Thursday, June 2, 2011

Lex Receives Stem Cell Treatment

A retired military service dog is getting a new lease on life in Washington, D.C., after undergoing a revolutionary stem cell treatment.
Lex, a 9-year-old German shepherd, lost his best friend, 20-year-old Cpl. Dustin Lee, and nearly lost his own life in a rocket attack in Iraq on March 21, 2007.
"He suffered a lot of shrapnel wounds, has a piece of shrapnel still in his spine, almost lost his tail," Lee's father, Jerome Lee, told
Jerome Lee and his wife, Rachel Lee, wanted to be there for Lex the way they say he had been there for their son, so with the help of North Carolina Rep. Walter Jones they persuaded the Marine Corps to retire Lex early so they could adopt him in December 2007.
But once Lex was home, the Lees noticed that the shrapnel lodged in his spine was causing him debilitating back and joint pain, preventing him from walking on his own.
"He's got young bones. His bone density is as good as a young dogs, but we knew something was wrong because he was going down," Rachel Lee told the station.
Thanks to a revolutionary stem cell treatment from Georgetown veterinarian Dr. Lee Morgan, they hope that will no longer be a problem.
The cutting-edge treatment helps dogs grow new cartilage by injecting stem cells from their own fat, normally from the abdomen, into the affected joint. The treatment takes about three days and has an 80 percent success rate, reported.
"When I saw him walking down the hall he wasn't hopping or giving in as much, and I could tell (the treatment) has already started working," Rachel said. "I feel that with physical therapy and the love that we're giving him, as he's a part of our family, it's just gonna get better."
Doctors say the dog could make a full recovery in as little as two months.

More at

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

MCLB Albany Kennel dedicated in Cpl Lee's honor

MCLB Names Kennel for Slain Dog Handler

Cpl Dustin Jerome Lee Kennel Dedication: 3-19-10 from Brian Rich on Vimeo.

Posted: Mar 10, 2010 8:19 AM
Updated: Mar 16, 2010 2:57 PM

ALBANY, Ga. (AP) - An Albany military base is naming its kennel in honor of a Marine canine handler whose parents were allowed to adopt his bomb-sniffing dog after the young Marine was killed in Iraq.

The Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany will hold a ceremony March 19 to dedicate its kennel to Cpl. Dustin Jerome Lee.

The 20-year-old Marine from Quitman, Miss., died in a rocket attack in March 2007.

The attack that killed Lee wounded his military dog, Lex. Their story made headlines in December 2007 when the Marine Corps agreed to retire Lex early so the dog could be adopted by Lee's parents.

It was the first time the military allowed that to happen.

A base spokesman said Lee's parents plan to attend the kennel dedication along with the dog.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Lex named AKC's Law Enforcement Dog of the Year-2008

AKC Honors Outstanding Dogs with 2008 AKC Awards for Canine Excellence (ACE)
[Wednesday, September 24, 2008]
--Extraordinary Dogs Receive Top Honors for Their Contributions to the Safety and Well-being of Humankind --

Law Enforcement: "Lex" owned by Jerome and Rachel Lee of Quitman, MS
Lex, a 7-year-old German Shepherd Dog, is a retired military dog who served in Iraq with young Marine Corporal Dustin Jerome Lee. Cpl. Lee was a renowned dog handler due to his extraordinary ability to work an explosives detection dog and narcotics detection dog simultaneously. Under the skilled guidance of Cpl. Lee, Lex dutifully searched for roadside bombs to keep the roads safe and open for American troops in Iraq. Tragically, Cpl. Lee was killed in a mortar attack in Falluja in early 2007. As he lay bleeding, Lex, although injured himself, was at his partner’s side to comfort him. Their bond was so strong, the loyalty so deep, that medics had to drag Lex away so they could attend to Cpl. Lee. He succumbed a short time later and Lex was reassigned to the Marine Corps Logistics Base in Albany, Georgia.

Cpl. Lee’s parents, Jerome and Rachel, who knew about the special relationship that existed between their son and Lex, petitioned to adopt the dog. North Carolina Congressman, Walter Jones, heard about the Lee’s request, and led a successful campaign to retire Lex, so that he could finally have a home with the Lees.

