Shawn D. Pahnke - A Tribute and Remembrance

by the men and women of COMSEC/SIGSEC, Army Security Agency

Shawn's father, Tom Pahnke, served in Vietnam with the Army Security Agency

Army Pvt. Shawn D. Pahnke, 25, of Shelbyville, Ind.;

assigned to Company C (Cobras), 1st Battalion (Bandits),
37th Armored Regiment, 1st Armored Division;
killed by enemy fire while on patrol in Baghdad on June 16, 2003

This nation lost a soldier. On Monday, the 16th of June, 2003, PFC Shawn Pahnke, Charlie Company, 1/37th Armor Regiment, 1st Armored Division, was patrolling in a HUMVEE along with his Platoon Leader and two other soldiers from his unit when the sniper's bullet found him. His fellow soldiers rushed him to the Battalion aid center, but he couldn't be saved. Shawn died doing what we ask soldiers to do every day -serving his nation.
This nation lost a friend. On Monday, the 16th of June, 2003, PFC Shawn Pahnke died, surrounded by his friends and comrades. They had tried to save him, but couldn't. Shawn was one of the favorites in his outfit. A few years older than most of the young soldiers, he was looked up to as a good soldier, a counselor, but most of all a friend. His friends cried when he died, and cried again at his memorial service in Baghdad on the 20th of June. Soldiers do cry - when they lose one of their own.
This nation lost a hero. On Monday, the 16th of June, 2003, PFC Shawn Pahnke was killed by a sniper's bullet. Shawn was an American hero. He was buried with honors at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery, with a Bronze Star, Purple Heart and a flag representing the thanks of a grateful nation. PFC Pahnke died in the service of his country, and no hero can ever do more.
This nation lost a father. On Monday, the 16th of June, 2003, the father of three-month old Dean Pahnke was killed. Dean never got to see his father, and Shawn had only heard his son cry during childbirth over the telephone. Dean will never know his father, but he will know of him. Because Dean's father has left a legacy of heroism, patriotism, love, compassion, and pride that Dean will never be able to forget.

Dean Patrick Pahnke
Shawn & Dean Pahnke Fund
Account # 171011210
First Bank of Manhattan
230 State Street
P.O. Box 85
Manhattan, IL 60442

Dean, Age 19 months
This nation lost a husband. On Monday, the 16th of June, 2003, Elisha Pahnke's husband was killed by a sniper's bullet in Baghdad Iraq. They had been married only a couple of years, and Elisha had gone through childbirth just three months before she found out her husband had been killed. Their romance had been amazing - meeting in an Internet chat group, meeting each other in person, and then marrying two years later. Shawn had joined the Army, in part, to provide a better life for his wife and son.
This nation lost a volunteer. On Monday, the 16th of June, 2003, PFC Shawn Pahnke didn't have to volunteer to go out on patrol. He could have stayed right where he'd been for the past few weeks" guarding an abandoned Iraqi weapons factory or a water treatment plant. Instead, Shawn begged his Platoon Leader to take him on a patrol in the streets of Baghdad. Shawn had been taken with the Iraqi children and the average Iraqi on the streets. He was saddened that they could live in such poor conditions, but cheered when he saw them smile and thank the Americans for setting them free. His Platoon Leader was in the HUMVEE when Shawn was hit.
This nation lost a patriot. On Monday, the 16th of June, 2003, America lost a true patriot. PFC Shawn Pahnke, killed by a sniper's bullet, wasn't a national figure. He didn't help this nation win its independence. But he, and millions like him, help this nation keep our independence and maintain the freedom and liberties that we hold so dear. He joined the Army for his nation -for you and me. And in the end, all we have to give him is a flag, draped over his casket then carefully folded by the hands of fellow soldiers, as a token of our appreciation. But the love, the caring, the concern, and the gratitude of every American is sewn into the stars and stripes on that flag-
by Dave Hatfield - Army Security Agency Veteran

Tributes to Shawn:

PFC Shawn Pahnke Manhattan, IL Post Office

Landmark American Flag dedicated to Shawn

I am proud of my Country and its flag.
I want to look back and say that I am proud to have served my country as a soldier.
- The Soldier's Code

Our dead brothers still live for us and bid us think of life, not death -- of life to which in their youth they lent the passion and glory of Spring.
As I listen, the great chorus of life and joy begins again, and amid the awful orchestra of seen and unseen powers and destinies of good and evil,
our trumpets, sound once more a note of daring, hope, and will.
- Oliver Wendell Holmes -

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Photo credits: Shawn's photo courtesy of

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