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The NYC Veterans Oral History Project: Tony Lee, Veteran Interview, Part 1

January 10, 2013

Tony Lee (Part 1 of 2):

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Brief Biography:

Tony Lee recorded his two-part oral history on January 10 and January 18th 2013 at the Mid-Manhattan branch. Tony first served in the Army as a medic from April 1981 to March 1986 before becoming a United States Air Force technical sergeant in the 34rd Aeromedical Patient Staging Squadron from January 1988 to March 1999. He served in Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Today, Lee is the commander of the Disabled American Veterans Herald Square Chapter #126. In this interview, he discusses his Army and Air Force training, the effects of the back-door draft, and his impressions of Saudi Arabia.

Major points in Part I of interview:
  • 00:45: Why Lee enlisted
  • 3:59: Basic training
  • 5:52: Path from Army to Air Force
  • 10:05: Responsibilities in Air Force
  • 11:11: Sent to Saudi Arabia and readjusting to life in the military
  • 14:33: Emotional changes that affected Lee's relationships
  • 16:19: Description of Saudi Arabia when Lee first lands and emotional and cultural shock
  • 20:13: The difference between peace time mode and war time mode
  • 24:45: Lee describes being always scared in Saudi Arabia and reflects on this mindset
  • 30:40: How Lee and his group conducted themselves, moving back and forth between being a solider and a civilian
  • 35:50: Lee discusses working with educated people who lived in Saudi Arabia and gave him insight into their culture
  • 37:22: Consequences of back door draft
Major points in Part II of interview:
  • 1:10: The impact of Lee's life with having physical disabilities as well as PTSD
  • 11:47: Disadvantages of being disabled in the military
  • 12:40: How Lee became an advocate and the benefits he sees in being an advocate
  • 16:48: Talks about the impact of World War II veterans and other issues revolving around taking care of veterans
  • 20:30: Stresses the impact of his experience, even if he was only in Saudi Arabia six months
  • 25:55: How Lee uses his ideas, passion, and frustration to make his life better today
  • 32:47: Lee shares his final insight on his experiences
  • 39:20: A brief story about the importance of freedom in America
  • 40:29: Lee's final thoughts
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