By Eric Dehm
Marc Alan Lee was a special kind of kid. When he decided he was going to do something, it got done. It didn’t matter if his goals seemed outlandish, or even impossible, to everyone up to and including his family.
“He came home his freshman year in high school and declared he was going to be a professional soccer player,” Marc’s mother Debbie Lee recalled during a recent appearance on The Morning Briefing. “Now I’ve always taught my children you put your mind to it, you can do whatever you choose to accomplish, but I reminded him that he had never played soccer in his life.”
Wouldn’t you know it, despite having zero soccer experience as a freshman, 3 years later Marc graduated high school as a well-regarded soccer prospect and had a tryout scheduled with the Colorado Rapids of MLS. That career was not to be, as he would blow out his knee the night before the tryout.
With the prospect of pro soccer now gone, Debbie says Marc went to college, and also went through a period of reevaluating what he wanted to do with his life. He wanted something that would give him purpose, something that would be a challenge, something that only the most determined could succeed at.
He found just the place for him and joined the Navy with the intention of becoming a Navy SEAL. As with most things Marc set his mind to, he accomplished his goal and became a member of the elite special ops unit, joining SEAL Team 3.
He would eventually be part of the now legendary Task Unit Bruiser alongside Chris Kyle, Jocko Willink and a team of Special Operators who were at the epicenter of the Battle of Ramadi. Parts of their story were told, and made famous, by the book and movie “American Sniper.”
During that battle, on August 2, 2006, Marc exposed himself to draw enemy fire away from his teammates. As a result of his brave actions, for which he was awarded the Silver Star, he would become the first SEAL killed in action in Iraq.
“Marc Allen Lee was one of those rare men, one of those heroes, one of the few men in my life that I literally describe as a saint. That is who Marc was,” Willink, who was Lee’s Commanding Officer, said during an episode of the “Jocko Podcast” marking the 10th anniversary of his comrade’s death.
Losing a child is a parent’s worst nightmare. A nightmare that Debbie Lee lived.
“The most devastating news I ever received was when we heard the words ‘your son Marc Alan Lee has been killed in action,'” Debbie said. “I had no choice in those words that were given to me, but I did have a choice how I responded. My choice was to put on Marc’s boots, pick up his weapon and stay in the fight for you, stay in the fight for every other man and woman who serves, stay in the fight for every family that has lost a loved one.”
She’s done that through her creation of America’s Mighty Warriors, an organization inspired by Marc’s last letter home that provides support to the troops, veterans, and families of the fallen. They do this through various programs and events, including efforts to gain recognition for our fallen service men and women and retreats for Purple Heart recipients and Gold Star families.
“The constant theme is they don’t want their hero to be forgotten and this is a way we can let them know we won’t forget their hero and we won’t forget them.”
As AMW works towards their goals, Debbie Lee says the support continues to grow not just within the veteran community but nationwide and says it fills her heart with joy.
“For me that’s one of the things I love… when I run into patriots who don’t have a military connection and didn’t have family members that served, and they get it? That’s just awesome and it inspires and encourages me.”
You can listen to the full interview with Debbie Lee by streaming below, or to listen later, click the share button and selecting download from the option menu.