Lee Arthur Lewis, Jr. – Private First Class, United States Army

NEWS RELEASE from the United States Department of Defense
No. 276-05
March 21, 2005

DoD Identifies Army Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Private First Class Lee A. Lewis, Jr 28, of Norfolk, Virginia, died March 18, 2005, in Sadr City, Iraq, when his patrol was attacked by enemy small arms fire. Lewis was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Georgia.

Local soldier killed under enemy fire in Iraq

Courtesy of The Virginian-Pilot
March 22, 2005

An Army medic who followed his father, brother and sisters into the military was killed Friday in Iraq.

Private First Class Lee A. Lewis Jr., 28, formerly of Hampton and Norfolk, died in the Sadr City section of Baghdad when his patrol came under enemy small arms fire.

The Army did not release details of his mission.

Lewis is survived by his wife, Telia, and his 8-year-old stepdaughter, Justina, as well as his parents, Lee A. Lewis Sr. and Elvena B. Lewis of Hampton.

Lewis had two brothers and six sisters. One brother is in the Navy, serving on the carrier Enterprise, and two sisters served in the Marines. His father spent 20 years on active duty and 24 years working for the Army as a civilian.

“We’re a military family through and through,” Lee A. Lewis Sr. said.

Lee A. Lewis Jr. was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Stewart, Georgia. He joined the Army last year and was deployed to Iraq in January, his father said.

Lewis attended Kecoughtan High School in Hampton before studying at Virginia State University and Old Dominion University. Before entering the service he worked at Bon Secours DePaul Medical Center as an accounts manager.

In high school, he played football, basketball and soccer, and helped his father coach several recreational teams.

“He was the guy who came in when the star players were hurt and held down the fort,” his father said. “He was a team player.”

Lee A. Lewis Jr. met his wife in 2000, and they were married at the Norfolk Botanical Garden.

Lewis Sr. last saw his son in January and last spoke to him by phone three weeks ago. “I asked him about his vehicle, whether it was armored or not,” Lewis said. “I told him, ‘don’t get captured.’”

A memorial service for Lewis will be held in Hampton, and he will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Soldier killed in Iraq lauded at memorial

HAMPTON, VIRGINIA – About 700 people gathered Wednesday to say goodbye to a local man who died on the streets of Baghdad.

A gunman shot Army Private First Class Lee A. Lewis Jr. on March 18, 2005, killing the combat medic in Sadr City, Iraq. He will be buried today at Arlington National Cemetery.

In a spirited memorial, the pastor of Sixth Mount Zion Baptist Temple told the crowd not to remember Lewis, 28, for his final moments. The Rev. Jerome A. Barber said John the Baptist, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and even Jesus Christ died violent deaths at the hands of others. But they lived tremendous lives first. “Lee Lewis was a good man,” Barber said, “and I refuse to allow an assassin’s bullet to overshadow the fact that this was a good young man. A quality life. ”

Lewis was remembered as a church volunteer who fed veterans and an athlete who hit hard on Kecoughtan High’s gridiron. He nonetheless always stopped to help those he bowled over.

“Let me tell you something: Life is too short to be selfish, angry and bitter and unforgiving,” Barber said. “Life is bigger than that. Life is saying, ‘I got a little bit, and I want to give to somebody else.’ That’s a full life.”

Major Lloynetta Artis, an Army nurse, paused to fight tears as she read letters between Lewis and his family. “Take your time,” voices in the crowd soothed.

In one letter, Lewis’ mother, Elvena, told him he was a good kid who would determine his future through the things he said and the people he spent time with. She advised, “Never be afraid or ashamed of your relationship with God.”

Lee’s letter replied that through raising his daughter, Justina, he learned just how special his own parents had been. “There is never a time that I am not thankful for having you as my parents,” he wrote.

Lewis’ nephew, 19-year-old Evan Lewis, told the congregation that he was shocked to hear of his uncle’s death. He worried that he hadn’t prayed enough for the faraway soldier. “It’s taken me a long time to realize he’s in a better place, and God knows what he’s doing,” Evan said. He called Lee Lewis his hero.

