A Franklin Lakes native and U.S. Marine Corps lieutenant selected to help plan an annual military task force exercise set to take place in Australia says he's proud to represent the Asian American community.
U.S. Marine Corps 1st Lt. James Lee, who works as a comptroller, is involved in planning the annual Marine Rotational Force, which will be located in Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia.
Lee is also the principal financial advisor to the commanding officer of the Marine Rotational Force in Darwin, officials said.
“The path I chose to be a Marine Corps officer is different and off the beaten path, although, I think it’s something I can be a role model in,” said Lee, noting that the Asian American community is underrepresented in the military because “they’re expected to be doctors, engineers, and have those really stable jobs.”
The COVID-19 pandemic prompted U.S. and Australian governments to delay the rotation toward the end of March.
The decision to resume the task force coincides with Australia’s granting of an exemption to travel restrictions, allowing the rotation to proceed “based on Australia’s record to date in managing impacts from COVID-19 as well as strict adherence by deployed U.S. Marines to the mandatory 14-day quarantine and other requirements,” officials said.
Ultimately, Lee hopes his position in the annual task force helps him to become a role model for younger members of his community.
“I was the first in my generation to join the military, but since, I have seen many younger people from my community really look at the military as a career, and join ROTC or the Naval Academy,” said Lee.
“This is my small contribution– to show that a life and career of service is no less honorable than being an engineer or doctor.”
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