Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Army Spc. Kevin R. Shumaker

Remember Our Heroes

Army Spc. Kevin R. Shumaker, 24, of Livermore, Calif.

Spc Shumaker was assigned to Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, N.Y.; died Aug. 31, 2011 in a stateside hospital of rabies believed to have been contracted while he was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.


FORT DRUM — The family of a 10th Mountain Division soldier who died of rabies last month wants to know why he died of the treatable disease.

The soldier, Spc. Kevin R. Shumaker, 24, Livermore, Calif., died Aug. 31 at Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, days after being assigned to the post.

While deployed with a Germany-based Army unit to Afghanistan eight months before dying, the soldier was bitten by a dog, his mother, Elaine Taylor of Castro Valley, Calif., told the Contra Costa Times, adding that a series of blood tests at the Syracuse hospital indicated her son may not have received the proper doses of vaccines that, according to the World Health Organization, can save a bite victim from rabies before the symptoms begin to show.

The soldier was assigned to the 2nd Brigade Combat Team’s Special Troops Battalion and began showing symptoms of rabies shortly after arriving last month.

“He was only there for a couple of days,” his stepfather, David Taylor of Castro Valley, told the Watertown Daily Times.

The battalion’s commander, Lt. Col. Rhett R. Cox, and other unit leaders were especially helpful once family members flew to New York to be with the dying soldier, Mr. Taylor said.

“They supported the family,” he said. “Col. Cox performed brilliantly.”

The soldier’s Fort Drum unit held a memorial service for him last week at the division chapel.

The Department of Defense is investigating the circumstances surrounding his death.

Army Spc. Kevin R. Shumaker died of a non-combat related illness on 8/31/11.

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