Defender of Freedom

“Few people are privileged to defend our nation.  For 26 years as a soldier, I was privileged be a Defender of Freedom.  I am honored to continue to defend freedom with the National Rifle Association of America, Freedom’s Safest Place.”

Willes Lee is a member of the National Rifle Association of America (NRA) Board of Directors. For 2018-’19 he is a Program co-Manager and serves on six NRA committees.  Lee is Chairman of the NRA Outreach Committee with Co-Chairman LTC Allen West, and the co-Chairman of the Collegiate Programs Committee. He also serves on the Military and Veterans Affairs Committee chaired by NRA President LtCol Oliver North, Grassroots Development Committee, Legislative Policy Committee, and Federal Affairs sub-committee. He is a co-Chairman of the Trump-Pence Second Amendment Coalition leadership team.

Willes was one of a very few NRA non-Board members appointed to an NRA committee;  the first from Hawaii appointed to an NRA committee, serving on the Urban Affairs Committee in 2015. In 2016, Lee was the first from Hawaii to be nominated to the NRA Board of Directors and he filled a vacancy on to the Board in January 2017.  For 2016-2017, Lee served on the Military and Veterans Affairs Committee and the renamed Outreach Committee. In 2017, Willes was not nominated yet became the first from Hawaii to gain ballot access through petition, and the first to be elected to the NRA Board of Directors.  For 2017-’18, he served on five committees. In the most competitive of the three NRA election cycles, Lee was re-elected in 2019 to serve on the NRA Board.

Willes was an NRA national policy panel speaker on the 2013 Freedom Alliance/NRA Freedom Cruise, and a military history speaker with Col Oliver North on the 2018 Normandy battlefield cruise.  Lee was a Second Amendment panel member on stage at CPAC 2018 and conducted the 209 Main Stage interview for Maj Toure Black Gun Matter first CPAC appearance.  He also represented the NRA as the keynote speaker for the 3,000+ Minnesota GOP/Gun Owners rally at the state capitol. Lee presented remarks at the Second Amendment Foundation Gun Rights Policy Conference the past several years.

Lee is an NRA Benefactor and a Ring of Freedom member.  His political and legislative focus is the defense and promulgation of our Second Amendment civil rights.  He is a Life member of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA)/Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) and Gun Owners of America (GOA); and member of the Hawaii Rifle Association (HRA), Virginia Shooting Sports Association (VSSA), Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL), and ‘BamaCarry.  Lee was awarded the SAF 2017 Defender of Liberty Award. Willes supports NRA School Shield program and the NRA Foundation Friends of NRA in multiple states to assist funding of the shooting sports and safety, competitions, and youth scholarships.  He has coordinated NRA speakers’ visits, to include several NRA Presidents, directly into the heart of anti-gun territory.

Willes is the President of the National Federation of Republican Assemblies (NFRA) and the National Director of the Hawaii Republican Assembly (HIRA).  He is a board member of the American Conservative Union (ACU) Foundation, hosts of the annual CPAC conservative mega-gathering, member of the Council for National Policy (CNP), and member of the national conservative GOP Asian American Pacific Islander Leadership (AAPI) Caucus.  Willes is a former Republican Party State Chairman and Republican National Committee (RNC) member, attending the past four Republican National Convention including twice on the national Platform Committee and once as RNC Assistant General Counsel.  He has been a leader or member of many political and issue-oriented campaigns across the nation.

Lee is a combat veteran who graduated from the United States Military Academy (USMA) at West Point and was a Ranger and Airborne qualified Armor officer; a Defender of Freedom.  He is a 22-year veteran of the Cold War on the Czechoslovakian border, the fight against terrorism in Europe, tank battalion ground combat operations in Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm, and five years with the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the Pentagon.  His service awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal for national operations, the Bronze Star Medal for combat performance, and the Legion of Merit for combating terrorism.  Willes is a member of the Order of Saint George, the top award for the US Army’s mounted force.  He is a member of the Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels, the highest title of honor bestowed by the Commonwealth of Kentucky, and was the faculty sponsor of the University of Kentucky Rifle Team as an ROTC instructor.  Willes is a lifetime member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and the Military Officers Association (MOAA).  Lee was the Governor’s appointee as Hawaii State Boxing Commission Chairman, and a member of the Board of Directors for the Lutheran High School of Hawaii.

willes-lee-desert-storm-1-croppedWilles’ love and appreciation for guns and shooting began as a child, hunting with his father in France and Germany.  He qualified expert in the US Army with the M1911, M9, M14, M16, and M3.  He fired everything from Claymore mines and grenade launchers to 107mm mortars and 155mm Howitzers.  Lee shot Top Gun in his company as a M60A3 tank commander with the M68 105mm cannon, M2HB machine gun, and M240 machine gun; Top Platoon in the battalion; and Top Company in the Brigade.  Willes made several battle runs during the first Gulf War in a M1A1 firing the L/44 120mm smoothbore cannon.  He shares his father’s collectibles: a Savage Model 99 250-3000 rifle, a Fox 12 gauge shotgun, a Colt .32 Pocket Positive pistol, and the family legacy Browning .22 cal semi-auto rifle.

willes-lee-republican-national-convention-1Willes is married with two grown daughters.  He holds an Engineering Degree from the United States Military Academy and a Master of Public Administration Degree from Central Michigan University, and was a Marshall Award nominee at the US Army Command and General Staff College.  He has run five marathons, is an age-group 800-meter run state champion, and has over 250 SCUBA dives.  Lee lives in Virginia and attends Missouri Synod Lutheran Church.