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2014 alumnus Weston Lee killed in Iraq

1st Lt. Weston Lee
1st Lt. Weston C. Lee

1st Lt. Weston C. Lee, a 2014 graduate of the University of North Georgia (UNG), died Saturday, April 29, in Mosul, Iraq, from injuries sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated during a patrol.

Lee, 25, of Bluffton, Georgia, was an infantry officer assigned to 1st Battalion, 325th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

Lee was "an extraordinary young man and officer. He was exactly the type of leader that our paratroopers deserve," Col. Pat Work, the commander of 2nd Brigade Combat Team, said. "Our sincere condolences and prayers are with his family and friends during this difficult time."

Lee earned a Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice at UNG and commissioned as a U.S. Army infantry officer from UNG in December 2014. While at UNG, Lee also was involved in Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, Student Government Association, combat shooting team, and rugby.

"Lt. Lee made the ultimate sacrifice in service to his country, and our hearts and thoughts are with his family and friends at this difficult time," UNG President Bonita Jacobs said.

Two fraternity brothers of Lee's, Colin Marney and Nick Shaw, started a Go Fund Me account to solicit donations to establish a scholarship fund in Lee's memory; additional proceeds will go to Lee's family. Additionally, tax-deductible donations may be made through the UNG Foundation website to the 1LT Weston Lee Memorial Scholarship Fund.

Marney called Lee a caring person who was "larger than life" and said Lee served as a role model for his fellow cadets and fraternity brothers.

"Weston was just one of the most competitive people we've ever met and he was just a winner all around. Everything he did he did 100 percent and we thought we'd establish something that rewarded people who followed that legacy – giving your all no matter what like Weston did," said Marney, who graduates and commissions into the U.S. Army's armor branch on Friday, May 5. "The overwhelming success that we've seen with the Go Fund Me is a testament to his character and that people felt so strongly about him."

Lee joined the Army in March 2015, and after Infantry Basic Officer Leaders Course, he was assigned to 2nd Brigade Combat Team as a platoon leader. He deployed to Iraq in December 2016; it was his first deployment.

Lee's awards and decorations include the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Ranger Tab, the Parachutist Badge, and the Army Service Ribbon. He was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, and the Meritorious Service Medal.

Lee will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery, but details and other funeral arrangements have not been announced.

Lee is the eighth graduate from the university killed while on active duty since 9/11. As is tradition, his name will join theirs on UNG's Memorial Wall on the Dahlonega Campus and he will be honored during the April 2018 Memorial Retreat.

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