Since his retirement, Lex has been awarded a Commemorative Purple Heart, but he has not rested on his laurels. The Lee’s bring Lex to VA hospitals and retirement homes to offer solace to the veterans who have so honorably served their country.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Ladies Home Journal Article

The August 2008 issue of Ladies Home Journal features a great Article on Cpl Lee, the Lee Family and the adoption of Lex.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Thursday, March 27, 2008

One Year Ago

For a nearly a week I have debated on whether or not to post a blog surrounding the one year anniversary of Dustin's death.
I thought... should it just be personal to me and the family ...maybe keep our thoughts and feeling in private or should I post something. March 21,2008, Good Friday, was the anniversary. I wont go into a lot of detail, but it is still difficult for all of us.

My family had a small ceremony at Dustin's gravesite in Stonewall, MS. Rachel said a prayer, Camryn and Madyson released some balloons that disappeared into the sky as the clouds opened up to recieve them. Lex was there. He layed where he always does- next to Dustin's headstone at his left side as if waiting for his master to return, He knows that this is Dusty's place.

Spring and Easter will always be a time of mixed emotions for all of us. Spring will not only remind us of the dark winters we are coming out of, the birds and critters scampering about, but it will also be a solemn reminder of the Spring of 2007. So as we welcome the warm sun shining down on us, we also welcome once again the heart ache and sadness that we will re-live every spring.

Lisa and I where not able to make it down to Mississippi for the family gathering but we honored him in our own way.
We got up early March 21 and headed to Lowe's. We planned to pick up a Flowering Dogwood, the universal plant that represents spring and Easter and plant it in Dusty's honor.
We made it home with the small tree and my neighbor who was a former Marine also and knew what we where doing came over to watch as we placed the tree in the ground. No one said anything as we planted the tree- no one had to-We all knew what was on everyone's mind. We lined up the tree with his flag across the street (the best we could), made sure it was straight and stood back and admired the tree as we thought of Dustin.

we miss you Dusty


Thank you all who have helped our family get through these difficult times.
Thank you to all of you who supported our fight to adopt Lex...It amazing to think that it it all started with one little blog...
Dustin and Lex's story has touched many lives and continues to do so.
Our hearts and prayers go out o all our service men and women who are still risking it all every single day..

Brian R.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Fallen Heroes Project

Vietnam Vet and Artist Michael Reagan honors fallen soldiers with Illustrations.
Portrait of Cpl Dustin Lee and Lex

Poster of all Micahael Reagan's illustrations.

Shadow Box presented by well-known artist

A couple months ago, a man by the name of Frank DeAngelis was researching for Soldiers and Marines from every state that had been Killed In Action. Mr. Frank DeAngelis is a kind, generous man who is an honorary member of "Easy Company". He spends his time honoring our men and women of the military by using his talents to create magnificant shadow boxes.

Once he got to Mississippi's list of fallen he came across Dustin's name. His goal then, was to create a shadow box for the family as his way of honoring Dustin.
Mr. DeAngelis researched Dustin's story and decided to start making calls in Mississippi till he finally made contact with Dustin's mother and let her know of his intentions.

The complete story of the amazing man and what he does is located at his own website.

Dustin's shadow box created b Frank DeAngelis

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Military Working Dog Ceremony

The Military Working Dog Ceremony held Feb 16, 2008 to honor K9 Teams - wounded or killed in action. The ceremony honored both military and civilian K9 handlers and their partners. The ceremony was held at the Eglin Air Force Base, Air Armament Museum located in Ft Walton, Fl.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Lex recovering from wounds while still in Iraq

Photos of Lex recovering from wounds while in Iraq

Monday, November 26, 2007

Dustin's Homecoming Video

edit made 3-13-10.
Due to a few website changes where videos and photos had been hosted, I am having to undergo the daunting task of relocating everything to a new host. I think I finally found a place that they can hopefully stay at for good this time (and remain free)

Cpl Dustin Lee's Final HomeComing Video from Brian Rich on Vimeo.

