#VeteranOfTheDay Marine Veteran Kurt Chew Een Lee


Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Marine Veteran Kurt Chew Een Lee. Kurt served from 1944 to 1968 and attained the rank of major.

Kurt was born in Sacramento, California, as the son of Chinese immigrants. He enlisted in the Marines in 1944 at the age of 18 as a language instructor. Kurt was commissioned as a lieutenant, becoming the first Asian-American officer in the Marines despite facing frequent prejudice. He played an instrumental role in the Korean War and earned the Navy Cross, the Marine Corps’ second-highest honor.

Later in the Korean War, Kurt led 500 troops through a blizzard in below-zero temperatures in the Battle of Chosin Reservoir. His unit traveled up a mountain to aid 8000 Marines trapped by 60,000 Chinese troops. Kurt was awarded a Silver Star for his actions and was wounded three times. He went on to serve in the Vietnam War.

Kurt retired from the military in 1968 and worked for New York Life insurance and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. He passed away in March, 2014 at the age of 88.

We his honor service.

Nominate a Veteran for #VeteranOfTheDay

Do you want to light up the face of a special Veteran? Have you been wondering how to tell your Veteran they are special to you? You’re in luck! VA’s #VeteranOfTheDay social media feature is an opportunity to highlight your Veteran and his/her service.

It’s easy to nominate a Veteran. All it takes is an email to newmedia@va.gov with as much information as you can put together, along with some good photos. Visit our blog post about nominating to learn how to create the best submission.

Graphic By Kierra Willis: Kierra Willis is a Graphic Communication Major at the University of Maryland University College. She currently has an AAS in Graphic Design and Visual Communications.


Nick Pearlman

Nick Pearlman is a junior studying Government and Business Analytics at William and Mary. He is originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and is currently a writing and social media intern at the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.


  1. Dona Zsosri    

    My father – Richard [Dick] Bahr served with this man at the Chosin Reservoir . The two of them meet often at the Chosin Few reunions.

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