First Albany-based Marine dies in Iraq -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

First Albany-based Marine dies in Iraq

March 29, 2007

Albany--The Marine Corps Logistics Base prepares to say a final good-bye to the first Albany-based marine ever to die while deployed overseas.

Corporal Dustin Lee of Quitman, Mississippi was killed in Iraq on March 21st.  He was only 20-years-old. The base is planning a memorial service to honor Lee.

For days now the mood at Albany's Marine Corps Logistics base has been quite somber. The sudden passing of Corporal Dustin Lee left those who knew him in disbelief.

"No, it couldn't be him," says Corporal Sebastian Dennis.

"To me it was devastating. He was very well thought of," says Lee's supervisor, Captain Mike Reynolds.

Lee joined the Marine Corps in 2003 and served as canine handler for the Marine Corps Police Department.

"He trained here as an explosive handler to detect explosive items," says Captain Mike Reynolds.

"As being a young handler, I learned from him as he learned from me.  He was very much an asset to the marine corps and to our kennels. He loved to work dogs.He loved to train dogs," says Reynolds.

Lee left the base in October to serve as canine officer in Iraq. He was eager to do so. "He was well prepared. He knew it was his duty," says Reynolds.

Others who knew Lee say it was more than just his duty. "He was enthused, more interested in going to Iraq to have the experience in going," says Corporal Sebastian Dennis.

Corporal Sebastian Dennis and Corporal Lee trained as canine officers together. He vividly remembers the last words Lee spoke to him before he left for Iraq.

"I'll see you when I get back," says Corporal Sebastian Dennis.

Sadly, that never happened. Grief counselors are now helping fellow officers deal with Lee's death. "If we needed to go talk to them we could," says Dennis.

While Lee's passing has been difficult for those who knew him, friends of the fallen marine promise to keep his memory alive.

"He will be remembered for a long time to come," says Reynolds.

Corporal Lee's funeral will be held this Saturday in Mississippi. The base will also hold a memorial service for Lee next Thursday at 11 AM at the base chapel.



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