The air strike was called in. Surrounded by North Vietnamese snipers, Gregory Lee’s Marine Corps unit found themselves sustaining heavy casualties while pinned down in a ravine in the middle of a foreign jungle. Gregory had just spent his M60’s last round and looked down to see the machine gun white hot in his hands. That’s when he heard the planes above. In a last ditch effort to give his unit a surviving chance, the radio operator had called in air support. The next thing Gregory knew, he was lying on his back 45 feet from where he had just been standing, covered in blood.
From a young age, Gregory had shown he was a survivor. At 7, he was already working odd jobs around his hometown near the Chesapeake Bay. By the time he was 15, he’d dropped out of school and was working 3 different jobs to support himself. When he was 16, he doctored his birth certificate and joined the Marine Corps. In no time, the 5’4”, 137-pound pint-sized, but tough as nails Marine found himself in Vietnam with a 600 round-a-minute machine gun in his hands.
As a part of several large operations in the fall of 1968, Lee’s platoon encountered ambushes almost nightly. Over the course of 8 months, Gregory had been wounded by shrapnel that lodged itself in the back of his neck, he’d gotten malaria twice, and been wounded a second time. Each time the dutiful Marine returned to his platoon as soon as they would allow him.