Retired Lieutenant Colonel John James, a longtime family friend, said Lewis was so enamored with his wife, Telia, that even children asked whether the couple was in love. “Lee was soft-spoken. Lee was an awesome guy. … Lee was a people’s person, he was an athlete. Oh, man. He was an ultimate soldier. But most of all, he was a model husband.”

Hampton Mayor Ross A. Kearney II remembered Lewis – once in a youth group that the mayor supervised – as beloved. Kearney said Lewis would walk into the room, and the entire place would cheer, “Leeeeeeeee!”

“As a young man, he loved life,” Kearney said. “He was a great one to be around.”

Norfolk Soldier Remembered for his Vigor, Generosity Army Medic Was Killed On Patrol in Sadr City

By Lila de Tantillo
Courtesy of the Washington Post
Friday, April 1, 2005

No matter what he was doing, Lee Arthur Lewis Jr.’s goal was always to help people.

The 28-year-old soldier from Norfolk doted on his young stepdaughter and hoped to adopt her one day. A former high school sports standout, he planned to study physical therapy so he could care for other athletes.

On March 18, Lewis, a medic and Private First Class in the U.S. Army, was killed when his patrol came under attack in Sadr City, Iraq. Yesterday, he was buried at Arlington National Cemetery, the 125th service member killed in Operation Iraqi Freedom to be buried there.

He was awarded the Bronze Star, Purple Heart and Good Conduct Medal.

“Everything he did, he did with vigor and a lot of laughter,” said Ross A. Kearney, mayor of Hampton, Virginia, where Lewis grew up. Kearney had been youth director at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, where the young Lewis sang in the choir, was confirmed and remained actively involved through high school. Lewis especially enjoyed preparing dinner at the church for disabled veterans in the community, Kearney recalled.

“When we’d decorate, he’d be there for the decorations and he’d be there for the cleanup,” Kearney said. “You could always call on him to help.”

Lewis’s generosity and penchant for cooking carried on through college. Brandon Boone and Tiffany Wrushen, friends from Old Dominion University, recalled a time when Lewis cooked up a steak and the delicious smell drew a crowd to his dorm room. “He split his steak up among everybody and made sure everybody had some,” Wrushen said. “He ended up with a really, really small piece. . . .” And yet, she recalled, he always had a smile on his face.

Yesterday, the pounding footsteps of the honor guard could be heard as they brought Lewis’s coffin into Fort Myer Chapel. A clergyman read the 23rd Psalm as dozens of mourners bowed their heads in prayer.

To the side of the altar stood a montage of photographs of Lewis, illustrating his transformation from boy to man. There he was as a baby in diapers, as a young boy showing off a trophy and with a broken arm. There was Lewis on horseback, in a football uniform and in a graduation robe.

In the center of the display was the largest photo: Lewis in uniform standing before an American flag.

After the service, an organist played “America the Beautiful” as the honor guard withdrew the flag-draped coffin. A tan hearse took it to its final resting place.

Major General Joseph G. Webb Jr. knelt before Lewis’s widow, Telia Lewis, and presented her with the flag that had covered her husband’s coffin. His mother, Elvena Lewis, wiped away tears as she was presented with another flag.

After the funeral, Lewis’s aunt, Emmaline Lewis Marks, said her nephew’s energy and delight in life always brought joy to those around him — especially his younger sister, Eola. She recalled visiting his parents’ home a few years ago and finding Lewis engrossed in teaching his younger sister how to “do the hustle.”

Marks, who lives in Willingboro, New Jersey, smiled at the memory of the big brother patiently showing off the funky dance move. Before long, even Lewis’s father, retired Lieutenant Colonel Lee Lewis Sr., was on his feet, trying to do the step.

Lewis also gave his all on the field; he ran track and was a versatile football player. His high school coach, Curtis Newsome, now an offensive line coach at James Madison University, said Lewis’s work ethic during strenuous drills inspired his teammates to keep going.

“What a hard worker he was; what a good person he was,” Newsome said. “He was just a real leader.”

In addition to his wife, parents and sister, Lewis is survived by stepdaughter Justina Evans; five other sisters; and two brothers.



  • DATE OF BIRTH: 10/09/1976
  • DATE OF DEATH: 03/18/2005


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