Local man dies in Iraq saving fellow SEALS

By RAELYNN RICARTE

News staff writer

August 5, 2006

A Navy SEAL from Hood River died in Iraq on Wednesday while saving his team members from a fierce attack by insurgents.

Marc Alan Lee, 28, was killed while on active duty in Ramadi. His mother, Debbie Lee, said her son staged an offensive diversion in a moment of crisis. He reportedly made the decision to sacrifice his life after another SEAL was hit by sniper fire and several men were trapped inside a building.

“It was so like Marc to give up his life to save his friends. I am so proud of him — he is my hero,” said Lee.

She said Marc lived with a strong Christian belief that he was here to make a difference for the good. It was that commitment to God that led her son into the military. And then gave him strength during the grueling training to become a member of the elite Special Forces team.

“He’s up in heaven now and I can get through this because I know that I will see him again. It’s the here and now that’s hard,” said Lee.

Marc was home schooled for much of his education. But also attended Horizon Christian School and played soccer with the Hood River Valley High School team. Four years ago he married Maya Elbaum and they made their home in New York.

Debbie, who moved to Arizona in December, said a local memorial service could be planned once all of the details of her son’s burial are decided upon.

“Marc touched lives everywhere he went because of the person that he was. He will be missed,” she said.

Lee said in spite of coping with the grief of losing a beloved son, she still believes that America needs to be engaged in the war on terrorism. She said it was his patriotic desire to defend his countrymen that led Marc into the fatal battle. Out of respect for him, and other military members making the ultimate sacrifice, Lee said the job needs to be finished and not abandoned.

“I still believe it is right for us to be there. I wish the media would do a better job of reporting on the good things that are happening for the Iraq people because of us,” Lee said.

Until recently, Lee’s oldest son, Kris, 32, was also on active duty with the U.S. Marine Corps. Her son-in-law, Chris Wells, is an Army veteran.

Debbie Lee owned and operated Kids R Us, a private pre-school and kindergarten from her former Barrett Drive home for years.

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