The University of North Georgia’s (UNG) Department of Athletics will honor 1st Lt. Weston C. Lee [Georgia Delta] through its award-winning Operation Nighthawks of Honor initiative for the 2020-21 school year.
The 2014 UNG graduate died April 29, 2017, in Mosul, Iraq, from injuries sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated during a patrol.
Operation Nighthawks of Honor, a yearlong tribute to the nation’s armed forces, recognizes service members who were former or current UNG students.
“Weston Lee made the ultimate sacrifice in service to his country and was a model representative and ambassador for our university,” said Lindsay Reeves, UNG director of athletics. “His selection as our sixth annual UNG Operation Nighthawks of Honor initiative honoree will serve as a fitting reminder of the heroic legacy that he built.”
Lee, 25, of Bluffton, Georgia, was an infantry officer assigned to 1st Battalion, 325th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice and commissioned as a U.S. Army infantry officer from UNG in December 2014. While at UNG, Lee was involved in Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity [Georgia Delta], Student Government Association, combat shooting team, and rugby.
“Operation Nighthawks of Honor is a great opportunity to show 1st Lt. Lee’s family how much the Corps of Cadets and the whole UNG family respect and honor his sacrifice to our nation,” said retired Col. Joseph Matthews, commandant of cadets at UNG. “We are grateful for all the UNG alumni who sacrificed so much.”
Lee joined the Army in March 2015. After Infantry Basic Officer Leaders Course, he was assigned to 2nd Brigade Combat Team as a platoon leader. He deployed to Iraq in December 2016; it was his first deployment.
Lee’s awards and decorations include the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Ranger Tab, the Parachutist Badge, and the Army Service Ribbon. He was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart and the Meritorious Service Medal.
The sixth annual Operation Nighthawks of Honor ceremony will be held in conjunction with a home athletic event in spring 2021 with all proceeds from the evening donated to the UNG Boar’s Head Brigade Corps of Cadets Endowed Scholarship Fund. Nighthawk Athletics has donated more than $3,700 to the scholarship fund since the initiative’s inception on the 14th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.
Additionally, memorabilia used by the 13 UNG programs to commemorate Lee’s service will be organized in a display in the Military Leadership Center on UNG’s Dahlonega Campus at the end of the academic year.
One of only six federally-designated senior military colleges in the nation, UNG is The Military College of Georgia, and its nationally recognized Army ROTC program attracts students from across the state, region and nation.
UNG has commissioned more than 50 flag officers, seven of whom are currently serving in a variety of command positions. Many other UNG alumni completed successful military careers, and hundreds are serving on active duty today at all levels of command.