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Mitch M.
Republican KY

About Sen. Mitch
  • Nomination of Sarah R. Saldana to Be an Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security

    by Senator Mitch McConnell

    Posted on 2014-12-16

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    McCONNELL. Mr. President, today I rise to honor the life of a brave soldier in the U.S. Army Special Forces from Kentucky who gave his life to defend his country. SSG Daniel T. Lee of Fort Wright, KY, was killed on January 15, 2014, in Afghanistan from wounds received during combat action in the Parwan Province while searching for militants wanted for recent attacks on Bagram Air Base. He was 28 years old.

    For his service in uniform, Staff Sergeant Lee received many awards, medals, and decorations, including the Bronze Star Medal, the Purple Heart, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, the Army Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, two Noncommissioned Officers Professional Development Ribbons, the Army Service Ribbon, two Overseas Service Ribbons, the NATO Medal, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Basic Parachutist Badge, and a Special Forces Tab.

    Danny's mother Frances Lee has this to say about her son: Danny became consumed with being all that he could be; not only in Special Forces but as a father, husband, brother, and son. He never lost his sense of humor and was rarely without a smile. His smile was infectious even in dire times.

    A northern Kentucky native, Danny's childhood was filled with friends, family, and sports. He was a member of the Beechwood diving team from the age of 5. In the eighth grade, he transferred to Turkeyfoot Junior High School and began playing football. He also played basketball, baseball, and softball.

    Danny graduated from Dixie Heights High School in 2003 and moved to Tennessee ``for a fresh start,'' says Danny's mother. He began working for a Knoxville electrical company but soon moved to Lowe's hardware chain, where he got a job as a manager in Crossville, TN.

    His mother said: While in Crossville, he enlisted in the U.S. Army, a move that took all of us by surprise. We packed up the house and off he went to Fort Benning. He is the only person I have ever heard say that he loved basic training! After enlisting in the U.S. Army in October of 2007, Danny completed basic training at Fort Benning. His first assignment was with the 2nd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment at Fort Lewis, WA. While serving in the 1st Cavalry Regiment, Danny deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2009.

    Daniel's service in Iraq compelled him to join the elite ranks of some of our finest fighters in the Armed Forces. Danny's mother said: Upon his return from Iraq, he became a man with a mission. That mission was to become a Special Forces Green Beret.

    Danny began his Special Forces training in March of 2011 and ultimately earned his Green Beret when he graduated as a Special Forces communication sergeant. To earn that Green Beret, Danny attended Airborne School at Fort Benning and went to Qualification School at Fort Bragg, NC. For approximately 20 months he completed a series of rigorous classes covering skills and tactics such as languages, leadership, navigation, survival, evasion, resistance, and escape.

    While in Qualification School, Danny also married his wife Suzanne, whom he met while stationed at Fort Lewis. Danny graduated from Special Forces training in May 2013, and he and Suzanne had a child, Daniel Roderick, in July of that same year.

    In August 2013, Danny was assigned to C Company, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group, Airborne, based in Fort Bragg. In September of that year, [[Page S6874]] he was deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

    After Danny's death, the Kentucky General Assembly appropriately designated a portion of Kentucky Route 1072 in northern Kentucky's Kent County as the ``Sergeant Daniel Tyler Lee Memorial Highway.'' We are thinking of Danny's loved ones today as I recount his story for my colleagues in the Senate, including his wife, Suzanne; his son, Daniel; his parents, Frances and Daniel Patrick Lee; his sister, Jamie Hahn; and many other beloved family members and friends.

    The motto of the U.S. Army Special Forces, of which Daniel T. Lee was a proud member, is ``de oppresso liber'' or ``to liberate the oppressed.'' As an elite member of the Nation's Armed Forces, with service in both Iraq and in Afghanistan, Staff Sergeant Lee certainly fulfilled a mission to the best of his ability. The Commonwealth of Kentucky and the U.S. Senate are both grateful for his service and for his sacrifice.

    Mr. President, I yield the floor.

    The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Utah.

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