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Army Staff Sgt. Shaun J. Whitehead

Died April 24, 2008 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom


24, of Commerce, Ga.; assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Ky.; died April 24 in Balad, Iraq, of wounds sustained when he encountered an improvised explosive device while on a dismounted patrol.

Three Fort Campbell soldiers killed in two days

The Associated Press

FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. — Three Fort Campbell-based soldiers, including one from Georgia, have been killed in two days in Iraq in separate incidents, according to the Department of Defense.

The Army says staff Sgt. Shaun J. Whitehead was struck and killed by a bomb while patrolling on foot in Iskandariyah on Thursday. Whitehead, 25, from Commerce, Ga., was assigned to A Company, 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team.

The day before Whitehead’s death, John T. Bishop, 22, of Gaylord, Mich., and 1st Lt. Timothy W. Cunningham, 26, of College Station, Texas, died in Golden Hills, Iraq, from injuries suffered when their vehicle rolled into a canal. The deaths are under investigation.

Both were assigned to C Troop, 1st Squadron, 32nd Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division.

Including the three deaths, six soldiers from the base on the Tennessee-Kentucky state line have died in the last week.

Whitehead entered the Army in September 2003. He is survived by his wife, Brenda, a son and a daughter, all of Fort Campbell, and his mother, Rebecca Whitehead, of Maysville, Ga.

Whitehead attended Commerce High School and joined the Army in 2003, the Athens Banner-Herald reported.

“He was a nice young man. Didn’t get into trouble, a nice kid,” Commerce High School counselor Elaine Roller told the newspaper.

His funeral is being handled by Evans Funeral Home in Jefferson.

Cunningham joined the Army in May 2006 and came to Fort Campbell in April 2007. The infantry officer completed U.S. Army Ranger school and earned a Parachutist Badge. He is survived by his wife, daughter and parents.

Bishop, an infantryman, joined the Army in August 2006 and came to Fort Campbell in January 2007. He earned several awards, including the Army Good Conduct Medal and the Expert Infantry Badge. He is survived by his wife and parents.


Army Staff Sgt. Shaun J. Whitehead remembered

The Associated Press

Staff Sgt. Justin Akers served with Shaun J. Whitehead during his first deployment to Iraq, from 2004 to 2006, when Whitehead “was just coming into his own as a leader,” he said.

“He always put his soldiers first, and that’s the greatest compliment I can pay a noncommissioned officer in the United States Army,” Akers said.

Whitehead, 24, of Commerce, Ga., died April 24 in Iskandariyah of wounds sustained from an explosive. He was assigned to Fort Campbell.

His grandfather served in Korea and Vietnam, and Shaun signed up knowing he would soon be on his way to Iraq. “He thought it was time for him to contribute,” said his grandfather, Coy O’Shields.

“Shaun taught me how to love. He truly did,” said his wife, Janie. “He opened up to me a whole other level of love.”

On visits back to Georgia with his family, Whitehead would run at the first sight of his mother to pick her up and twirl her around, laughing, she said.

“May God be kind to me, and may that memory never fade,” said his mother, Rebecca.

He also is survived by a daughter, Janna, and a son, Gabriel.

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