Chief Master Sergeant (Ret.) Roland “Hap” Lutz, Jr. was one of the first Air Commandos in the Air Force special operations history. He served as a combat medic after enlisting in 1958. In Vietnam, Lutz experienced some of the most gruesome days of his medical career. On his first day, he tended to a mother who was shot by her own child, a military member who was shot in the eye at the firing range and two prisoners shot by their guard. During a deployment to Udorn Air Base, Thailand, he was sent to assist Lao villagers wrongly bombed by U.S. aircraft. Lutz and his crew took a generator and movie equipment to entertain them. While the villagers were watching a movie, they were hit by the Pathet Loa, a communist political organization in Laos. Lutz helped 23 people who were seriously wounded during the attack. In Nov. 1999, Lutz discovered that a hospital was named, “Doc Lutz Hospital,” in Savannakhet, Laos, in Lutz’s honor.
Lutz has made it clear that none of his accomplishments would have been possible without the help of his strong and loving wife, Shirley, who stayed home and raised their eight children. Since his retirement, he spends his days taking care of her and attending and supporting Air Commando Association events.