When approached by the City of Detroit to describe her son John Luger, his grieving mother gently wrote, “He had a very pleasing personality and was loved by all who knew him. Many of his friends still visit me.” – – Margaret Luger, July 1947.
Charles Luger was born in 1925 in Pittsburgh, PA. By the mid-1930’s, the Luger family moved to Detroit where his father worked as a draftsman; his mother as a registered nurse. John was educated at St. Brigid’s school [long ago closed] where he played inter-mural basketball and became president of the Youth Club. He graduated from Detroit Central High School where he resolved to attend law school per his yearbook entry. John stayed connected to St. Brigid’s by helping to coach the boy’s football team before going to his midnight shift job at Detroit Diesel.
On November 26, 1944 Staff Sergeant Luger was moving through the town of Butadorf, Germany with the US Army 358th Infantry, 90th Division, 2nd Platoon. This area had been previously scouted and cleared of the enemy.
Suddenly, his platoon came under intense machine gun, artillery and bazooka fire. Luger voluntarily took command of a .50 caliber tank gun wiping out an enemy sniper nest. He killed ten additional enemy soldiers. This decisive action allowed two platoons to find safe positions and minimized U.S. casualties. John Luger died on December 7. 1944 from wounds received that day.
He was awarded with the Silver Star for bravery and his stellar command. His previous decorations include a Bronze Star Medal and a Purple Heart with Oak Leaf cluster for previous battles and injuries on July 4th and November 13, 1944. John Luger, Jr. was interred in Lorraine American Cemetery in St. Avold, France.
His memorial playground is located in a small triangular neighborhood bordered by 7 Mile, Schaefer and the Lodge Freeway in northwest Detroit. The 1+ acre playground offers an older backstop, newer climbing and playground equipment and a large lone shade tree. During the 2015 summer the Greening of Detroit cared for this playground and creating play opportunities for the neighborhood kids.
Andrea Gallucci ©2015.