Shawn was part of a group of soldiers from civil affairs and Special Forces deployed to an African country to train local troops and support the community in countering terrorist groups. Originally from Woodward, Oklahoma, he enlisted in the U.S. Army at 18 in July 2000, previously working as a networking switching systems operator. After completing the Special Forces Assessment and Selection Course, he joined the third Special Forces Group based in North Carolina’s Fort Bragg, eventually becoming a warrant officer.

During his military career, Shawn served seven deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, earning accolades such as two Bronze Stars, four Good Conduct Medals, and various international service decorations. Following his passing, he received a Meritorious Service Medal and Army Commendation Medal. Described in his obituary as deeply dedicated to his job and guided by his faith, strong principles, and family, Shawn left a lasting impact.

Tragically, Shawn’s death adds to a significant number of active-duty military fatalities since 2006. According to the Congressional Research Service, he was among 19,378 active-duty personnel who lost their lives while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces between 2006 and 2021. Accidental deaths accounted for the highest proportion, comprising 32.0% (6,198 in total).

Such stories remind us to cherish our time with loved ones. Below, you can witness the emotional moment when Tara approaches Shawn’s coffin.

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