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Veteran humbled by outpouring of thanks

by Minden Press-Herald

A teacher at Lakeside High School still serves her country after nearly 20 years in the military.

MSGT Christine Lee, U.S. Air Force Reserves, 307th Bomb Wing, said it has been an honor to serve her country in each capacity she’s been assigned over the years, although she will say that Veterans Day is not about her.

“The president asked us to do more with less and less, and he was confident that we would maintain our places of global power regardless of cuts,” she said. “It was hard, so I would like for people to honor our veterans for their really long hours. We choose to do this and we’re ready. We choose to do this and be in harm’s way.”

She expressed her appreciation for how well veterans in Webster Parish are honored.

“We get thanked all the time,” she said. “We’re very well treated in this area.”

In 1996, she was teaching at a private school, and enlisted in the Reserves for the health insurance and the extra pay she would receive, she said.

“We were pretty dirt poor,” she said. “I was 28 years old, and went into basic training that following January when I’d turned 29. So they called me ‘Grandma’ at basic training.”

She served four years and kept her uniforms as per protocol for another four years. Then September 2001 happened.

She re-enlisted even though she was pregnant with her third child and became a trainer. While she still was not
deployed, it was her job to make sure the A-10 Squadron was “spun up,” or trained within a year on the A-10 bomber.

When her unit deployed to Afghanistan, she remembers them coming home after three months, showing videos of what they’d seen. She also thought they would be safe because they were in planes and not on the ground.

“They saw a lot of action,” she said. “We would hear little things. What really struck me was later when I was at a noncommissioned officer school, I was there with all these airmen, and one of them was a chaplain. He said, ‘How many of you have been shot at?’ Half the room raised their hands. Half of these children had been fired upon. I was shocked.”

Even though the airmen and the planes are away from enemy fire, enemy snipers in the area would shoot down into the camps, Lee said.

“Fortunately, we have snipers too,” she said. “These young, young people, that’s what strikes me, because I have a desk job and I sit back in safety, and they don’t.”

Lee is married to Coach Darryl Lee, and she has three children, Damon, Jordan and Collin and three stepchildren John, April and Jennifer.

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