Monday, May 10, 2010

Marine Cpl. Kurt S. Shea

Remember Our Heroes

Marine Cpl. Kurt S. Shea, 21, of Frederick, Md.

Cpl. Shea was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 10th Marines, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.; died May 10, 2010 while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

The family of Cpl. Kurt S. Shea, a 21-year-old Marine from Frederick, had been planning a party for July 4 to celebrate the end of his tour in Afghanistan. Instead, on Tuesday, relatives were preparing to go to Dover Air Force Base to retrieve the body of Shea, who was killed Monday in Afghanistan's Helmand Province.

On Sunday night, his family learned he'd been shot and killed while on duty in Afghanistan.

Shea had wanted a military career since he was three years old. His mother Linda pointed with pride to her son's many awards. As team captain, he led his Frederick High School wrestling team to the regional championship.

Then he became a Marine, following in the footsteps of two uncles whose pictures hang on his bedroom wall. Other family members served in the Army and Navy.

But his mother feared the worst when there was a sharp knock on the door Sunday night, and she saw three men standing outside Sunday night. That's when the family found out what had happened.

"Even though I've lost my son, I'm still very proud to be associated with the Marines," said Linda Shea. "Unfortunately it was Mother's Day evening [when we found out]. It was around nine o'clock. I knew what that meant. I had followed the Marines as far as being supportive to other families who have lost their children and I know about the knock on the door."

Kurt Shea graduated from Frederick High School in 2007. A plaque will be put up in the football stadium in honor of his leadership of the wrestling team and of the school's chapter of Future Farmers of America.

Edward Mayne, the advisor of that group, said Shea loved all animals and growing things.

"The Unsung Hero Award was one of the last awards he had gotten before he graduated," Mayne said. "It was very typical of Kurt. he always did things behind the scenes. He always helped support everybody. And he was recognized for that."

Another teacher at Frederick High, Beth Strakonsky, said, "He was always very respectful, unassuming. He did what he was asked to do, and went about his business."

Kurt Shea's proudest achievement was being a Marine.

His mother thought it important to add this thought: "I encourage everybody everywhere to be supportive of our troops. They're out there. They believe in what they're doing. They're committed. They're serving their community. And unfortunately that's some of the risk that's involved, but I'm very proud of our military."

He died doing what he had always longed to do, said his mother, Linda Shea. "When he was 3, he wanted to be an Army man," she said, adding that she probably still has her son's crayon drawings of military men from that time.

The Department of Defense said that Cpl. Shea, a radio operator assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division Forward, died while supporting combat operations. His mother said preliminary reports say he was killed by a gunshot to the head.

After investigating all the branches of the military during high school, Shea chose the Marines and signed up before beginning his senior year, his mother said.

He was attracted to the discipline and physical rigor. "Kurt did not ever sidestep a challenge," she said, adding that his three years of service had helped him develop. "He was always respectful, he became more respectful; he was always mature, he became more mature."

Shea's friends were reeling from the news, with messages about his death appearing on Facebook and pouring in to the Web site of Maryland DeMolay, a youth fraternity Shea had been a member of since his early teens.

Jonathan Adler, one of his fraternity brothers, said Shea had wanted to study kung fu. "We were going to look into schools in the area so that we could train together," he said. "He demonstrated many qualities that would have made him a great martial artist."

Courtney Duvall, a classmate at Frederick High School, recalled a gesture Kurt Shea made when she was a new student at Frederick High. "He was kind enough to invite me to his table with his friends at lunch when I first started," she said.

Cpl. Shea was to serve one more year in the Marines, after which, his mother said, he was trying to decide whether to continue or pursue a career in law enforcement or criminal justice. "He wanted to protect," she said. "He's a big brother."

His sister Olivia, who is in high school, felt that protection, his mother said. "With the guys that are paying attention to her, Kurt reminded her to remind them that her brother's a Marine."

Cpl. Shea, who was promoted to corporal in April 2009, was still getting used to overseeing people, his mother said. "He would ask for advice: How do you supervise people?" He would also ask for Girl Scout peanut butter cookies and Hostess banana cupcakes, which his family would send in the mail.

Shea was a radio operator assigned to 3rd Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division Forward, according to a 2nd Marine Division press release. Shea joined the Marine Corps in June 2007, and was promoted to corporal on April 1, 2009.

He deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in November 2009, according to the 2nd Marine Division. His awards include the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal and NATO International Security Assistance Force Medal.

Cpl. Kurt Shea could have been buried at Arlington National Cemetery, but his mother says his ties to the community of Frederick run so deep that they chose to bury him there.

Marine Cpl. Kurt S. Shea was killed in action on 5/10/10.

1 comment:

Amanda Albright said...

Thank you for posting this. Kurt was a dear friend and tonight I'm having one of those tough nights. This was nice to find. ❤️