PFC Andrew Shields honored at Never to be Forgotten ceremony


Private First Class Andrew Jon Shields was remembered in a Never to be Forgotten ceremony on May 31 at Kiwanis Park in Battle Ground, 14 years after he was killed in action near Jalalabad City, Afghanistan while on active duty.

The ceremony began with the National Anthem, which was sung by Vancouver Police Department Cpl. Rey Reynolds and was followed by a speech from Larry J. Smith, the co-chair of the Community Military Appreciation Committee.

“We recognize folks who sacrifice (themselves) for this country,” Smith said. “Sometimes I get a little perturbed because much of the public overlooks that and doesn’t realize that folks who step up and put their lives on the line for us, whether they’re in military or law enforcement, how important that is to have those men and women who would do that.”

Lynn Vaughn, of the Patriot Guard Riders, spoke about Shields and his life before he died. Shields was born on Sept. 8, 1988 and was the son of Clark County Sheriff’s Deputy Jon Shields and Wendy Campbell, who were both in the U.S. Army as well. 

“Drew loved playing football, competitive shooting, hunting and fishing,” Vaughn said. “While attending Battle Ground High School, PFC Shields joined the United States Army ‘Split Option Program,’ which allowed them to join the military between their junior and their senior year and attend recruit training during that summer between (those years).”

Vaughn said Shields attended recruit training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. He was  a track and field athlete at Battle Ground High School and was also on the varsity football team. Shields was also a member of the Clark County Fire and Rescue cadet program. He was appointed as the battalion chief shortly after joining the program during his senior year of high school. 

“PFC Shields was later assigned to the 173rd Special Troops Battalion, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team in Bomberg, Germany,” Vaughn said. “This unit was subsequently deployed for Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. PFC Shields knew what he wanted to do in life and that was to fight for the country as an airborne medic.”

Shields was on patrol in Jalalabad City in east Afghanistan when he suffered mortal wounds after his vehicle encountered an improvised explosive device, or IED, on May 31, 2008. Specialist James M. Finley also died in the explosion that day. 

Shields was brought home to rest at the Evergreen Memorial Gardens Cemetery in Vancouver. He is survived by his parents, his stepmother Carol Shields, his sister Ryleigh Campbell, and other extended family members. 

“I am Andrew’s mother and I am proud to have raised a hero,” Wendy Campbell said at the ceremony. “Not many people can say that, but I am. He served his country because he loves his country, and I hate to say, it is not a country that he would love at this time. I absolutely support our military in all that they do and I think we need to, no matter what, support our military, support our EMT people, stuff that we’re not doing. I ask that we take the time to support them, those that are deployed or those that are home. I love my son.” 

After the speeches, the Patriot Guard Riders conducted a three-rifle volley ceremony. 

“(I came to honor) an absolutely outstanding young man,” Reynolds said. “My brother Jon Shields’ son Andrew, he was 19 and a half years old, but he was a man, and he joined the Army and went through and did some incredible things. Yes, he was killed one month in, but it just shows that we have tremendous leadership and we have tremendous patriotism right here in Clark County.”

Reynolds said those in the area have a strong kinship with one another. 

“We are a community, and as a community, we have to honor those that have gone before us that are fighting for our country. We need to honor those that have stood when we could not,” he said. “We’re not like Portland, we’re certainly not like Seattle. We are Clark County, and that’s what makes us unique, and why so many people want to be here, because of the blessing of growing up and bringing people into this country.”


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