- NATO Kosovo Force
- Operation Enduring Freedom
- Operation Freedom’s Sentinel
- Operation Inherent Resolve
- Operation Iraqi Freedom
- Operation New Dawn
- Operation Octave Shield
- Operation Odyssey Lightning
- Operation Spartan Shield
- U.S. Africa Command Operations
- U.S. Central Command operations
- The People Behind The Sacrifice
Navy Aviation Ordnanceman 2nd Class (SEAL) Marc A. Lee
Died August 2, 2006 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom
28, of Hood River, Ore.; a member of a West Coast-based SEAL Team; killed Aug. 2 during combat operations while on patrol in Ramadi, Iraq.
SEAL earns posthumous Silver Star
By Gidget Fuentes
SAN DIEGO, Calif. — In his final act as a Navy SEAL, Aviation Ordnanceman 2nd Class (SEAL) Marc A. Lee rained down machine gun fire to help protect several of his teammates before he was felled by enemy fire in Iraq last week.
On Tuesday, Navy Secretary Donald C. Winter honored that heroism with approval of the Silver Star, Cmdr. Greg Geisen, a spokesman for the Naval Special Warfare Command in Coronado, Calif., said Wednesday afternoon.
The Aug. 2 death of Lee, 28, was the first suffered in Iraq by the Navy’s elite commando force.
Lee and other teammates were supporting an Iraqi Army unit during military operations with Army forces in Ramadi, the provincial capital of Anbar province in western Iraq that has seen regular attacks by insurgents.
According to the award citation, provided to Navy Times by Geisen, Lee was conducting clearance operations in south-central Ramadi with members of a Naval Special Warfare Combat Advisory element.
“During the operation, one element member was wounded by enemy fire. The element completed the casualty evacuation, regrouped and returned onto the battlefield to continue the fight,” the citation reads. “Petty Officer Lee and his SEAL element maneuvered to assault an unidentified enemy position. He, his teammates, Bradley Fighting Vehicles and Abrams tanks engaged enemy positions with suppressive fire from an adjacent building to the north.
“To protect the lives of his teammates, he fearlessly exposed himself to direct enemy fire by engaging the enemy with his machine gun and was mortally wounded in the engagement. His brave actions in the line of fire saved the lives of many of his teammates,” it states.
According to Stars and Stripes newspaper, which had a reporter embedded with Army units in the city during the operation, an insurgent sniper shot and wounded a Navy SEAL in the face at the start of a battle that lasted at least an hour over a five-block area. A second SEAL was wounded in the battle.
Lee completed the Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL course in 2004 and joined the Coronado, Calif.-based SEAL Team 5 a year ago. He deployed to Iraq with his team earlier this year.
A native of Hood River, Ore., he enlisted in 2001 and completed naval air technical training in Pensacola, Fla. After an initial attempt to complete the grueling BUD/S program in Coronado and a temporary reassignment to the aircraft carrier Dwight D. Eisenhower, Lee rejoined the program and completed the course to become a SEAL.
Lee also has been posthumously awarded a Bronze Star with combat “V” for his actions in Iraq during his team’s combat tour and the Purple Heart medal, Geisen said. His awards and decorations include the Combat Action Ribbon, Meritorious Unit Commendation and the National Defense Service Medal.
First SEAL killed in Iraq
SAN DIEGO — The death of a Navy SEAL killed last week in Iraq’s Anbar Province marked a first for the close-knit commando community.
Aviation Ordnanceman 2nd Class (SEAL) Marc Alan Lee, 28, died during a firefight Aug. 2 in Ramadi, Iraq, military officials announced Aug. 4.
Lee’s death — the first of a Navy SEAL killed in combat in Iraq since U.S. military operations began there in 2003 — came during a renewed U.S-Iraqi offensive in Ramadi, the provincial capital that has seen regular attacks by insurgents.
According to Stars and Stripes newspaper, which had a reporter embedded with Army units in the city during the operation, an insurgent sniper shot and wounded a SEAL in the face at the start of a battle that lasted at least an hour across a five-block area.
