Photo by Spc. Kelly
Josh Lee received the Utah Medal of Valor by risking
his life to save a woman from a burning vehicle.
Lee is a soldier in the Utah Army National Guard. He has
been deployed overseas with the 1457th Combat
Engineer Battalion. Josh recently returned home in May of
2004 with all of his friends and comrades. None were left
behind. These words would stay with him the rest of his
with Spc. Lee in Baghdad. I noticed that he was always
willing to do whatever was asked of him. He never
complained, even when many others griped about conditions.
Lee was always there to lend a hand. He prided himself in
staying physically fit. Others noticed, and asked if he
would help them to obtain the same stature. Lee was more
than willing to help them and watch them every step of their
thing I noticed was that others looked up to him and
respected him. His physical state was not his only
attribute. He thought through things soundly and always had
good input to help others who were struggling. Everyone
that knew him, looked up to him and respected him.
it was said of him, Ya, Spc. Lee, hes a great guy!
Others said, I can trust Spc. Lee. For any who have
ventured overseas in combat, you know the importance of
being able to trust the man to your left and the man to your
right. Soldiers that worked with young Spc. Lee could rest
easier, knowing that no one had to question his
dependability. Little did Lee know that there would be
others not on the battle field that would be grateful for
his sturdy character and responsiveness. Even to the point
that their life depended on him.
long after Josh had returned home from serving his country
honorably that he was called on again. Yet this time it
wasnt a plea from overseas that beckoned him. It was the
smoke rising from a nearby building that caught his
been out running, sticking to his daily routine to stay in
shape. His heart beating fast, was about to beat even
faster. He ran down to the smoke to survey the scene and
see if he could be of assistance. He noticed that a car had
crashed into the building. The car and the building were
both burning. Lee noticed a strange odor lurking in the air
as he got closer. His adrenaline rushed
he could smell gas.
into the burning wreck and could see a lady beaten and
bleeding. She was slipping in and out of consciousness.
Her car had severed a gas line. His thoughts raced, I have
to get her out of there! He moved into pull her from the
wreck, but was promptly thrown back by an explosion. He
crouched down and turned to escape the flames, but they tore
into his back burning him. Something else propelled by the
explosion found its way to his back and cut him, leaving
him bleeding and burnt.
slowed down, and his mind became clear. He turned back to
the lady who was trying to no avail to free herself from her
burning prison. Opening the door, he grabbed hold of the
lady and dragged her out of harms way.
after, she was flown away to a hospital to undergo medical
treatment for her injuries. Spc. Lee has not spoken to the
lady since then and he doesnt expect any thanks. Lee just
shrugged when questioned about his heroics, I saw the
situation, somebody needed a hand, I stepped in and helped
out the best I could. He stated simply letting me know
it was nothing special.
to differ on the contrary, and let Josh know that if it had
not been for his quick thinking and him being there at the
right moment, that the outcome could have been tragic. I
didnt believe him when he said that if it wasnt him, it
would have been someone else doing the same thing. He
related to me by saying, You and I dealt with stuff out
there all the time and you as well as I know that at the
first moment of trouble there is that adrenaline jump.
Theres that moment where everything is exciting. Yet
things calm down, they slow down. You know your job, youve
been trained well, and you know what has to be done to take
care of it.
individual, Im sure she is grateful for having a soldier
see a need and take care of it.
saw what a great need had been fulfilled. Spc. Lee had
filled the need of letting someone keep their life. He
received the Utah Medal of Valor for his courage.
well when youve been through hell and can laugh at your
Congratulations Josh, and by the way, your hair has grown
back just fine.