I've finally finished a video that takes place from the time we arrived in Stonewall until Dustin's arrival back home. I have been working on it off and on since coming back to Chattanooga. It never got any easier editing this together. (one of the reasons it took so long to finish)
Lisa and I shot most of the footage. The footage we shot has not been seen by anyone but us until. I was going to edit it all together before showing it. Some came from WTOK at the request of the family. Thank you WTOK for your coverage of the funeral. More footage came from Key Field, we thank them as well. There is an audio soundbyte from MS101 from the morning of Dustin's arrival back home. I hope everyone likes the video and never forgets how we all felt that week and still feel. The patriotism and love of everyone that day was tremendous.
The video starts off in Stonewall as everyone is out showing their support by putting out flags, the Stonewall VFD, was practicing for their Detail as Jerome I drove through town. The video transitions to that night, then the next morning as we traveled to Meridian via Highway 11. Lisa filmed this section as we drove by the Patriot Guard Riders, truckers and the many law enforcement vehicles that where to be a part of the procession. It was a long heart wrenching ride knowing what we where going to Key Field for- Not to welcome Dustin home with hugs and warm words but to a tearful homecoming of Dustin's flag draped casket. There's no way anyone can ever prepare themselves for such an ordeal.
Once the plane arrive carrying Dustin, we make our way back up Highway 11 through Enterprise, Stonewall, and to Quitman. Then one last trip back to Stonewall to Dustin's final resting spot.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Sign the Petition

Monday, October 15, 2007


A new blog dedicated to getting Lex retired and adopted out to Dustin's family.
Its taking longer than expected to get LEx adopted and there is a possiblilty the Marine Corp will not release Lex to the family.
There really is no reason to it...just excuses.. check out the new blog and make some noise about it.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

An American Hero

Take a long look at the pictures on this site. The pictures on this site is what an American Hero looks like. He didn't wear a sports uniform. He didn't wear a tailored suit that only a politician can squeeze into. He didn't discover a cure for cancer. He did not sit behind a microphone in a radio booth playing the role of an "armchair grunt".
Cpl Dustin J. Lee was a United States Marine War Dog Handler who served his country with honor and dignity. He loved serving his country and he loved being a Marine Corps War Dog Handler. During OIF Dustin and his partner Lex went on missions day after day making sure that his fellow marines, contract workers and Iraqi civilians where safe from the cowardly IED's and ambushes of Iraqi(or Iranian)non-military-terrorist cowards (also known as insurgents). We know that the work of Dustin and his dog Lex saved the lives of many
What type of person does this? What kind of person is willing to lay down his life for people he does not know or will ever know? The answer is a US Soldier or Marine. Dustin Lee was one of those men.
On March 21, 2007 he gave his life to ensure that our freedoms are kept and that we remain safe while in our own little worlds. As far as I'm concerned he took that shrapnel to his chest so that maybe my kids, or your kids would not have to in the future.
Dustin is a hero and is an example of what every Marine aspires to be. He loved his God, His Country, and the Corps, and he loved them in that order.
He was more of a man at 20 years of age than I will be at 90 years. I can only wish to uphold his legacy so that he will never be forgotten

Dustin- Thank you.
Semer Fi

Uncle B

Sunday, July 22, 2007

A Mother's Renewed Freedom

"A Mother’s Renewed Freedom"

