Every Monday, I will share a resident of the South Bay contributing to making our community a better place. Today’s MCM title belongs to Zach Lee.
Zach, 25, was born and raised in North Torrance, CA. At the age of 20, Zach joined the Marine Corps in December 2009 and began boot camp only a few months later in March 2010. “I joined the military to be a part of something greater, and to serve my country, and do my part in the wars,” Zach explains.
Zach’s title in the military is corporal, which according to Military-Ranks.org is “the fourth enlisted rank in the U.S. Marine Corps, ranking above Lance Corporal and directly below Sergeant.” Zach explains that it is considered the first tank of Noncommissioned officer. At the end of his enlistment in January of 2014, Zach concluded as a combat veteran. Zach’s uncle Kenny Simpson also served in the military prior as a fighter pilot in the Air Force.
Zach’s duty in the U.S. Marine Corps was a 0331 Infantry Machine gunner. “Attached to 1/1 C.co WPNS Platoon, our job was to attach to the rifle squads and provide support with heavy guns,” he explains. Since returning home, Zach continues to visit his unit aboard Camp Pendleton, and has personally visited platoon mates.
His accomplishments and efforts have resulted in awards and commendations; good conduct , meritorious unit citation, and a navy achievement medal. Along with other medals while overseas. Zach has deployed to numerous countries including Afghanistan, Kurdistan, Pakistan, Oman, Hong Kong, Africa, Thailand, Jordan, and Hawaii.
He finds that the most rewarding part of serving was the honor of giving back to the country. However, he says that the most difficult part of service, was “The mental hardships of war and being away from family for so long, such as seven month deployments.”
When asked what he’d like people to know about service men and women, Zach says, “I would like people to know that many service men and women have a hard time transitioning to “civilian life”, when they get out of the military. With that comes stress, if you happen to know or meet a veteran sometimes they could use helpful advice or a leg up in their new adventure to becoming a civilian.”
Today, Zach is working at Valero refinery, which helps families in need during the holidays, by providing essentials and presents for the families. “When I had first hired on with Valero it was December, our training class had been assigned a family, they had a list of items that each family member needed, and a few items that they wanted for the kids like small toys. Our class had put together the gifts and items, and myself and a few other guys from the training class went to the family’s house and delivered the gifts and took pictures with the family,” Zach says.
As a single parent, Zach spends most of his time with his son and daughter, Jake and Sophia. He enjoys taking them outdoors, reading books with them and going to the dog park. He is currently living in North Torrance and in five years hopes to have been promoted with his job to the highest level he can go.
He also hopes to purchase a home in the future for his family and enjoys donating to United Way which is a nonprofit organization that contributes money and charity work to cities that are in need. For instance, united way and Valero Wilmington have raised 2 million in proceeds to Wilmington and its schools and parks and programs to help people find jobs, homeless shelters.
Thank you, Zach, for serving your country and dedicating your early years to making our country a safe place and continuing to live up to your role by finding ways to pay it forward to your community today.