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NEWS | Oct. 20, 2023

A divine calling: Capt. Kyu James Lee's service to his Soldiers

By Spc. Joshua Linfoot 5th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

Capt. Kyu James Lee, from Seattle, Washington, stands as a living testament to the enduring alliance between South Korea and the United States. Born and raised in South Korea, Lee's journey is imbued with a profound gratitude towards the U.S. Army.

This gratitude, coupled with an unwavering belief in the calling of service, led him down a path towards the Army Reserve as a chaplain for the 172nd Multifunctional Medical Battalion.

Reflecting on his journey, Lee shares, "I was born and raised in South Korea, and I heard so many life-changing stories about how the U.S. Army helped the Korean society: education, politics, religions, economics, and cultures. Because of their sacrifices, I wanted to give back and also serve.”

However, at a pivotal juncture in his life, Lee grappled with a profound personal struggle. At the age of 20, he confronted the harrowing specter of suicidal thoughts, a darkness that seemed insurmountable. “I didn’t want to live on this earth anymore,” says Lee.

In those moments of despair, he questioned his worthiness, unable to envision a future that held promise. “I didn’t see myself as worthy of anything, but God showed me I was worthy and showed me how to live with purpose.” Through his faith, he found a lifeline. In God's grace, he discovered his intrinsic value and learned how to infuse every moment with purpose. "Because of that I have a reason to live.”

Inspired by his own transformative experience, Lee chose to dedicate himself to the U.S. Army. He recognized that within its ranks were Soldiers battling their own demons, struggling with loneliness and the weight of their circumstances.

As an Army Reserve chaplain, Lee plays a pivotal role in tending to the spiritual well-being of his fellow soldiers. “As an Army Reserve chaplain I prepare the religious services, one-on-one counseling, and the resources for whatever problems the soldier has in their lives.” Through these endeavors, he offers solace, encouragement, and a guiding light to those who seek it.

For Lee, the oath to serve God and country is a deeply cherished honor. He understands that the freedom enjoyed by all is not without cost, and he embraces his role as a reserve chaplain with utmost reverence. “Freedom isn’t free, and the resources the Army provides is valuable. I am honored to serve God and country.”

Lee's journey is a testament to the transformative power of faith and the spirit of service. “There is a Bible verse I always remind myself of. Romans 11:29. For God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable. This means that even though I am not fully qualified, God fully qualifies the called.”