Chaplain James (Yusuf) Yee, a third generation Chinese American, West Point graduate converted to Islam in April of 1991. After serving in the aftermath of the first Gulf War as a Patriot Missile Fire Control Officer, he traveled to Damascus, Syria studying the Arabic language and the traditional Islamic sciences. Four years of intensive study led to a Certificate of Islamic Studies equivalent to a graduate degree.
An endorsement from the American Muslim Armed Forces and Veterans Affairs Council (AMAF&VAC) brought Chaplain Yee back to active duty as a US Army Muslim Chaplain in January 2001.
Post September 11, 2001, Chaplain Yee represented Muslims in the military “with great distinction” handling a multitude of local, national and global media requests. He endeavored to educate soldiers about Islam building bridges of understanding. Subsequently, Captain Yee was selected as the first US Army Muslim Chaplain to serve at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the location of the US prison camp for enemy combatants.
In September 2003, after being officially recognized twice for outstanding performance, his 10-month tour in Guantanamo landed Chaplain Yee in a naval prison for 76 days after being wrongfully and unjustly accused of spying, espionage, and aiding the alleged Taliban and Al-Qaeda suspects being held at Guantanamo. After months of government investigation, all criminal charges were dropped, and Chaplain Yee was returned to full duty at Fort Lewis, Washington. He tendered his resignation from the US Army and his Honorable Discharge became effective January 7, 2005. Upon separation from the military, Chaplain Yee received his second Army Commendation award for “Exceptionally meritorious service.”
Chaplain Yee continues to pursue higher education and is currently a graduate student of International Relations. In 2004, Chaplain Yee was awarded a Community Service Award by CAIR National “For having the moral courage to stand against injustice; For his bravery in the face of adversity.” His forthcoming book For God And Country: Faith and Patriotism Under Fire is due to be released in October 2005.