HOOD RIVER, OR, USA U.S. Navy PO2, SEAL TEAM THREE, CORONADO, CA RAMADI, IRAQ 08/02/2006
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, Commander 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 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.
“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.”
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.”
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.