In Memory of Sgt Lucas Pyeatt, USMC



This Friday, the MCRD Museum Foundation is holding its annual golf tournament fundraiser, named in memory of Sgt Lucas Pyeatt.

Sergeant Lucas T. Pyeatt was the epitome of a United States Marine. Raised in Newport News, Virginia, Lucas was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and was an active member of his community. He was also a rather talented bass player and Eagle Scout. Lucas showed a unique passion and enthusiasm for life in all he pursued.

In addition to using his many talents to accomplish many things, he lived his life in a way that would lead even a casual acquaintance to conclude that he was a person whose every action was characterized by kindness and consideration for others. For him, standing up for the little guy was a way of life. Among his many acts of benevolence toward his friends and family was taking the time to learn sign language to better communicate with a close friend who was deaf.

After high school, he attended Old Dominion University for a short while, but ultimately decided to follow in the footsteps of his father, a 30-year Air Force veteran, and offer his service to his nation by enlisting in the United States Marine Corps.

Lucas put the same drive and devotion into being a Marine that he had exhibited in his formative years. He excelled in his studies at the Defense Language Institute, becoming fluent in Russian. After training, he was assigned to the II Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group at Camp Lejeune. In 2011 his unit deployed to southern Afghanistan.

While deployed, Sgt Pyeatt’s job was to translate, monitor and transcribe critical information in real time, with the aim of gaining intelligence on enemy insurgent operations and activities. During his brief but significant time in Afghanistan, Sgt Pyeatt’s leadership and technical skills “were instrumental in the conduct of direction finding and enemy communications in a contested region.”

Sergeant Pyeatt had only been “in country” for two weeks when he volunteered to participate in an important mission. While on his first foot patrol in February 2011, he lost his life to an improvised explosive device.

During his life Lucas T. Pyeatt was many things to many people. To his family, he was a devoted son. To his friends, he was someone they could always look to for help and support. To his nation, Sergeant Pyeatt was a loyal and dedicated member of the United States Marine Corps.

His father said it best, noting his son had “accomplished more in his 24 years of life than most people accomplish in a lifetime.” In his service and sacrifice, Sergeant Pyeatt more than lived up to the motto of the Corps by being always faithful to his loved ones, his fellow Marines, and most of all to those principles and virtues that for over two centuries, have allowed our nation to remain free.

Sgt Pyeatt’s legacy lives on not only in the hearts of his loved ones, but also through the museum’s VOICE Program. Through donations made in his memory, hundreds of active duty Marines and veterans benefit from community building events, discussion groups, education programs, and more. Thank you, Sgt Pyeatt, and Semper Fidelis.

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Charles H. Waterhouse, Artist in Residence, Colonel, USMCR

By Ray Lebron, Museum Docent


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Charles H. Waterhouse, Artist in Residence, Colonel, USMCR


Charles H. Waterhouse was an American painter, illustrator, and sculptor renowned for using United States Marine Corps historical themes as the motif for his works. Throughout his career, he created over 500 pieces for the Marine Corps Art Collection.


Waterhouse enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1943 and was on the first wave landing on Iwo Jima with the 5 th Marine Division. During the battle, he was severely wounded but fortunately continued to have a remarkable career as an artist.


After the war, Waterhouse formally studied art. Upon graduating in 1950, Waterhouse became a sought-after illustrator, with his work appearing in hundreds of books, magazines, and publications. In 1966, the Society of Illustrators began sending artists to Vietnam and Waterhouse volunteered.


His research was always meticulous as to accuracy of detail. He had a penchant for horses and dogs in his works. Whenever possible and appropriate, he would add animals to his works (as seen in several of his paintings in the MCRD Museum Art Gallery).


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Horse Marines (December 1846), Charles Waterhouse, Colonel, USMCR


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Landing at Monterey (7 July 1846), Charles Waterhouse, Colonel, USMCR


In 1971 Waterhouse received a commission as a major in the reserves to create 14 salon-size paintings depicting the Marines in the Revolution for the U.S. Bicentennial that was approaching. The Marine Corps wanted an artist whose forte was historical accuracy. He became the “Artist in Residence” for the Marine Corps Historical Division. His paintings about Marines were of the highest quality and whenever Headquarters Marine Corps needed an important specific pictorial assignment, they called on him. His final contribution for the Marines in Revolution was 14 major paintings, 70 finished drawings, and four smaller paintings which rounded out the collection.


