Saturday, March 03, 2007

Shawn Dunkin laid to rest

When Shawn Dunkin came to Chattanooga for a funeral nearly five years ago, he was struck by the rolling hills and rows of white markers at National Cemetery.

“He said it was beautiful,” said Ashley Dunkin, his wife. He wanted to make Chattanooga home.

But Sgt. Dunkin died Feb. 19 in Baghdad during his second tour in Iraq, when an explosive device hit the vehicle he was riding in. Two other soldiers were killed.

Now Sgt. Dunkin will be buried in Chattanooga.

Mrs. Dunkin said she could tell Chattanooga is where her husband would want to be buried.

“He didn’t have to say it,” she said.

Sgt. Dunkin and his wife, a Chattanooga native, met through mutual friends in Texas, where Mrs. Dunkin lived with her mother and stepfather. They married when Sgt. Dunkin was stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, after his first tour in Iraq.

The two would have been married three years this summer. They had been together for seven.

“He was my husband and my best friend,” said Mrs. Dunkin, 24. “We just made each other laugh all the time. We were like the same person.”

Mrs. Dunkin said her husband was very protective of her and his family. He also was recognized twice for acts of heroism: once when he rescued several girls from drowning in a river, and again when he helped a fellow soldier who was injured.

Sgt. Dunkin joined the Army because he thought he had an obligation to serve his country, said Tom Hodges, Sgt. Dunkin’s father-in-law.

“Shawn didn’t think of himself ; he thought of everyone else,” Mr. Hodges said.

Sgt. Dunkin, originally from Covington, Va., who later lived in Columbia S.C., was assigned to B Troop, 1st Squadron, 89th Cavalry Regiment, according to a Fort Drum, N.Y., news release. He enlisted in the Army in 2001.

From the Free Press

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