Died Jan. 31, in
Balad, Iraq, of wounds suffered when his vehicle was hit by a rocket
during combat operations Jan. 30 in Ramadi, Iraq.
Guttenberg soldier wounded in Iraq dies
REGISTER STAFF WRITER
February 1, 2007
U.S. Army Reserve Spc. Stephen D. Shannon of Guttenberg,a much-loved young man who was known in his northeast Iowa hometown as a “All-American boy,” has died of wounds suffered in Iraq.
Shannon’s family had been notified by the Army this week that he had been wounded while on duty. Then on Wednesday morning, two soldiers arrived at his parents’ home and informed them he had gone into shock and had died, said officials at Clayton Ridge High School, where Shannon had graduated in 2003.
He was serving in Iraq with the U.S. Army Reserve's 397th Engineer Battalion of Wausau, Wis., Army Reserve officials said Thursday. Details of his death had not been confirmed by late Thursday afternoon by the U.S. Defense Department.
Shannon, 21, had been the junior class president at Clayton Ridge in Guttenberg, where he had been a member of the football and wrestling teams, and had played in the school band. He was the second oldest of five children of Dan and Joan Shannon, who operate the town’s pharmacy.
Word of the young soldier’s death has stunned residents of Guttenberg, a community of about 2,000 on the Mississippi River, just across the border from Wisconsin. The students and staff at the high school were so upset after hearing the news on Wednesday morning that plans for students to take basic academic skills tests were delayed, said Bruce Bryant, a language arts teacher at the high school.
“People are in shock. The war has come home,” said Bryant, who coached Shannon in a soccer club and had him as a student. “We are trying to figure out what we can do to honor this young man because he was such a wonderful kid.”
James Whalen, the principal at Clayton Ridge High School and the next-door neighbor of Shannon’s family, said the young man’s death is a big loss for Guttenberg.
“He was like a Norman Rockwell painting of an All-American boy,” Whalen said. “He was honest, clean-cut, polite and courteous. He never got in trouble. Everybody would have liked to have had him as their son. It is sad such things happen to such nice people.”
After high school, Shannon had attended the University of Northern Iowa, where he had joined the Reserve Officer Training Corps. He initially studied pre-medicine, then switched to a law enforcement major before enlisting in the Army. He had left for duty in Iraq last fall.
The high school wrestling team plans to honor the Guttenberg soldier by sewing his initials onto their uniforms. The team also plans to observe a moment of silence before its meet with Elkader Central High School next week.
“He was a great kid,” Bryant said. “He was a bigger kid, but a gentle young man. He would do anything you asked him to do. He would run through a brick wall for you.”
Shannon was the 51st person with Iowa ties to have died in Iraq or Afghanistan since March 2003.
Funeral arrangements are pending with Tuecke-Allyn Funeral Home in Guttenberg.