Rowan native training police officers in Afghanistan

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

By Steve Huffman
A South Rowan High graduate who garnered a fair amount of attention a few years ago in Iraq is now stationed in Afghanistan.
There, Jim Lee, an Army major, is helping train Afghans to serve as police officers.
The accompanying pictures were taken last week and show Lee at the Afghanistan National Police Immersion Training Graduation in the Shinwar District, Nangarhar Province.
The province borders Pakistan.
“My battalion task force conducts immersion training to increase the Afghanistan National Police’s skills to better execute their duties as a public law enforcer,” Lee wrote in an e-mail to the Post.
“Also, the training builds rapport between the Afghanistan National Police, the local government and our soldiers,” he continued. “These efforts directly contribute to the success of the Nangarhar Province.”
Lee is the son of Gibby and James Lee of Winona Avenue, Enochville, and the brother of Crystal Houston. In April 2003, Lee, at the time a captain, showed up on an episode of CBS’ “60 Minutes.”
Lee graduated from South Rowan in 1988 where he played football and went on to play the sport for Catawba College. He later transferred to the University of North Carolina at Charlotte where he earned a degree.
Shortly after graduating with a degree in sociology, Lee enlisted in the Army.
When he made “60 Minutes” a few years ago, it was because he was stationed in Iraq with the U.S. Army and was commander of a checkpoint where a suicide bomber killed four American soldiers.
It was the first suicide bombing in Iraq. In addition to the four Americans, two Iraqis were also killed in the attack.
Lee did an interview that he didn’t know was going to appear on “60 Minutes” until he learned from family members that it had been so aired.
Later, that same interview was featured on “Good Morning America” and (twice) on “Nightline.”
In 2005, Lee, by then a major, was stationed in Fort Irwin, Calif., at the National Training Center. He helped produce videos that were used for troop training for soldiers about to be deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.
Before going to Iraq, Lee was stationed at Fort Benning, Ga., and Fort Stewart, Ga., as well as in Seoul, South Korea.
Lee said in his e-mail to the Post that he feels the work in which he’s involved in Afghanistan is making a positive influence on efforts to end the fighting there.
“With all the bad news that tends to come out of Iraq or Afghanistan, it is good to highlight a success story,” he wrote.