SPARTANBURG, SC (WSPA) — A South Carolina man dubbed “Luke Skywalker” by fellow soldiers for fighting heroically against Russian aggression, died in Ukraine last week.
Luke Lucyszyn, 31, of Myrtle Beach, died on July 18 in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine after he was knocked unconscious by an artillery strike and fatally shot by a tank, according to his commander, “Colonel” Ruslan Miroshnichenko, who shared the news on Facebook.
Lucyszyn originally grew up in New Jersey but later moved to Myrtle Beach.
His commander had previously reported heavy fighting in Severodonestk, where Lucyszyn and another American, a Canadian, and a Swede were killed when they were “ambushed” by a Russian tank.
The commander said a Russian tank had injured Lucyszyn, and then waited until additional Ukrainian soldiers came to rescue him before opening fire again, killing four soldiers.
“The first shot of the [Russian] tank hurt Luke hard. The boys rushed to save him, the Muskovite waited, then the second shot [killed] everyone in one shell. The boys couldn’t help it,” he wrote on Facebook.
Foreign volunteers are knowingly fighting this war against “Mordor,” Miroshnichenko said, in reference to the fictitious land of evil portrayed in Lord of the Rings.
“They were different from all of us. Their countries have not been attacked. They had peace, tranquility, welfare at home – all that the aggressor [is] dreaming about now. But left [home] to stand with us against the evil of the world, and died on our land in battle with the horde,” he wrote in a Facebook post.
The commander said he felt overwhelmed by the loss and couldn’t find the words to write “the post they deserve.”
It was a noble death for noble boys from different parts of the world, he wrote.
The colonel wrote obituaries for all four soldiers killed in the ambush on Facebook, including Brian Young, from California, born in 1971; Edvard Selander Patrignani, from Sweden, born in 1994; Emile-Antoine Roy Sirois, from Canada, born in 1991; and Luke Lucyszyn, of Myrtle Beach, born in 1991.
“[Lucyszyn was of] Ukrainian descent. He had difficulty pronouncing his surname ‘Lisicin,’ but very much insisted on his Ukrainian roots: his grandmother after World War Il emigrated from Ukraine to the United States,” he wrote in a Facebook post.
“Like in Star Wars, he challenged the Evil Empire itself on the side of the weaker but free,” he wrote in the tribute.
Miroshnichenko said some fellow fighters wondered how they could go on without Lucyszyn, who served as a medic in the Ukrainian army.
“Sir, how do you imagine fighting the forces of evil without Luke Skywalker,” Miroshnichenko recalled someone saying.