On March 21, 2007, a mother’s life changed forever;
And tears fell down her cheek.
Her first born gave his life for her freedom;
And tears fell down her cheek.
She hit her knees to pray, "How could this be?"
And tears fell down her cheek.
Her pride for her country began to stray;
And tears fell down her cheek.
Memories that built her son and soldier began to stir;
And tears fell down her cheek.
Lord, remind me of why he was there?
And tears fell down her cheek;
A blanket of comfort wrapped around her;
Then her tears dried.
His voice spoke, "I need him for another mission, for he has been trained well.
He showed commitment and self-determination of his individual will,
Coupled with concern for liberties of others and continued his service to Me."
The foundation had been set and she began to remember:
A little boy who embellished Bible stories told by his grandmother and WWII stories told by his grandfather;
Within his strong hands the Bible he carried to study and the helmet he had held once admiring the strength of his fallen great-great uncle in Vietnam;
Being gentle with a small puppy, but strong and without fear handling a Military Working Dog.
Little feet that carried him to the altar to accept Jesus Christ as his Savior; also, once wore military boots of his dad, grandfather and uncles, then he wore his own;
One who prayed each day to receive strength to serve his Lord,
As well as, reminding himself of the oath he had taken as a United States Marine.
She remembered the original feeling of pride, power and freedom that only intensified
As she watched a flag draped casket that cradled her first born emerge from a plane;
The mother’s pride of her country; then, took a new light.
His Voice spoke to her, "Continue to be strong,
For once you knew about freedom and liberty in which you have,
Now, you will only grow because of what he and I have taught you."
She began to notice all with a different sight,
A sight that comes from her heart filled with an overflowing amount of love for her country’s freedom and liberties.
A mother’s freedom renewed
Through God’s Light and her Fallen Hero, her son, Dusty.

In loving memory of:
United States Marine Cpl Dustin Jerome Lee - K9 Unit - 3rd Recon Battalion
Killed in Action - Operation Iraqi Freedom – 21 March 21, 2007
Written by: Rachel Lee - Proud Mother of Dustin
June 28, 2007

Friday, June 1, 2007

Decals honoring Dustin are now available!

The Decals honoring Dustin are now available! Decal depicts Dustin's guarding sillouette with his K-9 Lex, while standing watch in Iraq. The message on the decal reads "Forever on Watch"- Cpl Dustin J. Lee, KIA March 21, 2007, Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Color is black and printed on white heavy-duty vinyl and will last years in the sun.
• 5"x6" large oval $8.00
• 4 3/4" x 4" small oval $5.00
• 2" x 3.5" vertical decal $5.00
Proceeds go to the Stonewall, MS Fallen Soldiers Memorial Fund.
Thank you for your consideration.
To place an order email Dana Rich at
In the email please specify:
1.) the SIZE of the Decal(s) you want
3.) Quantity
4.) Your name, your return address and a contact number (in case of questions regarding order)

Send checks, money orders, cashier checks to:
Stonewall Fallen Soldiers Memorial
P.O. Box 53
Stonewall, MS 39363

Make checks payable to Stonewall Fallen Soldiers Memorial Fund. Please allow 2-3 weeks for delivery. Some items are not printed until order is placed.
If you would like further information on the decals or the Stonewall Fallen Soldiers Memorial Fund
please email Dana Rich at

Sunday, April 8, 2007

SIEZE THE DAY: taken from Dustin Myspace Blog

Seize the day or die regretting the time you lost
It's empty and cold without you here, too many people to ache over

I see my vision burn, I feel my memories fade with time
But I'm too young to worry
These streets we travel on will undergo our same lost past

I found you here, now please just stay for a while
I can move on with you around
I hand you my mortal life, but will it be forever?
I'd do anything for a smile, holding you 'til our time is done
We both know the day will come, but I don't want to leave you

I see my vision burn, I feel my memories fade with time
But I'm too young to worry (a melody, a memory, or just one picture)

Seize the day or die regretting the time you lost
It's empty and cold without you here, too many people to ache over
Newborn life replacing life, replacing all of us, changing this fable we live in
No longer needed here so where should we go?
Will you take a journey tonight, follow me past the walls of death?
But girl, what if there is no eternal life?

