NASCAR driver honoring 2 fallen Marines

By BILL POWELL
Herald Staff Writer

DUBOIS — Two fallen U.S. Marines from Dubois will be honored by having their names on NASCAR driver Kurt Busch’s No. 41 Stewart-Haas car during a race this month.

Lueken
Terwiske

Earlier this year it was announced Cpl. Eric Lueken, a 2001 Northeast Dubois High School graduate killed in action April 22, 2006, in Iraq, was going to be honored by Busch.

The last three years, Busch has teamed with the Armed Forces Foundation to race in memory or in honor of service members.

Lueken’s cousin, John Marks, 52, of Owensboro, who closely follows the Armed Forces Foundation and the Wounded Warriors Project, nominated the fallen Marine.

Marks said Jake Lueken, Eric's father, then nominated Lance Cpl. Alec Terwiske, 21, who was killed Sept. 3, 2012, in Afghanistan for inclusion in the same program.

Those heading Busch’s Race Dedication Program decided both former Jeeps should be on the No. 41 race car Sept. 14 when the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series visits Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill. It will be the first race in the 2014 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship.

An Armed Forces Foundation spokesman said this is the third year that Kurt Busch and the Foundation are teaming for the Race Dedication Program.

Each race is normally dedicated to honoring one service member. This is not the first time the Kurt Busch Race Dedication program has honored two service members from the same town at one race but it will be the first time two such warfighters killed in the line of duty are so honored.

Terwiske, the son of Alan and Sandy (Eckert) Terwiske, enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in 2010. He was a member of the 1st Marine Division and was participating in Operation Enduring Freedom.

Terwiske died while conducting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

Terwiske played baseball for the Jeeps. A baseball-shaped sign hangs in his honor on the right-field fence where he used to play and, each season, a senior baseball player who mirrors Terwiske in effort, attitude and sacrifice gets to wear his former No. 30 for the season.

Terwiske was assigned to 1st Combat Engineer Battalion, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, Calif. His parent command was Inspector/Instructor Staff, 4th Tank Battalion, 4th Marine Division, Marine Forces Reserve, Fort Knox, Ky.

Lueken, the son of Jake and Melinda Lueken of Dubois, was mortally wounded by an improvised device that detonated while he was in a convoy in Al Anbar province, Iraq. He was a 23-year-old field radio operator with the 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division.

The men in Lueken’s company nicknamed him “Radio” and said his parents “had raised the coolest Marine in the Third of the Third,” according to Marks.

When he was a high school senior, Lueken was the first jeep to venture up a ladder to cut down a piece of net after his team defeated Orleans for the Class 1A sectional title. His No. 23 basketball jersey is displayed in the gym along with Terwiske’s baseball jersey. In fact, their memorial displays are in the process of being updated, according to Principal Rick Gladish.

Lueken and Terwiske’s names will be located under the No. 41 car’s left taillight.

Contact Bill Powell at bpowell@dcherald.com.