“Before the battle ended, a second SEAL was wounded in the shoulder and another killed by machine-gun fire as he and soldiers from the 1st Brigade, 1st Iraqi Army Division attacked bunkered insurgents,” the paper reported in its Aug. 3 Mideast edition.
Later, “the SEALs prepared to enter another building where insurgents had holed up. The insurgents opened fire, fatally wounding one SEAL, who was hit with a blast of gunfire through a window,” the paper reported. “The rest of the team returned fire, killing the insurgents. One more SEAL was wounded in the shoulder when insurgents began firing at them from another bunkered house.”
Lee, who completed the Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL course in 2004, joined the Coronado, Calif.-based SEAL Team 5 in July 2005 and deployed with his team earlier this year, according to Naval Special Warfare Command in Coronado.
A native of Hood River, Ore., Lee enlisted in the Navy in May 2001, and became an AO after completing Naval Air Technical Training in Pensacola, Fla. In October 2001, in his first attempt to complete the grueling BUD/S program, he caught pneumonia and had to drop from the course, and was reassigned to the carrier Dwight D. Eisenhower. Lee rejoined the BUD/S program in 2004, and he completed the course.
He was awarded a Bronze Star with combat “V” for heroism and also received a Purple Heart medal and the Combat Action Ribbon, officials said. His other awards and decorations include the Meritorious Unit Commendation and the National Defense Service Medal.
“Marc was amazing. He was my best friend, my love,” his widow, Maya, told the Los Angeles Times.
An avid soccer player, he is also survived by his mother, brother and sister, Naval Special Warfare Command officials said.
“It was so like Marc to give up his life to save his friends,” his mother, Debbie Lee, told the Hood River News. “I am so proud of him. He is my hero.”
While Lee is the first SEAL to be killed in Iraq, combat operations in Afghanistanhave cost the lives of 16 SEALs — including eight SEALs who were killed during a rescue mission June 28, 2005.
— By Gidget Fuentes, Staff writer
SEAL’s letter read at memorial service
HOOD RIVER, Ore. — In one of the last letters he sent before his death, a Navy SEAL wrote that his duty in Iraq made him appreciate America even more.
“I have felt fear at some of the things I have seen here,” wrote Navy Aviation Ordnanceman 2nd Class Marc A. Lee. “I have seen amazing things and sad things.”
But being in Iraq, he added, “makes me realize what a great country we have.”
Lee’s brother, Kris, read the letter at a memorial service this weekend at the Hood River Expo Center. More than 600 people heard Lee eulogized as son, husband, brother, uncle, warrior, American and Christian.
Lee, 28, was killed Aug. 2 in a firefight while on patrol against insurgents in Ramadi, Iraq. A member of a Coronado, Calif.-based SEAL team, Lee was one of the first members of the elite group to be killed in Iraq.
Navy officers told Debbie Lee that her son died after single-handedly holding off enemy fighters as his team rescued a wounded soldier from a rooftop.
SEALs rely on each other like brothers, so it is no surprise that Lee gave his life saving his brothers, said Rep. Greg Walden, who represents Hood River, where Lee grew up, and was one of about a dozen speakers.
Boyhood best friend Chris Wells, who later joined Marc Lee’s family when he married Lee’s sister, Cheryl, said, “Marc was my best friend, my brother-in-law, my children’s uncle, and now my hero.”
Officiating pastor Doug Iverson said: “He left as a boy, and he become a true warrior. He was not a perfect man. Not perfect but perfected in God.”
Maj. Gen. Raymond F. Rees of the Oregon National Guard, representing Gov. Ted Kulongoski, gave Debbie Lee a Gold Star banner. Kulongoski, who has vowed to attend the funeral of all active duty military personnel from Oregon, attended Lee’s funeral and burial two weeks ago at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in Point Loma, Calif.
Lee is survived by his wife, Maya Elbaum; mother, Debra Lee; sister, Cheryl Wells; and brother, Kris.
Information from The Oregonian
— Associated Press