b. 01/08/1933 New York. d. 23/03/2019 Virginia Beach, Virginia.
DATE OF MOH ACTION: 08-09/08/1966 near Cam-Lo, Vietnam.
Lee was born in New York City, New York, on August 1, 1933. He joined the U.S. Marine Corps following his graduation from Pace College (New York City, NY) in 1955. After attending Officer Candidates’ Course at Quantico, Virginia, Lee was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the Marine Corps Reserve. He made First Lieutenant prior to transitioning to the regular Marine Corps in 1958 and was promoted to Captain in 1961.
Captain Lee was stationed in the Dominican Republic during that country’s 1965 civil war. By mid-1966, he was serving his first tour of duty in Vietnam.
On August 8, 1966, near Cam Lo, Vietnam, Lee was company commander of Company E, 2d Battalion, 4th Marines, 3d Marine Division (Rein) FMF, when a platoon of his company suffered heavy casualties in an attack by enemy forces. Lee volunteered to take a small group of Marines by helicopter to reinforce the besieged unit. Once there, he discovered the platoon sergeant had been killed and the platoon sergeant seriously wounded. Lee assumed command of the survivors. His leadership and encouragement, despite his own painful wounds from a grenade, allowed the small band of Marines to hold off a superior enemy force for 6 hours through the night.
For his valor that August, he received the Medal of Honor from President Lyndon Johnson in a White House ceremony on October 25, 1967. His three-year-old son Michael charmed the audience and press with his antics during the ceremony. He retired as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1975.
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. A platoon of Maj. (then Capt.) Lee’s company, while on an operation deep in enemy territory, was attacked and surrounded by a large Vietnamese force. Realizing that the unit had suffered numerous casualties, depriving it of effective leadership, and fully aware that the platoon was even then under heavy attack by the enemy, Maj. Lee took seven men and proceeded by helicopter to reinforce the beleaguered platoon. Maj. Lee disembarked from the helicopter with two of his men and, braving withering enemy fire, led them into the perimeter, where he fearlessly moved from position to position, directing and encouraging the overtaxed troops. The enemy then launched a massive attack with the full might of their forces. Although painfully wounded by fragments from an enemy grenade in several areas of his body, including his eye, Maj. Lee continued undauntedly throughout the night to direct the valiant defense, coordinate supporting fire, and apprise higher headquarters of the plight of the platoon. The next morning he collapsed from his wounds and was forced to relinquish command. However the small band of marines had held their position and repeatedly fought off many vicious enemy attacks for a grueling six hours until their evacuation was effected the following morning. Maj. Lee’s actions saved his men from capture, minimized the loss of lives, and dealt the enemy a severe defeat. His indomitable fighting spirit, superb leadership, and great personal valor in the face of tremendous odds, reflect great credit upon himself and are in keeping with the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the U.S. Naval Service.
BURIAL LOCATION: COLONIAL GROVE MEMORIAL PARK, VIRGINIA BEACH, VIRGINIA.
SECTION GARDEN OF LIBERTY, LOT 216, SITE 1.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: FAMILY.