Pyeatt was killed in action February 5, 2011, while serving in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. Pyeatt received the award for his exceptional leadership and skills as a signals intelligence team leader while in Afghanistan.
The medal for valor recognizes heroism and courage in connection with an intelligence community contribution to national security and is the second highest intelligence community award for bravery. Pyeatt’s award is the 10th medal awarded and the fourth awarded posthumously since the medal was established in October 2008. The award was introduced to acknowledge the “extraordinary and mostly unsung accomplishments” of intelligence community professionals.
Pyeatt originally entered the Corps as an infantryman, but due to an injury was forced to move to a job in intelligence. Pyeatt tackled his new position with tenacity. While at the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center, Pyeatt became fluent in both Russian and Pashto, the language of the Pashtun people in Afghanistan. While deployed to Afghanistan, Pyeatt’s job was to translate, monitor and transcribe for Marines and locals, as well as gain information about possible insurgent whereabouts.
Cindy described her son as a patriotic man who was dedicated to serving his country.
“He was so proud to do what he did,” Cindy said. “I never knew exactly what he did, which meant he was doing his [intelligence] job right.”
Pyeatt was only in Afghanistan for a short time when he volunteered for the first mission of the unit. Because of his job, Pyeatt couldn’t go on many missions, but insisted on participating in the initial operational convoy. He wanted to understand the environment in to which he was expected to take his men. While on the mission, the convoy was hit by an improvised explosive device, killing Pyeatt.
Lt. Col. Matthew Rau, the commanding officer of 2nd Radio Battalion, II Marine Headquarters Group, acknowledged Pyeatt’s place as a prominent leader and the “heart” of the battalion.
“He had influence on a lot of Marines,” Rau said. “He was a great young leader.”
Pyeatt’s death was hard on his family. Emily Smalley, Pyeatt’s sister, said he was an amazing uncle to her two children and hated to be away from them.
The pain, however, did not keep the family from staying involved within the battalion, Rau said.
“We expect to be there to support the family, but in this case, the family has been there to support the Marines,” Rau said.
Since Pyeatt’s death, the family has gotten to know many of the battalion’s young Marines, especially their wives and families, and offer help whenever needed.
The Marines of 2nd Radio Battalion will not soon forget the man or Marine Pyeatt was.
“No one could give more for his country or for his fellow Marines,” Clapper said. “Sgt. Pyeatt is a credit to the Corps, the intelligence community, his nation, his family and his heavenly Father."
The Marine Corps honored Pyeatt’s sacrifice by meritoriously awarding him the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal February 15, 2011.