Commonly known as "Sarge" by his fellow castaways, Lea, along with Chris Daugherty, created the Fat Five Alliance in order to stay in the game. Lea also became the leader of the Lopevi tribe, due to his loud voice and natural leadership. Already down on numbers, Lea's leadership of the men caused him to be targeted going into the merge. Although he managed to escape elimination by winning the first individual immunity challenge, he was unable to win the second, and became the first member of the jury.
Retrieved from CBS.com
Lea "Sarge" Masters was born in Norfolk, Virginia. He attended school at the University of Maryland, City Colleges of Chicago and Central Texas University, where he eventually earned a master's degree in chemical engineering. He also he attended the Savannah Barber Institute in Savannah, Georgia. Masters has previously been employed as a department manager of a wholesale store and a manager at a grocery store. He is a trained EMT, a master barber and a deputy sheriff and has credentials in scuba diving, advanced mountaineering/rapelling and is a nuclear weapons specialist.
Masters enlisted in the US Army in 1986, where he became a cannon crewmember. He then held various jobs ranging from section chief to chief of firing battery (chief of smoke). He is currently a drill sergeant and an officer (NCO). He has traveled all over the world, including Korea, Germany and Greece. He has served in various contingency locations including Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and, most recently, Iraq.
He describes himself as an All-American family man who considers his greatest accomplishment to be his son, Kris, 18. He says his hero is his mom because she has been through a lot but still managed to raise three fine children throughout it all. He enjoys fishing, watching NASCAR and professional racer Ricky Rudd and bowling. Masters describes his perfect day as waking up at Charlotte Motor Speedway and getting Ricky Rudd ready for the race by test-driving the #21 car around the track at 185 miles per hour.
Masters says that while he would run throughout Times Square naked to get a $1 million, he wouldn't do anything that involved lethal consequences for the money. If he does win a million, he'd use the money to send his son to college. He describes himself as having a never-quit attitude, adept at getting by on nothing and believes he can be the Sole Survivor because "I never quit, and I feel if you live by values, then everything else will work itself out."
Masters currently lives in Columbia, South Carolina, with his wife of 20 years, Lupe, and their son. They have one dog, Chow Chow, and two cats, Tigger and Fluffy. His birth date is March 28, 1964.
Lea Masters, before the game started, had gotten wet because of Travis "Bubba" Sampson causing his and Scout Cloud Lee's canoe to capsize. At the welcoming ceremony, the men had to drink the Kava. The chief offer the chance to get a "spirit stone" from the top of greased pole. Lea was terrified when it appeared the chief chose him to go first, but thankfully the chief was pointing at Brady Finta instead. Brady got the spirit stone, ending the ceremony. The tribes were divided by gender, with the men being called Lopevi and the women being called Yasur. The men made camp life decent but were unable to make fire. At the first challenge, The men had the lead, but it fizzled away when Chris Daugherty failed to make it across the balance beam, allowing the Yasur women to win. Lea was approached by John Kenney, John Palyok, and Brook Geraghty to vote out Chris for being the weakest. Lea noted that they assumed that he agreed that Chris is the weakest and he is voting with them. Lea formed the Fat Five Alliance with Chris, stating that in order to have one of the older men win the game they had to stick together. They pair initially wanted John P. gone, but because of his work ethic, the target shifted to Brook. Bubba, Chad Crittenden, and Rory Freeman was recruited into the alliance and Brook was voted out.
Things didn't turned any better because they were cold, and was unable to boil water. At the Reward Challenge, the men lost once again due to a balance beam. At the Immunity Challenge, Lea or "Sarge" as he was being called now, was the caller for Lopevi. Sarge's loud voice and natural leadership made it easy for him to guide the men. However, Sarge did have to tell Rory to shut up because he was messing him up by saying "Lopevi". Lopevi won immunity and flint to start fire. The men quickly started a fire and made camp much more comfortable. Sarge was getting annoyed, however, by Rory's independent personality. Conversely, Rory was getting aggravated with Sarge trying to control everything. The athletic men used this as the basis to vote out Rory. The next challenge was for immunity and reward. However, immunity was individual as both tribes would be heading to Tribal Council. Lopevi won the Reward Challenge for fishing gear. John K. won immunity and stayed with the women to decide which one of them would get immunity. Sarge stayed loyal to the alliance and John P. was voted out. Yasur won the next two challenges. Sarge was tempted by voting out Rory over Brady, stating that losing Brady would by a losing a good work partner. Ultimately, Brady was unanimously voted out.
