Marine

Merchant Navy Graduate Jonathan Lee Builds Navy Career | Way of life

Former Asan resident Jonathan Lee began his military journey in Guam as an active member of the Navy Cadets in his youth and later as a member of the Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps in high school.






Former Asan resident Jonathan Lee graduated in June 2022 from the US Merchant Marine Academy in Nassau County, New York.




Now he is a naval reservist working as a ship superintendent at a San Diego-based international defense, aerospace and security company, BAE Systems, where he oversees the construction of naval vessels.

“It’s been a dream come true for me because I always loved boats and being on the water as a kid,” said the recent United States Merchant Marine Academy graduate who now resides in San Diego. “My dad owns a 40-foot sailboat that I’ve been using since I was 6, so I’m pretty comfortable on the boats.







Former FD JROTC Cadet Jonathan Lee Building His Navy Career

Jonathan Lee, a recent graduate of the US Merchant Marine Academy, raises his fist to show off his class ring.




“Around the same time, we took a two-week trip to the Philippines which I really enjoyed,” he said. “All of these events gave me a sign that I wanted to end the Navy.”

The Guam high school graduate got his first taste of what it takes to be part of the Navy when he joined the Sea Cadets. The organization is sponsored by the Navy to educate youth about military service at sea and U.S. naval operations and training.

“I did it as a kid because I was interested in what a career in the maritime industry entails,” said Lee, who took the program until high school. “Over the years I’ve come up through the ranks and had the chance to become a bit like an instructor where I help the younger ones.”

In addition to the Navy Cadets, he was a member of the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps for four years, dividing his time between high school in Guam and Father Dueñas Memorial School, where he assumed the role of an officer. public relations since he became interested in documenting events with his camera.

Not a solo adventure

After graduating from Father Dueñas Memorial School in 2018, Lee entered the US Merchant Marine Academy in Nassau County, New York, where he majored in maritime, logistics, and transportation.

“The first year was supposed to be the hardest because they try to eliminate as many people as possible,” he said. “I didn’t really have a social life for the first six months and I wasn’t allowed to leave campus, which was difficult.







Former FD JROTC Cadet Jonathan Lee Building His Navy Career

Jonathan Lee smiles during a snow squall in Nassau County, New York while studying in uniform at the US Merchant Marine Academy.




“However, one thing I learned from FD is the social skills to make friends, so I can get through the dark times,” he added.

In fact, her high school group of seven friends remained the same for all four years. They studied together, overcame all obstacles and graduated with flying colors in June.







Former FD JROTC Cadet Jonathan Lee Building His Navy Career

While studying at the US {span} Merchant Marine Academy, Jonathan Lee completed an internship at Matson. {/span}




“It’s because I made the best friends I could have who supported each other,” Lee said. “This isn’t a solo adventure you’re on, it’s more of a group effort.”

Sharing Guam Culture

At the Merchant Marine Academy, Lee always took pride in educating his friends and acquaintances about the culture of Guam.

“I like to teach people about certain types of foods,” Lee said. “I like to slowly introduce them to Chamoru food, so I made fina ‘denne’ and dinanche first. Then just before leaving the academy, I escabeche them.

“I also like to show them where Guam is on the map, and explain an abbreviated cultural background of the complexity of Guam’s culture,” he added. “I kinda tell them why Guam has Spanish-sounding words in their language, and the impacts of colonization.”







Former FD JROTC Cadet Jonathan Lee Building His Navy Career

Jonathan Lee participates in the {span}US Merchant Marine Academy tradition of jumping into a swimming pool after graduation in June 2022. {/span}




At the academy, students must spend a year on a ship to gain work experience. Coincidentally, the ship sometimes stops in Guam.

“Guam is a high-volume trading outpost because it’s like a gateway to Central Asia, so the majority of them had been to Guam,” Lee said. “Everyone was out there at Gab Gab Beach partying there, so when I came back everyone was like, ‘Yo I love Guam!’ and I’m like, ‘Yeah, I know! I lived there.

Under the stars

While the year-long work experience enlightened Lee’s colleagues to the beauty of Guam, it also made him more passionate about the maritime industry.







Jonathan Lee rings the bell as part of his senior tradition at the United States Merchant Marine Academy.

Jonathan Lee rings the bell as part of his senior tradition at the United States Merchant Marine Academy.




“Of course, it doesn’t seem so interesting for normal people to transport cars from Japan to the United States or to transport containers from Los Angeles to Guam,” Lee said. “But when you’re out there for four to eight months at a time and you’re in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, you can see all the stars above you.

“It’s a ridiculous experience and a great industry to get into,” he added. “I don’t know if that will happen in five years, but my eventual plan is to go back and work in Guam in the maritime industry to give back to the community.”







After Jonathan Lee and his fellow cadets learned that they had passed the licensing exams in their senior year at the United States Merchant Marine Academy, they entered the Amphitrite pool.

{span}After Jonathan Lee and his fellow cadets learned that they had passed their senior year licensing exams at the {span}United States Merchant Marine Academy, they entered{/span} the pool of Amphitrite. {/span}