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Ashe County Veterans History Project: Bernie Lee

bernie lee's name on blue background with read stars

Bernie Lee's Photos

Bernie and his sister playing on a blanket

 Bernie and Dorothy grew up in Connecticut and loved to ice skate.  On recalling an early skating adventure Bernie learned that figure skating isn't as easy as it looks.  After a fall and broken nose, Bernie was ready to quit but Dorothy wanted to stay and skate the day away!

Bernie's 5th grade school picture

Bernie's 5th grade picture taken at St. James Catholic School in Danielson, Connecticut.  Dress code required a tie everyday and girls had to wear dresses below the knee.

Bernie at his parachute rigger class graduation

Bernie in 1966 with his parachute rigger class graduation, in Lakehurst, New Jersey.  He remembers standing guard duty in the hanger where the Hindenberg crashed.  There were some spooky sounds coming out of that hanger at night.

Bernie shovling sand in Vietnam

Pictured here in Quang-Tri, Vietnam, digging a hole to jump in during artillery and rocket attacks.  There weren't any bunkers there at that time. Bernie's helicopter unit was one of the first to arrive, prior to the Tet Offensive of 1968.  

bernie in Vietnam standing in front of a tent

Standing in front of his living quarters at Quang-Tri, Bernie wearing his flight suit is getting ready to launch various combat missions. He flew a total of 381 missions while overseas.

bernie sitting on a pile of sandbags

Sitting on a mountain of sandbags ... One of Bernie's subordinates stole a fan from the officer's mess and got caught.  Together they were assigned the consequence of filling 1500 sandbags to be used for building bunkers.  This took at least a week or more of off-time to complete. On returning 'back to the world' Bernie did not care to go near a beach for several years.

bernie and his friend Ray

Bernie and friend Ray both joined the military at the same time (1966).  Pictured here on leave Ray, a Navy Sailor, and Bernie in Marine Khakis on their way out for a night on the town.  Ray spent 24 years in the Navy and Merchant Marines before retiring.   

Bernie with his family

This is the last photo ever taken of Bernie and his whole family in 1970, while he was home on leave.  Picture L to R: sister Dorothy, mother Muriel, father Raymond, Bernie, and brother David. 

Bernie's father with his twin brother

Bernie's dad Raymond and his identical twin brother, Paul.  Both were Navy veterans of WWII. Bernie's dad sustained injury on D-day at Normandy Beach.

Harley Davidson Factory

Bernie went to school annually while working at Harley Davidson Dealerships in Wilksboro, North Carolina. Pictured here in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, at the Harley Davidson Factory for technical training (1998).

Bernie sitting on a motorcycle

Bernie Lee's Story -- Newspaper clippings

newspaper clipping
newspaper clipping

Bernie Lee's Story -- A letter home

Letter home
Letter home
letter home
letter home