Born on 19 January 1950 in North Carolina, Sergeant Major Lee enlisted into the Marine Corps on 28 March 1968. He graduated from the Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina in May 1968 and completed Infantry Training at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina in July 1968. He was promoted to Sergeant Major on 1 January 1984 and appointed the 13th Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps on 1 July 1995.

During his career he served in the following assignments:


- August 1968-June 1969: Squad Leader, Platoon Sergeant and Platoon Commander with A Company, 1st Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 3d Marine Division, Republic of Vietnam.


- June 1969-February 1970: Sub Unit #1 U.S. Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.


- March 1970-December 1971: Weapons and Tactics Instructor with the Infantry Training Regiment at Camp Lejeune.


- January 1972-July 1975: Drill Instructor and Instructor on DI School Staff, Parris Island, South Carolina.


- August 1975-July 1976: S-3 Operations Chief for Headquarters Battalion, 3d Marine Division.


- August 1976-July 1979: Assistant Marine Officer Instructor in the NROTC Unit at the Citadel, Charleston, South Carolina.


- Summer of 1977: Platoon Sergeant for OCS NROTC Bulldog Course.


- Summer of 1978: First Sergeant of OCS NROTC Bulldog Course.


- August 1979-December 1981: First Sergeant of Headquarters and Service Company and Lima Company, 3d Battalion, 8th Marines, BLT 3/8, 2d Marine Division.


- January 1981-October 1983: Inspector Instructor Staff First Sergeant for Company B, 4th AAV Battalion, 4th Marine Division, Jacksonville, Florida.


- November 1983-November 1985: Sergeant Major of 2d Battalion, 4th Marines, BLT 2/4, Camp Lejeune, NC.


- December 1985-July 1988: Sergeant Major of 2d Recruit Training Battalion and the Recruit Training Regiment, MCRD Parris Island, SC.


- September 1988-February 1991: Sergeant Major of Marine Corps Air Station, Iwakuni, Japan.


- March 1991-May 1994: Personnel Sergeant Major, Headquarters, US Marine Corps.


- June 1994-June 1995: Sergeant Major of Marine Forces Pacific.


- July 1995-June 1999: 13th Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps


- November 1999: Transferred to the Retired List


Sergeant Major Lee's personal decorations include: The Distinguished Service Medal; The Legion of Merit; Purple Heart (2 awards); Meritorious Service Medal; Navy Commendation Medal with Combat "V" (2 awards); Navy Achievement Medal (3 awards); and the Combat Action Ribbon.


Sergeants Major of the Marine Corps