The next day, two local Ni-Vanuatu men came to the beach. They asked for the tribe's chief. Sarge stepped up and prepared to leave with them when the gave him a staff. At the Reward Challenge, the two people with the staffs was asked to come forward. Everyone else had to drop their buffs because they was switching tribes. Sarge let Scout to arrange the tribes. Sarge deemed the group of Chris, Julie Berry, Chad, Twila Tanner, and John as the new Lopevi. A Reward Challenge was held immediately afterwards which Lopevi won, and they spent the afternoon at beautiful waterfalls, feasting on Pringles and beer as their reward. Everyone had fun, especially Twila. Lopevei won immunity rather easily. Sarge and Twila bonded strongly and even formed alliance. Sarge viewed her as a best friend and promised her the final four. However, Julie got Twila on her side by informing her that Chris promised her the same thing. Lopevi won the next two challenges, earning them steak, eggs and immunity. Sarge was amazed that Lisa Keiffer was voted out instead of Rory. Lopevi's winning ended when Rory gave Yasur its first immunity since the switch. Everyone was getting annoyed with John doing nothing. At Tribal Council, John was the one who got the shaft. At the next challenge, Lopevi won a reward of cookies, milk, and a large chocolate cake. Sarge became sick due to the lack of sugar in weeks.
The next Immunity Challenge was individual as the tribes had merged. Sarge's determination to win gained him immunity. After the challenge, everyone took the time to get to know one another. Rory informed Lopevi that Ami Cusack was the leader of the Women's Alliance. However, Julie and Twila wanted to vote out Rory first, then Ami. The men tried to convince them otherwise but the women voted out Rory. Sarge was hurt because Twila broke her word, despite her apparent sincerity. Sarge gave the women hats off for playing him and had an awkward time talking to any of them. At the Reward Challenge, Sarge was the first person eliminated. Chad and Chris were quickly knock out as well. Eventually Leann Slaby won and brought Julie with her. The men took the canoe to discuss strategy Sarge wanted to vote against Eliza Orlins because she annoyed the men and the women. While the men were talking strategy, the women ate all of the chicken wings that Leann and Julie brought back. When the men returned, they only had the wing tips. Unaware of what happened, Sarge was thankful for the chicken tips. At the Immunity Challenge, the men were all eliminated in the first round. Ami won immunity and deemed Sarge the biggest threat to win challenges. At Tribal Council, every woman and even Chris voted against him. Sarge was voted out in a 7-1-1 vote, making him the first member of the jury.
At the Final Tribal Council, Sarge congratulated the finalists for outwitting, outplaying, and outlasting him. He started with Twila by saying that he only surround himself with people who live to his values and doesn't want to see her again, but told her he would likely vote for her. He asked her is a million dollars worth throwing her son's name to hell, which she said no. Sarge then asked Chris about their friendship after he bluntly told him he wasn't voting for him. Chris said that their friendship was more important than the money and he didn't care if Sarge voted for him or Twila. Sarge revealed in his voting confessional that he always planned on voting for Chris but he wanted to know if their friendship was real, or if it was just strategy. Because of that, Sarge voted for Chris to become the Sole Survivor.
|Lea's Voting History|
| Voted Against|
|2||Lopevi Tribe Immune|
|5||Lopevi Tribe Immune|
|6||Lopevi Tribe Immune|
|9||Eliza|| Ami, Chris, Eliza, Julie,|
Leann, Scout, Twila
|Voted Off, Day 24|
| Voted for|
- On January 9, 2010, Lea attended Survivor's 10-year anniversary party along with all of his Vanuatu cast mates.
- Lea was the oldest male contestant on Survivor: Vanuatu.
- Lea is the first male contestant from South Carolina.
- Lea is the lowest ranking Alinta member to win individual immunity.
- Lea and Travis Sampson are the first ever contestants to be referred to by a nickname/alternate name (Sarge) throughout their time in the game.
|Survivor: Vanuatu Castaways|