Navy Cross Citation

Navy Cross Citation

Maj Kurt Chew-Een Lee
1st Bn,7th Marines
In late 1950, then-1stLt. Kurt Chew-Een Lee was serving as the Machine-Gun Platoon commander for Baker Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, in action against enemy forces in the Republic of Korea. Immediately taking countermeasures when a numerically superior enemy fiercely attacked his platoon and overran its left flank, 1stLt. Lee boldly exposed himself to intense hostile automatic weapons, grenade and sniper small-arms fire to carry out reconnaissance, well in advance of his own lines, in order to re-deploy the machine-gun posts within the defensive perimeter. Momentarily forced back by extremely heavy opposition, he quickly reorganized his unit and, instructing his men to cover his approach, bravely moved up an enemy held slope in a deliberate attempt to draw fire and thereby disclose hostile troop positions. Despite serious wounds sustained as he pushed forward, 1stLt. Lee charged directly into the face of the enemy fire and, by his dauntless fighting spirit and resourcefulness, served to inspire other members of his platoon to heroic efforts in pressing a determined counterattack and driving the hostile forces from the sector. Lee is also a recipient of the Silver Star, two Purple Hearts and a Navy & Marine Corps Commendation Medal with Combat V. (P/C The Smithsonian & New York Times)

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Sgt Grit wants to hear from you! Leave your comments below or submit your own story!

6 comments


  • DENNIS WUERTH

    EVERYONE should read this book! So many heroes, such terrible conditions!


  • A. Wong, Sgt USMCR

    Major Lee passed away March 3, 2014 (aged 88). Excerpt from Wikipedia: “The story of Lee’s bravery in the Korean War was the subject of a documentary produced by the Smithsonian Channel.20 The documentary, titled Uncommon Courage: Breakout at Chosin, was broadcast on Memorial Day, May 31, 2010. David Royle of the Smithsonian Channel said that the filmmakers interviewed a number of veterans who served alongside Lee, many of whom believed that “he should have been awarded the Medal of Honor.”7 Joe Owen was one of the marines fighting under Lee’s leadership, and he told Smithsonian Channel documentarians that if it had not been for the death of Lee’s company commander soon after the November 2–3 action, Lee would have been properly nominated for the Medal of Honor, the highest military honor of the United States.
    Lee gave his final film interview for the Korean War documentary “Finnigan’s War”, directed by Conor Timmis.


  • Mike Thornton

    If you want to learn more about Major Lee read “Last Stand of Fox Company” by Bob Drury and Tom Clavin. The book gives much more information about this great Marine. He is truly one of the great ones,


  • Gresham, C.E. SSGT of Marines

    Ooorah, Marine! Easily deserving of an upgrade to MoH! Exemplifies what a Marine leader is and some are not even in leadership positions. Many reach down deep inside under very trying circumstances and take up the charge no matter what! Semper Fi, Major Lee.


  • William S. (Bill Bates, Major, UCMC (Ret)

    I served with Kurt in 2/4 in Hawaii in 1960 and 61. We were both in the S-3 shop. We stayed friends for long after that in the early 60s. I have lost contact once I retired in 72. Anyone knowing his contact info could please contact me at b_bates@rogers.com. I agree with Michael Helms recommendation about upgrading Kurt’s Navy Cross.


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