WASHINGTON, DC, USA U.S. Marine Corps LTCOL, HQ CO, RCT-1, 1ST MAR DIV, CAMP PENDLETON, CA AL ANBAR PROVINCE, IRAQ 09/14/2004
Kevin Michael Shea grew up in Seattle. He started out as a pudgy freckle-faced kid and worked his way into a giant with hard work. He graduated from the US Air Force Academy. While at the academy, he lettered in football, played in the 1987 Freedom Bowl and was a member of the academy’s rugby team, which won the collegiate national championship his final year. Kevin Shea also taught and coached rugby at the U.S. Naval Academy. He was so well-liked among students that he was voted an honorary member of the class of 2003. Kevin was special. Strong and powerful, a tender warrior.
“We called him the gentle giant because he was so big and imposing,” said Alison Shea, the Major’s sister-in-law. “He was a real softy, a great dad with a great sense of humor. He was just a great guy.”
Major Shea was being promoted to Lieutenant Colonel. He was coming home for a command at Camp Pendleton. He’d be close to his wife and two young children. But on his 38th birthday, he was hit by rocket fire near Fallujah. It was a devastating blow to his family.
“He was the big brother,” says Alison Shea. “We really looked up to him. It’s a loss than none of us are ever going to get used to.”
Shea’s former teacher at Bishop O’Dea High School in Seattle remembers him as the real package — smart, accomplished and one heck of an athlete. But it was his gentleness that resonated. In an email, a classmate described him as “a much needed gentle soul in an area where hatred is trying to carry the day.”
Kevin is survived by his wife, Ami, and two children, ages 10 and 7.
LTC Shea was awarded the Bronze Star with Valor, Purple Heart, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Navy-Marine Corps Commendation Medal with Gold Star, Joint Service Achievement Medal, Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Navy Unit Commendation, National Defense Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Southwest Asia Service Medal with Two Bronze Stars, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, Kuwaiti Liberation Medal, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and Liberation Medal Kuwait. He was also a Jumpmaster and combatant diver qualified.
Kevin’s portrait is not yet on a poster