Stan Lee Lives On

Article by Master Sgt. Erik J. Figi, 115th Fighter Wing, Public Affairs

Today, as winter chills us to the bone, there is an event being held thousands of miles away in sunny Southern California, where warm memories of a beloved cultural and literary icon will be passed amongst the family, friends, and fans that knew and loved Stan Lee, who passed away on November 12th, 2018 at the age of 95—a day after Veterans Day, where Mr. Lee’s service to this nation would have been remember and honored.

Stan Lee, born Stanley Martin Lieber, enlisted in the Army in early 1942. His initial training and post was with the Army Signal Corps at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, where he eagerly awaited being sent overseas where, like many other young G.I.s, he envisioned working with combat troops at the front, repairing and maintaining communication lines, critical to the war effort. And like the heroic visions of other Soldiers, the military life sought is not always the one Uncle Sam provides.

After months of enduring the freezing temperatures of guard duty on the New Jersey coast, Stan discovered that the Army had learned of his talents as a writer, and he had a new set of orders to join the Signal Corps’ Training Film Division, in Astoria, Queens, joining a short-list of military men that held that unique military occupational specialty (MOS)—including Frank Capra, Charles Addams, William Saroyan, Theodor Geisel, and other notable writers. The Signal Corps Training Film Division’s mission, like the legendary 1st Motion Picture Unit, was to act as a full service motion picture and still photographic production, distribution, and storage facility, producing training and propaganda films that were critical to the war effort, both home and abroad.

For the next three years, Stan traveled to numerous stateside Army posts, where he wrote instructional manuals, penned scripts for military training films, and occasionally crafted a poster or two. Beyond writing, then Sergeant Lee, served as a training instructor for combat troops heading overseas, much to the chagrin of himself, who had never seen combat, but needed to portray a grizzled and experience non-commissioned officer.

Stan would return to writing for the Army, while also working late into the evening, writing for Timely Comics—a company he worked for before the war. At the end of WWII, Stan went back to work for Timely, which eventually evolved into Marvel Comics in 1961. He served as editor-in-chief until 1972, when he succeed Martin Goodman as publisher. Stan Lee would go on to grow Marvel into one of the most well-known, respected, and influential franchises in history.

In 2017, Stan Lee was awarded a lifetime membership to the Signal Corps Regimental Association and an honorary membership to the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment. This event marked a return to Stan’s military roots and a reflection of what his military service meant to him. “Excelsior!”

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” — John F. Kennedy

Information on Stan Lee tribute being held on January 30, 2019–

Interview with Stan Lee on writing for the army–

Induction into Signal Corps Regimental Association–

About Tech. Sgt. Mary Greenwood

I'm a military member, a graphic designer, a wife, and a mother. I joined the 115th Fighter Wing in 2009 as an Aerospace Propulsion Mechanic. I loved fixing engines and working with a unique group of Airmen that I developed close relationships with but once I became pregnant in 2016 I was unable to continue working around the materials and chemicals until I was completely done nursing and I knew I wanted more children so a career change was my best option. In November of 2017 I made the difficult choice to move to Public Affairs, little did I know I was gaining another family. I married my high school sweetheart in 2012 after 6 years of dating and together we made the decision to join the military, He enlisted the year prior to my high school graduation along with my brother and his own. I earned my Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point in 2016 and have never regretted my degree choice. I love what I do and I am grateful for all the opportunities and experiences life has given me.