News: Memorial held for 18th Fires Brigade (Airborne) Soldier
Story by Staff Sgt. Jacob McDonald
FORT BRAGG, N.C. — A memorial service was held Feb. 26 for an 18th Fires Brigade (Airborne) Soldier found dead in her quarters on Fort Bragg, N.C., earlier in the week.
The service honored Pfc. Autumn M. Shannon who served in the 583rd Forward Support Company, 188th Brigade Support Battalion as a food service specialist.
Shannon was remembered during the service as a good Soldier and a great friend. Fellow troopers speaking at the ceremony commented on their friendship with Shannon and her positive attitude.
"She was a kind and gentle person with a great heart," said Spc. Keith Moyer, 583rd FSC. "She was a great battle buddy. She never talked down or belittled anybody. She treated everyone the way she wanted to be treated, with respect."
Spc. Vinny Oraliya, who worked with Shannon at the 18th Fires Bde. (Abn.) Dining Facility, spoke of the life-changing second chance Shannon had received after a near fatal car accident in December.
"Pfc. Shannon showed us all the meaning of second chances," Oraliya said. "God didn't just give her a second chance; who knows how many souls her testimony and light saved. He gave her just enough time to shine and then called her home."
Shannon's commander 1st Lt. Henry Breton, spoke of the positive effect she had been in his life in the few months he had known her.
"The short time I have known her will have a lasting effect on me for the remainder of my life," Breton said. "Despite a crippling injury that left her in a wheel chair for two months, she had the strength, resilience and ultimately the self perception to pick herself up when the chips were down... I now know that Pfc. Shannon shined."
Lt. Col. Nathan Hunsinger, commander, 188th Brigade Support Battalion, spoke about the need for all of us to live life to its fullest every day, the way Shannon did. Speaking of the dash that represents life between the date of birth and the date of death on a tombstone, he talked about Shannon's love of poetry, her desire to become an officer, her love of the Army, her goal to earn a master's degree and many of her other achievements.
"Autumn Shannon's life was much more than just a small dash," Hunsinger said. "It was a life of academic excellence and service to her country. Her dash was a life filled with a love of sports, athletics, animals and above all, poetry.
"Autumn's presence is still felt among the ranks by those who knew her best," Hunsinger added. "Private first class Shannon's dash was a life spent in search of fulfillment and being part of something greater than herself. The Steel Eagle family will miss her."
The ceremony included a medley of songs from the 82nd Airborne Division Choir, a firing of volleys and concluded with the playing of taps. As attendees exited the chapel, they each took time to pay their final respects at the memorial erected for the ceremony. Each Soldier saluted, some left gifts and many people prayed as they remembered their comrade-in-arms and their friend.
Shannon was born Dec. 13, 1977 in South Carolina. She began her military career as a medic in the National Guard, serving from 1996-2002. In 2005 she received a scholarship to the University of South Carolina where she earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Retailing and Fashion Marketing. In January 2009 she enlisted in the Regular Army and was trained at Fort Sill and Fort Lee as a Food Service Specialist. In September 2009 she was assigned to the 583rd Forward Support Company, 188th Brigade Support Battalion, 18th Fires Brigade (Airborne), 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, NC. Shannon died in her home on Fort Bragg on February 22, 2010.
Her military awards and decorations include: the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.
Shannon is survived by her husband, Victor Ross of Emporia, Virginia, and by her parents, Alex Shannon of Newark, New Jersey, and Linda Shannon of Bethune, South Carolina.