Oregonian August 27, 2006
Iraq strengthened SEAL's patriotism
The slain Oregon native, honored by 600, wrote home of his love for
Sunday, August 27, 2006
AMY MARTINEZ STARKE
A Navy SEAL's everyday life would reduce most people to sobbing wrecks: extremes of heat and cold, sleep deprivation, the constant specter of danger. It is an existence of late-night phone calls and missed birthdays, while standing watch over the troubled waters of this world so that others may sleep peacefully.
It was the life that U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Marc A. Lee stoically, even cheerfully, accepted, said his family and friends
SEALs rely on each other like brothers, so it is no surprise that Lee gave his life saving his brothers, said U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, who represents Hood River, where Lee grew up.
Walden was among about a dozen who spoke at Lee's memorial service Saturday at the Hood River Expo Center.
Lee, 28, was killed Aug. 2 in a fierce firefight while on patrol against insurgents in Ramadi, Iraq. An aviation ordinanceman and 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.
U.S. 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. During the two-hour battle, Marc Lee fired 100 rounds against insurgents, they told her.
At least 600 people filled the Hood River Expo Center on Saturday. They came to hear Lee eulogized as son, husband, brother, uncle, warrior, outstanding American, and sincere Christian.
There were videos of Lee as a brawny young man and with his family members and a large portrait adorned with Lee's SEAL trident showing him in Navy whites.
The Mid-Columbia Community Choir's renditions of "Battle Hymn of the Republic" and "Navy Hymn" echoed through the cavernous building.
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.
On Saturday, Lee's brother, Kris read one of the last letters Lee had written:
"I have felt fear," Lee wrote, "at some of the things I have seen here. . . . I have seen amazing things and sad things."
But being in Iraq, he wrote, "makes me realize what a great country we have."
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 of Lee: "He left as a boy, and he become a true warrior. He was not a perfect man. Not perfect but perfected in God."
Lee was born in Portland on March 28, 1978. He graduated from Baptist Christian School in Hood River in 1996.
He is survived by his wife, Maya Elbaum; mother, Debra Lee; sister, Cheryl Wells; and brother, Kris.
On display at Saturday's service were the Silver Star medal, which Lee was awarded posthumously, and a Bronze Star.
At least 70 motorcyclists from the Patriot Guard Riders, who attend many military funerals, roared into the parking lot, many with American flags affixed to their cycles. They and their supporters drowned out four protesters from Westboro Baptist Church. Members of the Kansas church have claimed God is killing U.S. soldiers in Iraq to punish the United States for tolerating homosexuality and persecuting their church.
Amy Martinez Starke: 503-221-8534; firstname.lastname@example.org
San Diego Union-Tribune August 8, 2006
Navy loses first SEAL in Iraq war
Man who died was based at Coronado
By Cheryl Clark
August 8, 2006
A Coronado-based Navy SEAL died Wednesday during the Iraq war's biggest battle between U.S. forces and insurgents in Ramadi, the Pentagon has announced.
Petty Officer Second Class Marc Alan Lee was the first SEAL to be killed in Iraq since the war began in 2003. Lee, 28, of Hood River, Ore., was stationed at Naval Amphibious Base in Coronado, where he received his special-operations training two years ago.
Before his death, Lee helped rescue a fellow SEAL during a two-hour battle in which he fired 100 rounds against insurgents, Lee's mother, Debbie Lee, said she learned from Navy personnel yesterday morning.
She said her son was “committed to stand up for what was right and to make a difference.” In an e-mail sent a few days before his death, Lee told his mother that Iraqis wanted the U.S. forces there because insurgents were routinely violating many of their rights.
“He said they were begging for the military to release them from this tyranny and were appalled at the things that were going on,” said Debbie Lee of Surprise, Ariz.
Lee joined the Navy in 2001 and graduated from boot camp at the Recruit Training Command in Great Lakes, Ill. He then underwent training in Pensacola, Fla., to become an aviation ordnanceman.
He began SEAL and basic underwater demolition training in Coronado in 2001 but had to interrupt the program because of pneumonia, according to a Navy statement. He returned to Coronado for SEAL training in March 2004 and graduated that November.
Lee's wife, Maya, couldn't be reached for comment because she was traveling yesterday from her family's home in New York. But the Navy released the following statement from her: “Nothing could have prepared me for a loss so great. . . . We were very much looking forward to having a family of our own.”
Lee also is survived by his brother, Kris, of Surprise, and a sister, Cheryl Lee, of Longview, Wash.
|From Move America Forward moveamericaforward.org
Gold Star Navy SEAL Mom Leads Pro-Troop
Message Opposed to Cindy Sheehan’s Protest
Both Lost Sons in Iraq. Now they Face-Off in a War of Ideals
Hood River, OR. – The nation’s largest grassroots, pro-troop organization, Move America Forward, is sending their main spokesperson, Debbie Lee back to Hood River, Oregon this week to face off against Cindy Sheehan, the anti-war protester who camped outside of President Bush’s Crawford, TX ranch.
“Hood River is my hometown,” said Debbie Lee, whose son Marc was the first Navy SEAL to be killed in the war in Iraq. “When I heard that Cindy Sheehan was going to be protesting the war, and protesting Insitu here in MY hometown, I knew I had to be there. That’s where I raised Marc and the rest of my children, that’s my home, and there’s no way I am going to let Cindy Sheehan bring her anti-American message without being there to say ‘You don’t speak for me, Cindy!’”
Through both have lost sons in the war, Debbie Lee speaks out in support of the troops and their missions in the war on terror. Her inspiring speeches at rallies across the country have inspired but most of all thanked our troops for their sacrifices. Cindy Sheehan has chosen to speak out against the war, often making unsubstantiated claims that her son Casey “stood up against an unjust war” despite the fact that her son re-enlisted and volunteered for the mission that ended his life.
Debbie Lee will be leading the pro-troop rally, expressing gratitude for our troops this Saturday April 17th in contrast to the anti-war ‘conference’ being held in the same town, where Cindy Sheehan is expected to speak in opposition to the War on Terror and the use of drone unmanned aircraft in that conflict.
Debbie’s son Marc was killed August 2nd of 2006 in Ramadi Iraq, sacrificing his own life to save his fellow SEALs. After a fellow teammate was wounded, Marc stood up in the line of fire twice to provide cover for his buddies to retreat. After seeing his team returned safely to base, Marc volunteered to go out again to find the same insurgents and took sniper fire through a window, again putting himself between the enemy and his fellow SEALs. Marc was posthumously awarded a Silver Star, a Bronze Star for Valor and a Purple Heart for his actions.
Casey Sheehan was killed on Palm Sunday, April 4th, 2004. An armored truck mechanic in the 82nd Field Artillery Regiment of the Army, Casey volunteered to go on a combat mission to rescue a group of soldiers pinned down by intense enemy fire. In the resulting firefight, Casey and 7 other soldiers gave their lives. Casey was posthumously awarded a Bronze star and Purple Heart for his heroic actions that day.
“Cindy Sheehan has trashed our troops, their mission, and the legacy left by millions of troops who have come before and sacrificed their lives to pay for the freedoms we now enjoy. Cindy takes those freedoms for granted; she does not recognize that without our brave troops, she would not have the freedom to speak out as she does. I’m going to back to my hometown of Hood River to remind Cindy that she doesn’t speak for Americans like myself and our members of Move America Forward. Unlike her, we support our troops, we appreciate their sacrifices, and we are grateful for what they’re doing right now, in the Middle East, to protect us back home.” concluded Lee.