Chase Briscoe is riding a wave of momentum heading into the NASCAR Cup Series’ next race at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway after a career-best sixth-place finish last Sunday at Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas. The driver of the HighPoint.com Ford Mustang finished seventh and ninth in the first two stages, respectively, and powered through a race full of inclement weather to sit inside the top-10 once again when the race was called 14 laps before its scheduled distance.
This weekend at Charlotte, the No. 14 HighPoint.com Ford will sport a patriotic livery that includes an American flag adorning the side of Briscoe’s Mustang, and riding along for 600 miles around the 1.5-mile Charlotte oval will be Petty Officer Second Class (SEAL) Marc A. Lee of Portland, Oregon. Lee and his team members from SEAL Team Three, Charlie Platoon deployed to Iraq in the Spring of 2006 and attached to Task Unit Ramadi, under Task Unit Commander Lieutenant Commander (SEAL) John “Jocko” Willink.
On the night of Aug. 2, 2006, during a cordon and search operation of the heavily contested “J-Block” area, Charlie Platoon SEAL combat advisors engaged in one of the most ferocious firefights with enemy forces in what would become known as “The Battle of Ramadi.” While providing cover from a rooftop position for his SEAL teammates maneuvering on the street below, Petty Officer Second Class (SEAL) Ryan Job was critically wounded by an enemy sniper. Immediately, Job’s teammates from SEAL Team Three Charlie Platoon and members of SEAL Team Eight responded to their wounded comrade on the exposed rooftop. Lee fearlessly stepped directly into the position where Job had been shot just moments before and exposed himself to enemy fire to enable his teammates to lay down a heavy barrage of suppressive fire, recover Job and carry him off the rooftop to an evacuation vehicle below. After tanks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles engaged the enemy positions, the SEAL element entered a compound in pursuit of enemy fighters. While clearing the compound, the SEAL element was heavily engaged at close range from an adjacent building. Lee again moved directly into the line of fire to engage the enemy and protect his teammates and was struck by enemy fire and killed instantly. Job, whom Lee risked his life to save, lived three years before passing as a result of injuries he sustained during The Battle of Ramadi.
Having served from 2001 to 2006, Lee was the first Navy SEAL to be killed in combat during Operation Iraqi Freedom. He was posthumously awarded the Silver Star, Bronze Star with Valor and Purple Heart. In his final letter home, dated July 2006, Lee wrote, “To all my family and friends, do me a favor and pass on the kindness, the love, the precious gift of human life to each other.” His mother Debbie Lee put her son’s words into action following his passing, creating the non-profit charitable organization America’s Mighty Warriors. America’s Mighty Warriors honors America’s troops, the fallen and their families with programs that improve quality of life, resiliency and recovery.