Luke J. Mercardante
5/10/1972 — 4/15/2008
The date was April 15, 2008. In the lawless southern provinces of Afghanistan, about 100 Marines left their military base at Kandahar Airfield as part of a supply convoy comprised of dozens of vehicles. Marine 1st Sgt. Luke J. Mercardante, the battalion sergeant major for Combat Logistics Battalion 24, was assigned to sit in the lead Humvee of the convoy, but at the last minute, he was moved to a vehicle farther back. During the trip, his vehicle detonated an improvised explosive device just as it started to go over a culvert beneath the road, causing a massive explosion that took the lives of 1st Sgt. Luke J. Mercardante and Cpl. Kyle W. Wilks, and injured two others.