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About: Thomas Kahalu Lee Jr.


I am a 40 year old Army/Navy veteran that grew up on the beautiful islands of Hawaii, more specifically O’ahu and Maui. Understanding that I did not want to burden my mother (single mother of 3), and wanting to be my own man I enlisted into the Navy in 1995 and served honorably till 1999 advancement was tight to non-existent and I felt that I had served my country honorably so it was time for a new tomorrow.

It would be later while in college at Pellissippi State College in Oak Ridge, TN the events of 9/11 would change my path and lead me back to military service. Witnessing live while I was between classes the second plane hit the twin towers, I got out of my seat and proceeded to make phone calls. First to my mother back home in Hawaii where it was only around 2a.m. and told her I would be re-enlisting. I found the local Knoxville recruiting station and walked into the Navy office, I was told that my old job was downsized and they could give me an assignment when I arrived in Great Lakes, IL. “Not good enough”, I thought to myself. I walked next door to the Army recruiter where I would enlist into the Infantry, volunteer for Airborne School and be put into the 18X program with ambitions of becoming a Special Forces Soldier. I felt the call, the desire to ensure the safety of my family in order to secure their many tomorrow’s to come.

Unfortunately due to injury I was not able to complete SF training, but was Airborne qualified so I was given orders to the “All American” 82nd Airborne. Here I would learn to be an Infantryman, a Paratrooper and a Soldier. During my tour with the 82nd I would be challenged with overcoming Cancer and shortly after recovery would deploy to Afghanistan. Here I would earn the Combat Infantryman’s Badge. Shortly after returning from Afghanistan my time here would end and I would relocate to Fort Lewis, WA to help stand-up a new Unit.

Fort Lewis was a great opportunity to test my leadership ability. While stationed here I was afforded many opportunities to excel. Early on it was a slow start we had not even received our M-4’s yet, but took those early times to get the young soldiers just out of bootcamp up to speed and work to improve their physical fitness and basic soldier skills like land navigation, Team and Squad tactics among many others. I would later be tapped by our S-3 Sergeant Major for our Brigade Close Quarters Combat training team. Our Team was tasked with training Battalion leadership from Sergeants First Class to Lieutenant Colonels, the tactics and procedures that would be used by all soldiers of the 4th Brigade 2nd ID.

Later the 4-9INF Battalion would be tasked to employ technology that would later prove highly successful at enhancing dismounted soldier capabilities and lethality. The Land Warrior System, as it was called was a force enhancement system that afforded leaders like myself situational awareness never experienced before by dismounted soldiers on the move (on foot). We would later deploy with this technology and although it could not bring us all home safely it did prove very valuable in being a force multiplier, brining in High Value Targets and saving lives of Americans.

On May 22 2007 my vehicle while on routine would come under small arms fire and be struck by an IED that would result in the loss of two great soldiers and injured three (this to be shared later). My injuries consisted of traumatic amputation of my right leg and significant damage to my right upper arm. I would recover at Brooke Army Medical Center San Antonio, TX and after 7 months would be medically retired and returning to Washington State.

Between 2008 – 2014 I worked closely on Army Acquisition PEO Soldier/PMSWAR progressing and eventually serving as Software Test – Hardware/Software Integration Lead and System Production and Assembly Supervisor.

In 2011 I completed my bachelors degree and in late 2012 through the encouragement of a good friend would take on a new challenge. Always being fit I realized I at this point no longer was. I was asked if I’d be interested in triathlon, I said yes and at that point didn’t realize how dramatically a decision that would be and find myself now reaching for newer and greater goals everyday. This activity has also bourn some great opportunities for me to both help others and to be inspired by so many others.

2013 – Mid-Atlantic Region Champion and Northeast Region 1st Place

2014 – 2nd Place: United States National Championships (Paratriathlon)

  • 2015 – Represented Team USA in Mexico and Italy Paratriathlon Races

September 2015: Returned to Hawaii to serve as Military Affairs Liaison to the Governor with USPACOM; USARPAC; USPACFLT; USPACAF; USMARFORPAC; and Subordinate Commands as well as serve Veterans in association with Hawaii’s Office of Veteran Services.

“Improve Tomorrow What You’ve Done Today” – Tom Lee


  1. Brian Manners permalink

    Tom my name is Brian Manners, Dave Doran was going to introduce us at the Grand Marshall party but had sports games with the kids. It would be a honor to train with you if you have the time. Are you doing the Princeton 70.3 or any CGI races this year. I am also a Robbinsville resident and live right around the corner from you. Again it would be a honor to me to train with you. I only hope I can keep up.

    • Hi Brian, sorry haven’t been on my blog for some time due to everything going on… I am doing the Princeton 70.3 and would enjoy having someone to ride or run with from time to time. I do have a pretty packed race schedule and primarily through June am focused on Para-tri distance (Sprint) but will ramp up volume in July for Princeton… What races do you have going?

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