State surgeon wraps up 27-year military career - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

State surgeon wraps up 27-year military career

Courtesy: Col. Kenneth Lee Courtesy: Col. Kenneth Lee

MADISON (WKOW) -- After earning the Purple Heart, suffering a traumatic brain injury and post traumatic stress, Colonel Kenneth Lee says goodbye to a lengthy career in the Wisconsin Army National Guard.

He was deployed to Iraq as the Wisconsin Army National Guard's state surgeon.

He's now starting a new chapter after retiring at the end of last year.

"The after effect is really starting to show up," said Lee. "It would be contradictory for me to stay in."

As a military leader, he always told other soldiers if you're not fit for duty it's time to leave the service. He's now following his own advice after an injury he got during war.

Col. Lee was deployed to Baghdad in 2004. One memory he'll never forget is the suicide bomber that almost took his life.

"We stopped because there was an IED detected. The guys were dismantling the bomb and it was the only day we stopped," said Lee. "I never stop for anything and I'll go against the traffic on the freeway to keep moving so we don't become a stationary target."

Col. Lee says the suicide car bomber was less than 10 to 15 yards away when the explosion went off. Col. Lee underwent four surgeries and extensive physical rehab.

He doesn't let his injury impact his dedication. In his retirement, Col. Lee remains employed as the chief of the spinal cord injury division at the VA Medical Center in Milwaukee.

Watch the video above for more information.

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