Bay Area council member heading to Iraq

December 17, 2008 7:29:04 PM PST
A longtime Bay Area city council member is about to join the ranks of troops stationed in Iraq.

Otto Lee was first elected to the Sunnyvale City Council in 2003. He is a man with many titles. He is a patent attorney who co-founded his own firm ten years ago. He is a former mayor and current council member for the City of Sunnyvale. And, for 19 years he has been a commander in the Naval Reserves.

It is that job that is now calling him to active duty in Iraq.

"Being a naval officer, it's a bit unusual these days that we are getting to serve with the army on the ground, on land, instead of on a ship," said Lee.

Lee is a Supply Officer and will report to Camp Victory in Baghdad to help with logistics. The mission will interrupt another important responsibility, that of husband and father to two little girls.

Technology will help keep the family connected.

"At least they can talk and see him via Skype or webcam on a regular basis," said Lee's wife Sally.

Councilman Lee will take part in the January 6th council meeting via teleconference. He will be in San Diego for an initial briefing, before doing 20 days of combat training in South Carolina.

Lee will keep his seat on the city council, but it will be filled during his year-long deployment. His colleagues say they are proud of Lee's commitment to community and country.

"He's very dedicated to that service. That's his personality. He truly wants to help folks," said Sunnyvale Mayor Anthony Spitaleri.

That dedication extends to service in Iraq, even though Lee feels strongly the invasion itself was wrong.

"Ultimately the mission is very much unified. It's not republican, democrat issues anymore as much as let's make sure that we keep the security maintained in Iraq," said Lee.

The lawyer, council member, husband and father will land in Iraq in early February and is scheduled to return home in 2010.

You can learn more about Otto Lee's journey from Hong Kong to Baghdad in The Back Story.


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