New Windsor resident and Vietnam War veteran Michael Lutz was inducted into the New York State Senate Veterans’ Hall of Fame surrounded by family, fellow veterans, and friends this week. The honor came from New York State Senator James Skoufis during a ceremony at the American Legion Post 1420 in the Town of Newburgh.
Lutz, a lifelong Hudson Valley resident, is a U.S. Navy veteran as well as an Air and Army National Guardsman. He is also a minister and a dedicated community servant.
The Hall of Fame program was created to honor and recognize outstanding veterans from New York State who have distinguished themselves in both military and civilian life.
“To say that Michael Lutz has worn many hats during his life would be a gross understatement,” said
Skoufis. “Be it carrying mail in New Windsor, providing spiritual guidance to fellow servicemen or congregants at St. Francis Church, volunteering with countless veterans’ causes, or his duties as a father and grandfather, no one is more dedicated to his veterans’ community or his family than Michael. I am deeply honored to share this recognition with him in front of numerous friends and servicemembers and applaud his induction to the Senate Veterans’ Hall of Fame.”
“It means the world to me to be inducted,” said Lutz. “To be surrounded by siblings, kids, grandkids, fellow veterans, and neighbors, and to have the support of Senator Skoufis and his excellent team, was a thrill and an honor. I just want to keep doing what I’m doing: helping veterans and serving my community.”
The day’s presentation included an invocation by Deacon Anthony Ferraiuolo. In addition to Lutz’s comments, remarks were also made by VFW Post Commander Richie Lay; Beverely Swift, Lut’z sister; and his son, Michael Lutz, Jr.
The group also took a moment of silence to acknowledge the passing of PFC George Wargo, Sr., a Haverstraw veteran who earned the same honor from Skoufis in December and passed earlier this year.
Lutz was born on July 13th, 1947 to Anna Martello and Charles Lutz. Along with his four sisters, he grew up in Garnerville, N.Y. After graduating from high school in June of 1965, he began what would be 35 years of total service, across three different military branches. He enlisted in the United States Navy in September of 1965. His Navy service, totaling four years, consisted of first attending Radioman “A” school and then being stationed on the Destroyer USS Charles S. Sperry (DD697). Aboard the USS Sperry, he sailed around Asia and Africa on a Goodwill Tour; when the ship docked, they helped build schools and small clinics in remote areas.
In September of 1968, Lutz began serving in the Mobile Riverine Force, M-151-1, in Vietnam.
Onboard, Michael worked as the radio operator and machine gunner. From his time serving in the
Mekong Delta region of Vietnam, he earned 4 Battle Stars.
Lutz left Vietnam in August of 1969, received an Honorable Discharge, and returned to his hometown in Rockland County. After working for a few years at St. Regis Paper Company in West Nyack, he joined the Army National Guard, 101ST Signal Battalion, where he served in the Communications Division. Then
from 1973 to 1976, he transferred to a Medical unit in the Army Reserves, 815th Station Hospital at Stewart Army Subpost, as the Sergeant in charge of the Radio Communications Section until 1983.
In 1985, Lutz joined the 105th Air National Guard at Stewart Air Guard Base in Newburgh, NY.
There, he worked in the Planning and Scheduling Section as a Maintenance Scheduler on the
C-5-A Galaxy Airplane.
During the weekdays, Michael worked as a postal carrier in New Windsor.
After 35 years of military service and 36 years of federal service, he retired at the rank of Master Sergeant (E-7) in 2007 and as a postal carrier in 2009.
Beginning in 2000, Michael was Eucharist Minister at mass at the 105th Airlift Wing Chaplain’s Office. He also served as a Eucharist Minister, lecturer, and usher, at St. Francis Church in Newburgh, which he has been doing for over 25 years and still does today.
Lutz is a Life Member of VFW Post 1161, where he serves as the Service Officer and Post Chaplain. He is also a Life Member of Joseph Farina Catholic War Veterans Post 386 where he serves as the 3rd Vice Commander and Service Officer.
As a part of his involvement in local Veteran organizations, Lutz has led one of the Poppy Drives,
a joint effort by the VFW and Catholic War Veterans to collect money to donate to veteran causes
such as Honor Flight, Purple Heart Foundation, and the Orange County Veterans’ Food Pantry.
Lutz is a current resident of New Windsor, New York. He is most proud of his seven children and
ten grandchildren, who range from the ages of six to 21 years old. Following in Michael’s footsteps,
his eldest son joined the 105th Air National Guard and later transferred to the Navy Active Duty,
continuing the family’s long line of service to our nation.
Lutz’s awards include Combat Action Ribbon, Navy Presidential Unit Citation, Vietnam Service Medal with 4 stars, RVN Gallantry Cross with Palm, and Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.