I see my vision burn, I feel my memories fade with time
But I'm too young to worry (a melody, a memory, or just one picture)

Seize the day or die regretting the time you lost
Its empty and cold without you here, too many people to ache over
Trails in life, questions of us existing here, don't wanna die alone without you there
Please tell me what we have is real

So, what if I never hold you, or kiss you lips again?
I never want to leave you and the memories for us to see
I beg don't leave me

Seize the day or die regretting the time you lost
Its empty and cold without you here, too many people to ache over
Trails in life, questions of us existing here, don't wanna die alone without you there
Please tell me what we have is real

(Silence you lost me, no chance for one more day)
I stand here alone
Falling away from you, no chance to get back home

MCLB Albany GA remembers Dustin

Base remembers fallen Marine
April 12, 2007; Submitted on: 04/12/2007 07:54:06 AM ; Story ID#: 20074127546

By Mr. Joel C. Guenther, MCLB Albany

Family members and command representatives stand in honor of Cpl. Dustin J. Lee during a ceremony April 5 at the Base Chapel. Those standing are (l-r) Camryn Lee (Lee’s brother), Rachel Lee (mother), Madyson Lee (sister), Jerome Lee (father), Col. C. N. Haliday, base commanding officer, and Sgt. Maj. Randall D. Kennedy, base sergeant major.

MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE ALBANY, Ga. (April 12, 2007) -- Servicemembers, employees and family members gathered April 5 for a memorial service at the Base Chapel for Cpl. Dustin J. Lee.

Lee was a K-9 handler here and was attached to 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, II Marine Expeditionary Force in Iraq and on March 21 was killed during combat operations. Lee would have been 21 years old April 7.

During remarks at the memorial service, Master Sgt. Sean L. Lamonzs, chief investigator, Provost Marshal’s Office, said that first-line noncommissioned officers have the most direct leadership in the Marines. He said that he found Lee to be “confident, articulate, and astute.”

Navy Lt. Cmdr. Anthony B. Headrick, command chaplain, Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, said that Marines “lay down their lives for those we don’t know.”

Col. C.N. Haliday, commanding officer, MCLB Albany, asked the question, “Why did Cpl. Dustin J. Lee die? More important — how did he live?”

Haliday noted that Lee was an explosives dog handler whose job it was to find caches of weapons and explosives. “These units saved Marines’ lives,” he said.

Haliday also took note of a letter Lee had previously written to a friend. In the letter Lee wrote, “Jesus was willing to give his life for all.”

In a later interview, William M. Reynolds, kennel master, PMO, said that Lee “was uncanny as a dog handler.” Reynolds noted that, at one time, Lee was working with two dogs at once, an explosives dog and a narcotics dog. “He was given that task because of his dog handling abilities,” Reynolds said.

Raised in Quitman, Miss., Lee enlisted in the Marine Corps in December 2003 and was promoted to corporal in July 2006.

Decorations for Lee include the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Armed Forces Service Medal, Meritorious Mast and two Letters of Appreciation.
Family members and command representatives stand in honor of Cpl. Dustin J. Lee during a ceremony April 5 at the Base Chapel. Those standing are (l-r) Camryn Lee (Lee’s brother), Rachel Lee (mother), Madyson Lee (sister), Jerome Lee (father), Col. C. N. Haliday, base commanding officer, and Sgt. Maj. Randall D. Kennedy, base sergeant major. Photo by: Joel C. Guenther

Saturday, April 7, 2007

WTOK Remembering Cpl Dustin Lee

The last thing Jerry Rich expected was to be mourning his 20-year-old grandson. Marine CPL Dustin Lee was killed Wednesday during combat operations in Iraq's Al Anbar Province.

His family is grieving, but they are very proud of the young man they knew. His uncle, Brian Rich, also served in the Marine. Rich said Dustin was more like a little brother than a nephew.

"He was good at everything he did," said Rich. "From riding his motorcycle to baseball to everything. He was just an all around great guy to hang around with, just like a brother."

Lee comes from a family of servicemen. His grandfather served with the 186th Air National Guard. His father is a highway patrolman who served in the Army Guard, and another uncle is with the Meridian Police Department.

"From my understanding talking to Dustin, it was his intention to follow in his father's footsteps as far as law enforcement was concerned," said SGT Ronnie Carter, family spokesman and co-worker of Dustin's father, Jerome Lee. "And I know Dustin, from me talking to him, he loved his family, especially his mother and daddy and brother and sister, Cameron and Madison. So, he was just an outstanding young man and comes from an outstanding family."

