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Story by Staff Sgt. Ryan Smith
The words stumble from his mouth like a child who misses a step. Memories are flashing through his mind as he remembers details of a friend who had fallen in the line of duty.
“Pyeatt was cool; he was a good guy,” uttered Lance Cpl. Michael Guzinsky, an intelligence operator with 2nd Radio Battalion and close friend to Cpl. Lucas Pyeatt, who was killed in action, Feb. 5, by an improvised explosive device in the town of Kajaki, Afghanistan. “He was one of my best friends.”
Pyeatt, who hailed from Westchester, Ohio, was a team leader with 2nd Radio Battalion and was attached to Battery B, 1st Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 8, in support of the ongoing fight against the Taliban in and around Kajaki. He had only been in Kajaki for four days when he volunteered to join the fated patrol.
“His reasoning for going out on that patrol was the fact he was the team leader,” said Guzinsky. “He wanted to go out there on the first patrol and see what was happening and see what we are going to get into out here.”
Guzinsky credits Pyeatt’s lead-from-the-front mentality to his time as an infantryman.
“He really loved the Marine Corps,” said Guzinsky with a slight quiver to his lip. “He was infantry for a while there before he got hurt and lat moved to our job. They said he couldn’t be infantry anymore, so they sent him to [Defense Language Institute] to be a linguist, and then he comes out here and he’s doing the exact same thing he would be doing as an infantry Marine, so it was pretty ironic.”
Pyeatt’s dedication to his Marines was always on display. Guzinsky remembers many times where Pyeatt would step in to help or take care of his Marines.
“He was always there to lend a hand,” boasted Guzinsky. “He’d always stick around. One night we all went to Red Lobster for dinner. During the meal, he noticed one of the Marines was only eating the biscuits and not getting a meal. Lucas bought that Marine a steak dinner. He bought him a steak. That was what kind of person he was.”
Even though he seemed fearless to his Marines, Pyeatt confided to Guzinsky one of his greatest trepidations: the fear of being a bad team leader.
“He was afraid of being a bad team leader because of the technical side of our job,” said Guzinsky. “He was a good leader and good people person. He knew how to talk to people. I always told him not to worry about the job and just worry about being a good leader.”
The memories of a fallen friend and brother in arms will remain forever. As Guzinsky finished his thoughts his eyes turned skyward as if talking to the heavens.
“He was one of my best friends, I miss him.”