John E. Lee

John E. Lee

John E. Lee

(Former) Director, Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs and Army Command Sergeant Major (Retired)

John is a combat Vietnam War Veteran and a retired U.S. Army Command Sergeant Major.

A native of West Virginia, Lee entered the U.S. Army in 1968, and spent the next 22 years serving in the Army’s Infantry. He served in the Republic of Vietnam with the 173rd Airborne Brigade, the 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, NC, Drill Sergeant, Fort Jackson, SC, in five assignments as First Sergeant, and multiple assignments as Command Sergeant Major. He finished his Army career as Command Sergeant Major of the 3rd Brigade, 9th Infantry Division at Fort Lewis, retiring in 1990.

Lee spent 3-1/2 years as the USAMA Corps of Cadets first-ever Tactical NCO. He was assigned to the 3rd BN, 4th Regiment and was the vanguard of this Military Academy’s program which endures today. He was selected by then Academy Superintendent, Lieutenant General Andrew J. Goodpaster and considers those 3+ years of his career as uniquely one of the best. CSM Lee graduated as Distinguished or Honor Graduate from nine different military schools one of which was Honor Graduate of Ranger Class 2-74. He is the recipient of the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, six Meritorious Service Medals, two Army Commendation Medals, the Army Achievement Medal, Combat Infantry Badge, Master Parachutist and Air Assault badges.

John holds three degrees, including a Masters in Health Administration. He has served twice on the Army Chief of Staff Retiree Council and is a proud member several Vet Service Organizations.

After completing his military service, Lee entered the public sector joining the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs. In 1994 he was appointed as the agency Deputy Director and then appointed as Director in 2005 by Governor Christine Gregoire. After 22 years of public service, he retired in January 2013.

In January 2013 at the invitation of Dick Steinberg, WestCare Foundation CEO, John joined the National Board of Directors. He was then hired as the Senior Vice President, Northwest Region, in November 2015 and then in early 2018 promoted to serve as Deputy COO, Western Region. WestCare is an international nonprofit with over 40 years in the health and human services business. The Western Region territory included Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Wyoming, Minnesota, South Dakota, Nevada and Arizona. In late 2019 John retired from WestCare and currently holds a position on the WestCare Board of Directors.

John and his wife, Tammy, reside in Olympia, Washington. They have 2 adult married sons, four grandsons, and one granddaughter.