Family members say Rep. Eric Robinson of Clarke County was given permission to honor CPL Lee in the Mississippi legislature. A moment of silence was observed in the House and Senate.

"We're going to miss him. We're sad, angry, upset. But we're also proud of him, because he was a good Marine," said Rich.

Lee was scheduled to come home in May. Funeral arrangement for the 2004 Quitman High School graduate have not yet been made.

The Winston County Journal Article

Soldier with Winston County ties dies in Iraq
by Joseph McCain

There is one less brave American in the world and that diminishes us all.

Cpl. Dustin J. Lee, 20, of Quitman, Miss., died March 21 from wounds received while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar Province, Iraq. Lee was assigned to Headquarters Battalion, Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, Ga. announced the Department of Defense in a three-paragraph press release on Thursday, March 22.

Dustin Lee, son of Winston County native Jerome Lee, has been described as an All-American boy who loved his country and was proud to be a Marine.

"He always wanted to help other people," said Jerome Lee. "He loved his country and was proud to be a Marine."

He was All-American. He liked vanilla ice cream, loved his family, had a weakness for girls, enjoyed his job as a dog handler in the Marines and planned to follow in his father's footsteps and become a Mississippi Highway Patrol Officer according to his myspace page.

"He was good at everything he did," said his Uncle Brian Rich of Stonewall according to media reports. "From riding his motorcycle to baseball to everything. He was just an all around great guy to hang around with..."

Dustin's family had been expecting celebrations in the near future rather than sacrifice and tragedy. Dustin was scheduled to return home in May and would have celebrated his 21st birthday on April 7.

Dustin's aunt, Tina Lee, of Winston County described the close-knit family ties and the effect on her children.

"He (Dustin) was more like their brother than a first cousin," said Tina Lee describing her nephew's relationship to her children Toby and Brittney.

In dealing with their loss, the Lee family has requested to adopt two of the dogs Dustin had trained for the military including the dog that was wounded in the same attack that killed Dustin. The family also plans to set up a scholarship fund in Dustin's honor. Lee had joined the Marines after graduating from Quitman High School in 2004. He had chosen to be a dog handler during his service.

The Mississippi House of Representatives honored Dustin last week as they stopped for a moment of silence and a prayer.

"The family has received so many emails and comments of support," said Tina Lee.

Final arrangements for the funeral have not been set. Dustin's body is set to be returned to Quitman on Friday.

Dustin is survived by his mother and father Rachel and Jerome Lee; his brother and sister, Camryn, 12, and Madyson, 15; grandparents, Charles and Lavada Lee of Nanih Waiya, Jerry and Terry Rich of Stonewall; his uncle and aunt Greg and Tina Lee and their two children Brittney and Toby; and uncles Brian and Lee Rich of Stonewall.

As of Sunday, March 25, 2007, at least 3,240 members of the U.S. military have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count. The figure includes seven military civilians. At least 2,607 died as a result of hostile action, according to the military's numbers.

HONOR THE FALLEN: Military Times

Meridian Star Article, March 29, 2007

ursday, March 29, 2007 Cpl. Dustin Jerome Lee U.S. Marine QUITMAN — Services for Cpl. Dustin Jerome Lee will be held Saturday at 10 a.m. at First Baptist Church in Quitman with the Revs. Gene Neal, Tony Davis, Chris Cooksey and Tony Chancelor officiating. Burial will be in Stonewall Cemetery. Wright’s Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. Cpl. Lee, 20, of Albany, Ga., formerly of Quitman, died Wednesday, March 21, 2007, in Fallujah, Iraq. He was a member of the U.S. Marine Corps. Survivors include his parents, Jerome and Rachel Lee of Quitman; a brother, Camryn Matthew Lee of Quitman; a sister, Madyson Taylor Lee of Quitman; maternal grandparents, Jerry and Terry Rich of Stonewall; paternal grandparents, Charles and Lavada Lee of Louisville; maternal great-grandfather, X.L. Richardson of Stonewall; uncles, Greg Lee and his wife, Tina, of Louisville, Brian Rich and his wife, Lisa, of Chattanooga, Tenn. and Lee Rich and his wife, Dana, of Stonewall; cousins, Brittney Lee, Toby Lee, Mason Rich and Lathan Rich. Pallbearers will be members of the U.S. Marine Corps. Honorary pallbearers will be Blake Palmer, Barry Howard, Cody Vandevender, Toby Lee, Adam Harper, Grant Fleming, Scott Davis, Phillip Holifield, Adam Neal, Ross Roberts and Anthony Chancelor. Memorials may be made to the Cpl. Dustin Jerome Lee Memorial, C/O Jerome or Rachel Lee at any branch of BankPlus. Visitation will be Friday from 3 p.m.- 9 p.m. at the church in Quitman.

