Army First Lt. Weston Lee was killed in action Saturday while patrolling outside the partially Islamic State-held city of Mosul, the department of defense announced Sunday.
Lee was an officer in the 1st Battalion, 325th Infantry Regiment, 2nd BCT, 82nd Airborne Division based out of Ft. Bragg, NC. He had only been in Iraq since December 2016, and it was his first deployment.
Lee’s commander Army Col. Pat Work said in a statement that he was “an extraordinary young man and officer. He was exactly the type of leader that our paratroopers deserve.” He continued, “Our sincere condolences and prayers are with his family and friends during this difficult time.”
U.S. special operators are advising and assisting the Iraq Security Forces in their push on Mosul. The operation began in October 2016 and has turned into a bloody street-by-street slog. Some U.S. special operators are reportedly embedded with the Iraqi Security Forces inside the city. Lee is the second U.S. servicemember to die from an ISIS IED in Iraq, after Navy Chief Petty Officer Jason C. Finan was killed by an IED in October 2016.
Lee’s death followed the Friday deaths of two Army rangers in Afghanistan in a fierce battle against that country’s ISIS affiliate.
Lee’s fraternity brothers at his alma mater, University of North Georgia set up a fundraising account to create a scholarship in his name. Colin Marney, a friend of Lee’s told The Daily Caller News Foundation the scholarship would be administered by the University in an attempt to open it to all cadets within the schools ranks.
Marney said the fund would be set up for a person who best embodied Lee’s memory, including “physical fitness” but also positivitiy in all aspects of life. “To the end he was laughing and joking,” Marney declared.
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