Marine Sgt. Derek L. Shanfield
Died June 08, 2010 serving during Operation Enduring Freedom
22, of Hastings, Pa.; assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.; died June 8 in Helmand province, Afghanistan, while supporting combat operations. Also killed was Sgt. Zachary J. Walters.
(The following was taken from www.pittsburghlive.com of June 10, 2010) It seemed like Sgt. Derek L. Shanfield was born to be a Marine.
The 22-year-old Cambria County native, who joined the Marines shortly after graduating in 2006 from Cambria Heights High School and recently was given a meritorious promotion, was killed Tuesday during combat operations in Afghanistan.
"He was truly amazing. He rose up through the ranks very high in a very short time. He was basically a picture of perfection when it comes to being a Marine," said Shanfield's brother, Marine Sgt. Sydney David Lee Shanfield.
Derek Shanfield and his twin brother, Marine Cpl. Devin L. Shanfield, joined the corps together and were stationed with different units in Camp Lejeune, N.C.
"I felt very compelled to take part in everything going on in our country, and both of my brothers were very proud to follow and do their part as well," said Sydney Shanfield, who joined the corps in 2001 and has served three tours of duty in Iraq.
"Derek believed in it wholeheartedly, believed in taking care of his Marines. He believed in everything he was doing."
The three Marines are the children of David and Pamela Shanfield of Hastings, 35 miles north of Johnstown.
"He was a squad leader. He deployed to Afghanistan earlier than the rest of his unit," Pamela Shanfield said. "He left May 21 and was just over there for two weeks. Devin was set to deploy later."
She said she didn't know all the details of what happened to her son.
"All I know is he was out on patrol."
The Department of Defense said Shanfield and Marine Sgt. Zachary J. Walters, 24, of Palm Coast, Fla., who also was based in Camp Lejeune, were killed in action in Helmand province. Both were members of 2nd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force.
Shanfield last talked to her son after he landed in Bangor, Maine, while en route to Afghanistan.
"He said the Freeport Flag Ladies took a bunch of pictures and put them on their website," Shanfield said, speaking of the group of women from a coastal Maine village who drive weekly to the airport in Bangor to see the soldiers off or greet them upon their return.
"He said not to worry, 'I'll be fine. I'll be coming home just as good as new.' I told him, 'Keep your head down and come on home.'"
She said her son -- who has two sisters, Jessica Petro of Maryland and Allison Shanfield, at home -- enjoyed running cross country and swimming.
"He was a good person. He made people laugh. He was just the kind of person who would make jokes or do something foolish. He had a lot of friends."