Francis G. Lee Jr

  • Colonel
  • Vietnam


Francis George Lee was born in Providence, Rhode Island to his parents Francis George and Agnes Christine Lee, who were 1930 and 1927 graduates of Rhode Island State College. Frank is a 1953 graduate of Mount Pleasant High School, Providence, Rhode Island. He participated in track, football and other school activities. He entered the University of Rhode Island with the class of 1957 and earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Industrial Management.

While at URI, he was a member Phi Mu Delta Fraternity, participated in the Army ROTC Program, was a Cadet Company Commander and member of Scabbard and Blade National Military Honor Society. Upon graduation in June 1957, Frank was commissioned a Second Lieutenant of Infantry.

2LT Lee served as a Platoon Leader in Company E and then as Company Commander, D Company 9th Infantry Battle Group while at Fort Ord. He moved from Fort Ord to Fort Riley, Kansas serving at company level infantry assignments before being assigned as a Company Commander with the 31st Infantry Division in Korea. In September 1964, he was assigned to the University of Rhode Island as a ROTC instructor. While at URI, he earned his master’s degree in Education.

In August 1967, Major Lee deployed to Vietnam and was initially assigned as an Operations Officer, Operations Division, G3, Headquarters, U.S. Army Vietnam followed by an assignment with the 25th Infantry Division as the Operations Officer (S3) of the1/5 Mechanized Infantry Battalion, 3rd Infantry Brigade which was heavily engaged throughout Major Lee’s combat tour in Vietnam. Their area of operations was a major Viet Cong stronghold and had been a sanctuary for insurgents for over twenty years.

During this period, Tropic Lightning soldiers fought in some of the toughest battles and largest combat operations of the Vietnam War. Major Lee’s ability to make an estimate of the situation and recommend a sound course of action resulted in the Battalions success in accomplishing their mission. Major Lee was awarded the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, The Bronze Star Medal and the Air Medal for his dedicated service under combat conditions.

Major Lee deployed back to Vietnam in May, 1971 as a Senior District Advisor in Phu Thien District, a rural district in the Central Highlands region of Vietnam. He advised the district officers on infantry tactics, repaired defense positions and supported sub-sector combat operations. He was awarded the Bronze Star Medal, First Oak Leaf Cluster and the Ethnics Minorities Development Service Medal for his work with the local Montagnard elders and his outstanding performance as District Advisor.

In 1972, Lieutenant Colonel Lee was assigned as the Inspector General for the Special Forces units, US Army John F. Kennedy Center at Fort Bragg, NC. He demonstrated unceasing efforts, professional ability and astute perception in Inspector General Activities and responsibilities. LTC Lee was than assigned to Panama as the Plans and Policy Officer, US Southern Command. His responsibilities included Plans and Policy Desk officer for Brazil, Peru, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay. In his performance as Country/Project officer, LTC Lee, provided detailed guidance and assistance during the formulation stages of the military group security assistance planning cycle.

LTC Lee served as the Western Hemisphere Desk Officer in the Security Assistance Division, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Plans, HQDA. His expertise in Latin American affairs was invaluable in developing coherent assistance programs and revitalizing the US Military relationships throughout the region.

LTC Lee graduated from the U.S. Army War College, was promoted to Colonel. He served as Political-Military Officer, Office of Regional Political Programs, Bureau of Inter-American Affairs, State/Defense Exchange Program, Office of the Secretary of Defense, from September 1980 through May 1984. He contributed significantly to the effort to restore regional stability and was a major contributor to security assistance programs designed to enhance cooperative relations throughout Central America, the Caribbean and South America.

COL Lee retired in June 1984 with over 26 years of Service to the United States Army. Colonel Lee’s military decorations include: Defense Superior Service Medal, Bronze Star (1st OCL), Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (1st OCL), Air Medal (2nd OLC), Army Commendation Medal (1st OLC), Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, Vietnamese Armed Forces Honor Medal, Combat Infantryman Badge, Ranger Tab, Parachutist Badge, and General Staff Identification Badge.

Colonel Frank Lee is a long-standing member of the URI Alumni Association and one of the strongest supporters of the University of Rhode Island Washington, DC, Alumni Chapter and the URI Foundation. Frank and his wife Marjory, URI ’58, reside in Fairfax Station, Virginia.