He served in the Marines for a total of 21 years of service which included his time during WWII. Waterhouse’s work can be seen in museums, federal buildings, and historical sites around the country. The paintings featured in the MCRD Museum’s Art Gallery are from the series, “Marines in the Conquest of California,” and are on loan from the National Museum of the Marine Corps.


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Students visiting the museum on a field trip learn how to analyze Col Waterhouse's paintings for historical clues as part of the Museum Education Program.


Ray Lebron is a Marine Corps veteran and a docent at the MCRD Command Museum. He is an active volunteer in his community and enjoys educating others about Marine Corps History. 

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Sea Duty Marines

by Brett Dingerson, Museum Docent



Sea duty is in the DNA of every Marine who has ever served in the Corps. 


It became a major part of mine when I graduated from Sea School, MCRD San Diego, September 1971. 


The Continental Marines were established on Nov 10, 1775, by a resolution of the 2nd Continental Congress. It stressed “that particular care be taken, that no persons be appointed to office, or enlisted into said Battalions, but such are as good seamen, or so acquainted with maritime affairs as to be able to serve to advantage by sea when required.” 


Marine detachments (MARDET) became integrated into ship’s crews in December 1775. That tradition carried on until 1998. Nuclear weapons were removed from Naval surface ships and General Krulak wanted grunts in grunt units. 


MARDET Marines, all 03s, were usually young, “non-salty” types. Appearance, fitness, and a generally tough appearance are desired traits when you represent the Marine Corps. Navy ships make port calls all over the world and we could be the first and only Marines the locals would ever see, not counting John Wayne. Uniform inspection began every day; look less than perfect, and no breakfast for you. Spit shined, polished, and squared away, superior performance in inspections was demanded. Dress Blues were fitted and free. 


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At Sea School we trained in a variety of MARDET duties: rifle, pistol, and naval gunfire. Ships with naval guns always had one gun manned by Marines. (The guns we used are now northwest of the Headquarters building at the intersection leading to the Bayview Restaurant on the Depot.) We enforced ship discipline and manned the brig. Marine orderlies provided security for flag officers, their living quarters, and their communications. Orderlies had Top Secret clearance, necessary to perform duty in Flag Country. 


Shipboard fire training was expanded to include damage control after the 1973 USS Forrestal disaster. Firefighting/damage control school was at the 32nd St Naval Station, where instructors set tanks of bunker oil afire, sending black smoke and flames high into the sky. We put the fires out using naval firefighting equipment. Special hose nozzles sprayed water in front of you to create a cool and safe zone, allowing approach and suppression of the inferno. We spent a few days learning to navigate the interior of the USS Coral Sea, not an easy thing to do. We learned naval terminology, port from starboard, etc. 


Marine sentries guarding the SASS locker (Special Ammunition Storage Space, nukes) were authorized to use lethal force 24/7, the only post in the Marine Corps so authorized. Sentries were armed with M1911 sidearms and completely filled the door access to SASS. No one was allowed to approach without proper ID and their name on the access list. The mat in front of the guard post, crimson with the EGA prominently displayed, trimmed in gold, created the boundary beyond which none could enter without authorization. Any unauthorized sailor that stepped on the gold trim was warned, if he continued onto the crimson we were trained to engage. That never happened. 


Chow lines aboard ships can be quite long, but anyone “on duty” got to cut in front and be fed immediately. All it took to be “on duty” was a duty belt, and we all had one of those...


Brett Dingerson has been a docent at the MCRD Command Museum for 11 years and a volunteer on the USS Midway Museum for 4 years. He is a Kansas native and attended the United States Military Academy at West Point. He served as an active duty Marine from 1971-1975 as an 0311. After graduating from Sea School, he served with the Marine Detachment at Commander in Chief Pacific, Camp Smith Hawaii, under Admiral John S. McCain, Jr.

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