Mystery Book Writer, Arthur A. Lee, is a Viet Nam Air Force Veteran. He spent most of his four year tour in England, at Lakenheath Air Force Base, serving part of that time in the OSI (Office of Special Investigation). That is how he started his Investigations Career.
Feeling the need to do more for the war effort, Lee volunteered, in 1965, for a six-month stay at the Air Force Base at Da Nang. Every night he would be driven to one of the many machine gun emplacements surrounding the new construction area of the base. They were miserable nights, as it was hot and raining almost every single day there.
Night after night, he and his fellow soldiers would sit in the sand bagged emplacements, in mud and water up to the hips, waiting for an enemy attack. An area 300 yards wide – a ‘free fire zone’ – had been cleared around the perimeter of the construction area, and the men were told to shoot anything that entered that area. One night a water buffalo made the mistake of wandering into the clearing. Due to the low visibility and the determination to guard the base, one of the men fired almost 200 .30 caliber rounds at the buffalo. Unfortunately the next morning revealed that very little was left of the poor animal.
On one fateful, particularly wet night Art and his fellow guards were on their way to the emplacements. Art’s “jungle” canvass boots were so wet from the night before that he chose to wear his heavy leather boots that he had brought from Europe. As the truck neared his emplacement, Art jumped from the truck into the emplacement, which was full of water from the rain.
As Art’s feet hit the ground, he felt a sharp pain in his leg. He had been bitten by what the locals call the ‘Two Step Viper,’ one of the most venomous snakes in Viet Nam. He took two steps and fainted, knowing what had happened.
Almost two weeks later he woke up in a military hospital in Japan. His leg was purple and twice as big as it should have been. The pain was excruciating, and worse, the doctors were debating whether to remove his leg to save his life.
Luckily, Art still has both of his legs today. Thank God he had worn his leather boots that night, because the thick leather kept the viper from penetrating the skin deeper – had he worn the canvass boots, he would have died that night in Viet Nam.
I would like to thank Art Lee for his service and for making the sacrifice to try to bring freedom and democracy to that struggling country. Mr. Lee loves our country and has always been willing to defend Her in any way he can.
These are the words that Arthur A. Lee sent to friends and relatives today, on this special holiday to honor our veterans:
“As I do on every Veteran’s Day, I would like to thank all those who served in the United States Military, sacrificing a lot or just a little, so that everyone else can enjoy the freedoms of the United States. And I want to thank everyone else for the respect you show to Veteran’s and the honor you bestow on them.
Just as a reminder of how things should not be, Veteran’s returning home from Viet Nam in the 1960s and 1970s were not welcomed as we graciously welcome our Veteran’s today. Please don’t ever allow that to happen again. Veteran’s deserve the best from us.”
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One thought on “Art Lee, Viet Nam Veteran”
Hi Jackie, thanks for sharing this story. Art is an amazing person!!! Happy Veterans Day…God Bless those who serve and protect this country. Love, Hema