WTOK Article, Cpl Dustin Lee Laid To Rest

Cpl. Dustin Jerome Lee Laid to Rest Cpl. Dustin Jerome Lee, of Quitman, was laid to rest Saturday in Clarke County. Saturday began with a time for remembering Lee at First Baptist Church in Quitman. Friends and family gathered to cry together, laugh together, and just remember their hero...Cpl. Dustin Jerome Lee, a 20-year-old Marine who died in a mortar attack in Fallujah, Iraq. "He spent his life helping people around him comforting them, guiding them, crying with them and making them laugh," said Reverend Chris Cooksey at the service. "Dustin was a man that believed that there was a time for every one of God's purposes." Cpl. Lee is the son of a Quitman school teacher and a Mississippi Highway Patrolman. He was close to some of the other troopers. Sgt. Ronnie Carter said he couldn't help but notice the many things that he and Dustin had in common. "You know, sometimes, in all respects, you can't teach an old dog new tricks, but I learned a lot from Dustin and I have a great respect for him and his memory," Carter said. "I'll always remember him." The father of Dustin's best friend, who was also his pastor at First Baptist, said that as long as he had known Dustin, he had always wanted to either be in the military or law enforcement. "He wanted to be in some faculty that helped people--helped the underdog; help the guy who couldn't help himself" said Reverend Gene Neal. "He wanted to be a part of something much bigger than he was." Col. Chris Halladay is the commanding officer at Marine Corps Logistics Base in Albany, Georgia where Dustin was permanently assigned before being deployed. "Dustin is the finest brother any of could hope to have," he said. Cpl. Dustin Lee was remembered for being a friend to everyone and someone who loved to help other people. His loss is felt in so many different ways of life, by so many different people. Following the service at First Baptist Church, Cpl. Lee's body was taken to Stonewall for burial. The funeral procession, which was hundreds of cars long, was led by law enforcement units from the Mississippi Highway Patrol, the Meridian Police Department, Clarke and Lauderdale County Sheriff's Departments, and others from across the state. All along Highway 513, people with American flags were showing their respect and support of Lee's family. Friends and family of Cpl. Lee paid their final respects before he was laid to rest in the Stonewall Cemetery, not too far from a marker bearing the name of another fallen soldier--Army Sgt. Robert "Shane" Pugh.

