By Mass Communication 3rd class Seth Coulter, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West, Det. Northwest
GARDINER, Wash. — Naval Facilities Engineering Command Northwest hosted a commemoration ceremony to honor the 50th anniversary of Medal of Honor recipient Marvin Shields’ heroic actions in Vietnam, June 10.
While wounded, Shields supplied fellow Americans with ammunition to return fire against the enemy for nearly three hours. Shields, wounded a second time, assisted in carrying a more critically wounded man to safety and returning fire for four more hours. Finally he volunteered to accompany his commander to take out a machine gun emplacement with a rocket launcher. After succeeding, Shields was mortally wounded by enemy fire when returning to the defensive perimeter.
“The actions taken by Shields, and those like him, deserve much more than simply remembering who they were,” said Rear Adm. Katherine Gregory, Commander Naval Facilities Engineering Command, from St. Louis, Mo. “They inspire us to dream more, do more and become more with the lives that have been given to us by the sacrifices of those who came before us.”
To all who knew Shields he was a selfless individual who truly cared about taking care of those around him.
“Marvin Shields never went halfway in anything,” explained James Keenan, retired Navy Lt. Cmdr., from McMullen, Texas. “He was a hard charger and cheerful the whole time. The fact he went out to shoot that rocket was above and beyond. Its one thing to fire it on the target range but something completely different to use it while under fire.”
Joan Shields-Bennett, surviving wife of Shields, also talked about the way Shields felt toward his comrades from Seabee Team 1104 in the field.
“Marvin didn’t consider the members of his team friends, but family,” said Bennett. “Even in death a hero can have an impact on the people who loved him and those who have never met him.”
The state of Washington recently passed legislation to name a stretch of Highway 101 for Shields, and also for other of the state’s recipients of the nation’s highest military honor.
For more news from Navy Public Affairs Support Element West, Det. Northwest, visit http://www.navy.mil/local/nwpacen/.