Story by Joseph Kumzak, Presidio of Monterey Public Affairs
PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. — The Marine Corps Detachment hosted a memorialization ceremony March 1 to dedicate its new barracks to a fallen Marine and Defense Language Institute alumnus.
The Presidio is lined with buildings dedicated to distinguished individuals in recognition for their courage, heroism and selfless service — such as Taylor Hall, Rasmussen Hall and Nakamura Hall.
“For the next few decades every Marine that comes through DLI will live in this barracks. And every day when they come and go, they will walk past that plaque and see Sgt. Pyeatt’s picture and citation and be reminded of what he did … hopefully that inspires Marines for years to come,” said Lt. Col. Jason Schermerhorn, Marine Corps Detachment commander.
Pyeatt studied Russian at DLI June 2008 – June 2009, then graduated the Russian Cryptologic program Sept. 11, 2009. Upon graduation, he was assigned to the II Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
He was on his first deployment in Afghanistan for only two weeks when he volunteered for the mission that cost his life.
“I know I can’t go on every patrol, but I need to go on the first one so I know what my Marines are going through,” he told a fellow Marine as they prepared for the mission.
Pyeatt was posthumously awarded the National Intelligence Medal for Valor. Former director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper presented the award to his parents June 29, 2011.
“He ensured that each one of us was taken care of and that we knew that this was our new family” said Staff Sgt. Anish Parmar, Pyeatt’s former teammate. “Luke was just an all-around happy person and always strived to be better.”
Parmar added, “Luke didn’t become famous because we lost him in Afghanistan, everyone knew him before then.”
Parents Scott and Cindy traveled from Ohio, and uncle from southern California, to attend the building dedication.
“We are so grateful that the Marine Corps cared enough about our son to remember him, and the linguists that come after him will know his story,” said Cindy. “We appreciate all of the work that went into this … everyone here has jumped through hoops to get this ready. The Marines will be moving in soon and they are very excited.”
The four-story barracks has 160 rooms — each with a kitchen, bathroom, and individual bedrooms for the two occupants.
Jay Tulley, Presidio’s energy manager, said the building is designed to be environmentally friendly, conserve energy and reduce costs. Included are high-efficiency heating units, an energy-recovery ventilation system, LED lights and a solar-thermal heating system.
“The building will consume half the energy per square foot than the average barracks on the Presidio,” he said.
Scott, a retired Air Force Chief Master Sergeant said it’s the most impressive barracks he has seen.
“Oh my gosh it’s amazing, this is so beautiful,” said Cindy. She jokingly added, “The Air Force is going to go to war over it.”
“I think it is so cool that his memory will never die,” said Giada Bleeker, Pyeatt’s close friend and fellow Marine. “He had an impact on so many people, and now he will continue to impact so many future Marines in a positive way.”