March 21, 2007, A Heart Breaking Day

Taken from my myspace Blog

March 21, 2007:
A day I will never forget. On March 22 I received the call. A call that no one ever wants to hear. My nephew Cpl Dustin Jerome Lee had been killed in Falluja Iraq, March 21, 2007. He was stationed with Headquarters Battalion, Marine Corps Logistics Base, Albany Ga and served a Marine Corps K-9 officer. I didn't want to belive it, it couldn't be. I just received an email from him a few days before, and he had left a message with his father mearly hours before. Lisa and I cried and wept till we felt as though we had cried all the tears from our souls. With no sleep, I left for home the next morning. I walked into the house and felt my knees get weak as I glanced over at the pictures of Dustin placed on the tables. I didn't want to let go of my sister. As a former Marine myself I could only feel guilt that it was not me instead of him. I still wish it would have been me rather than him. So young, had his life planned out. One of the last things he told me on the phone before he left was that he just wanted to be married and raise a family. And now he'll never get that chance. He used to call me all the time for that "uncle advice" We where more like brothers than uncle/nephew. He was-IS a Marine and always will be. He will be among all other Marines that have gone before him whom have made the ultimate sacrifice in battle. He was 20 years old and would be 21 on April 7. Although I am very proud of him, as is the rest of the family-My heart breaks knowing that I will never again receive one of his emails or phone calls. His personality was like a magnet, you had no choice but to love the guy. He loved to laugh. I recall when we went to see Bruce Almighty at the theater in Meridian, MS. We where both nearly in the floor laughing so hard. I can see him in my mind's eye as if he where right here next me. I honestly don't know how things will ever be normal without him here. He was such a big part of all our lives. My heart aches knowing the pain that his mother and father must carry around with them. The support from the great citizens of Stonewall, Enterprise, Quitman and many other towns in Mississippi has been overwhelming and heart-felt. The Patriot Gaurd Riders, and all of Mississippi's finest law enforcement agencies showed so much love to our family thats its nearly incomprehendable. I only wish our entire country could support our troops as they have. As we made our way through the small towns following behind the hearse in a mile long procession of Patriot Gaurd Riders and police cars and bikes , we passed people young and old, black and white, with thier flags waving and tears in their eyes. The childrens' small hands coming up to a salute as we drove slowly by brought tears to my eyes as we passed them. It was hard to hold back the emotions as we saw this outpouring of love from our small communities. He was buried on Saturday March 31 with full military honors. I was dressed in my Blues to honor him and gave one last Slow Hand Salute as I passed his casket for the last time. I am so proud of you and love you. lil brother, I will miss you everyday. Semper Fi -brian

Meridian Star Article published March 22, 2007

Meridian Star Article March 22, 2007
Mississippi loses another son Stonewall soldier killed in Iraq
By Brian Livingston / staff Writer

Jerome Lee of Stonewall has been a trooper for Troop H of the Mississippi Highway Patrol since 1982. He can still vividly remember his six-year old son, Dustin, playing in his patrol car. “He always wanted to call the dispatcher on the radio to tell them I was in service,” said Jerome Lee Thursday afternoon. “I let him play with the siren and lights some. He wanted to become a state trooper.” But Dustin Jerome Lee won’t be able to fulfill his dream of being a trooper and following in his father’s footsteps. Dustin Lee, 20, died earlier this week serving in the U.S. Marine Corps in Iraq — six weeks before he was expected to return home. The Lee family was notified Tuesday of their sacrifice by Marine Corps officials. “He was a very focused, intense individual,” said the elder Lee by phone. “He always excelled in everything he set out to do. He had his whole life mapped out.” Dustin Lee was serving in the 3/14 G Battery, 3rd platoon in Falluja when he was killed. Jerome Lee said his son died of injuries suffered in a mortar attack. “He was hit in the chest with shrapnel from the blast and was medi-vaced out of the area to a hospital,” said Jerome Lee. “He died a little while later.” The two men talked the day before Dustin Lee was killed. Jerome Lee said his son was sounding upbeat and in high spirits. “Maybe it was the knowledge he was coming home in about six weeks. I don’t know. But he left me a voice message on my answering machine before he went out on his last mission,” Jerome Lee said. Jerome Lee played back the message left by his son. In the message, Dustin Lee said he just wanted to call before he headed out and to tell everyone he loved them. “He said he’d talk to us later,” Jerome Lee said. Dustin Lee, according to his father, loved to ride dirt bikes, a sport Dustin Lee picked up from his younger brother, Camryn Lee. Jerome Lee said Camryn and Dustin’s sister Madyson, were doing as well as could be expected with the news of the death. Jerome Lee is trying to grapple with the loss of his eldest son. Nonetheless, he is still proud of the boy who once sat in his patrol car and wanted to follow his daddy into serving others. “He always wanted to help other people,” said Jerome Lee. “He loved his country and was proud to be a Marine.” Asked, despite the devastating loss, if he was proud of his son’s service to his country and his sacrifice Jerome Lee replied quietly, “Most definitely. I’m very proud of him.”