Honoring Shields: Recounting those fateful final days of Marvin G. Shields

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Today we begin a week-long focus on the life of Construction Mechanic 3rd Class Marvin G. Shields.

Shields was the first and only Seabee to earn the Medal of Honor, awarded for his valiant efforts during the Vietnam Conflict in the Battle of Dong Xoai. He died from wounds he sustained during the battle on June 10, 1965.

Hailing from Port Townsend, Wash., Shields joined the Navy in January 1962. He completed training as a construction mechanic in Sept. 1963 upon which he was assigned to A Company, Mobile construction Battalion 11. He deployed with Seabee Team 1104 in January 1965 out of Port Hueneme, traveling to Tan Son Nhut Air Force Base in Saigon.

Over the course of the next week, we will explore the timeline of the final days of Shields. This will culminate in a  presentation on the Battle of Dong Xoai by Seabee Museum Director Dr. Lara Godbille, June 10 at 6 p.m. in the museum’s education room.

“As the first Navy personnel to be killed in Vietnam, and the only Seabee to be awarded the Medal of Honor, Marvin Shields is the most well-known Seabee in the community,” she said. “This presentation will examine what actions he took to earn the award and solidify his legacy. It should be interesting to both members of the Seabee family, and the general public that want to learn more about American involvement in Vietnam.”

Godbille noted the presentation will coincide with the reopening of the museum’s memorial room which will be called the Hall of Fallen Heroes.

“Patrons can learn more about Shields and other Seabees and CEC officers who have paid the ultimate sacrifice,” she said. “The space, which was revamped to honor fallen Seabees from WWII to current operations, will feature an entirely new presentation on Marvin Shields that we feel reflects who he was and the reverence the Seabee community has for him.”

We hope you will follow with us as we commemorate the life of a Seabee who embodied the Navy Core Values of Honor, Courage and Commitment.

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