- 41 years old
- Date of birth: Sep 2, 1974
- Place of birth:
California, United States
- Date of passing: Jan 14, 2016
- Place of passing:
Waimea, Hawaii, United States
|Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life. Rescue me from my enemies, Lord, for I hide myself in you. Teach me to do your will, for you are my God...|
Man of God, husband, father, son, brother, friend and Marine...
On the night of January 14, while flying a training mission off the north shore of Hawaii, Shawn paid the highest price serving his country and all those who value freedom. This page tells our story for him...
"On this, the anniversary of God bringing you into this world, Shawn... we remember how well you stewarded the many gifts our good Lord gave you...and we miss you, Brother! We are thankful to our common Lord ...with whom you blessedly live... that you loved Kelli so well and provided her with such a great fire team of children to bless and comfort her in your too early absence! We miss you, Marine!"
"April, 15, 2016
I first met my friend Shawn Campbell in June of 2000. We were both rushing the United States Marine Corps as potential Officers during the ten-week Officer Candidate School (OCS) course in Quantico, VA. During this period of his life he wore the last name of Bartle. Candidate Bartle and I would get to know each other through the course of OCS and the nightly bible studies that we shared while sitting on our racks. Our racks were simple, metal bunk beds and our rack mates were assigned by last name. Throughout the course of OCS the Candidates that were alphabetically between Shawn and I would go home for various reasons until one night I remember Shawn becoming my rack mate.
Right about the same time one Sunday afternoon I found myself sitting alone with Shawn at a picnic table overlooking the Potomac River in old town Quantico. During our one day off during the long days and short weeks of OCS, Shawn made it a point to define our friendship. The question he used to define our friendship came out in his own brand of Texas draw, “Do you consider yourself a Christian?” My response was not as well thought out and not as mature as we were both expecting. That very short and a little uncomfortable conversation defined a friendship that is difficult to explain to anyone not inside the strange world of the US Marines and specifically Marine Aviation. Our world is one that prides itself on maintaining tight friendships without actually being co-located with those you hold so dear. Shawn decided to make our friendship not only based on the legendary connection normally associated with a fellow Marine, but the connection of a fellow Christian.
After OCS we both returned to college. Shawn married Kelli and we both started the rest of our lives. In November 2001, I returned to Quantico, VA to attend The Basic School (TBS). As I walked around base looking for Marines that I recognized, I heard that same strange Texas draw, “Hey Shawn” and of course my reply, “Hey Shawn.” As luck would have it we were going to be in the same Company during the next six months of TBS. This was exactly the kind of connection that you pray for during strange new social situations. Come to find out, not only were we going to be in the same Company of about 200 Marines, but the same Platoon of 40. The same squad of 12, the same fire team of 4 and the same battle buddy of 2.
While at TBS we stood next to each other for nearly every training day. After a long week in the field, Shawn invited me back to his apartment where Kelli had made dinner. This invitation allowed me into a foreign world, Shawn and Kelli’s sanctuary from TBS. During rigorous training like TBS, families develop strong walls to protect some semblance of normal very carefully. They are normally heavily guarded and rarely opened to outsiders. That evening with Shawn, Kelli, and Ben Beach I enjoyed one of the best meals I have ever eaten in my life: Pasta shells, stuffed with Ricotta cheese and red sauce, with garlic bread. We watched, “What About Bob?” and I fell asleep on the couch, completely spent.
After TBS, Shawn went directly to Pensacola for flight training. I took leave to get married to my wife, Elaine, back home in Indiana. When we caught up with Shawn and Kelli in Florida, he was quick to show me how to study for API. There were a lot of flash cards and coffee. He graduated API a month or so before me and went to Corpus Christie, TX for primary flight training. I followed him as soon as I could. As we began flight training in VT-27 together, Shawn was the one who taught me to preflight the T-34C Turbo Mentor, strap in, and start knocking out checklists.
As we completed Primary flight training, our paths began to go in different directions. Shawn returned to Pensacola to fly helicopters, I stayed in TX to fly jets. The funny thing was Shawn wanted to fly jets and I actually would have preferred helicopters.
For the next four years we saw each other briefly when we would happen to find ourselves in the same city.
That ended in May 2006 when my son Brady was still born at 34 weeks. Elaine and I were stationed across the country in Whidbey Island, WA and we were crushed. We made plans to bury him back home in Indiana. As we were struggling to make the final preparations for Brady’s funeral, my family got word from Shawn and Kelli that they would like to drive up for the service. I remember seeing the old Subaru Outback rolling into my aunt’s driveway. Shawn, Kelli, and a two year old Tristan came out and were quick with the hugs. I am told that Shawn and I went for a run during that visit, but I don’t recall a lot of detail during those trying days. I do remember the feelings though. The warm, security of a friendly hug and the great feeling of honor that one of my friends would make the effort required to drive hundreds of miles with a toddler to “just be there”.
The next time we were together was the following year in North Carolina. Shawn and Kelli offered their spare room to us as we were looking for housing and we were grateful. Within a day or so of arriving in North Carolina, baby Kenna was born. During the next three weeks we were proud to “just be there” for Shawn, Kelli, Tristan, and Kenna.
Two years later and a lot of Marine Corps miles, I found myself on my second deployment to Al Asad, Iraq and it was about month three of a six month deployment. The middle of a deployment, for me, is always the hardest. The days are no longer new or different and you’re too far out to start counting the days until you get to go home. As I walked into the ready room one morning I had a message to call Captain Shawn Campbell. Shawn was on his Forward Air Controller (FAC) tour and he wanted to meet up with me to have lunch. After lunch we walked around the EA-6B Prowler, posed for a quick photo and generally just enjoyed each other’s company. Even now I struggle to find the words to describe how much is gained by having a visit from an old friend during deployment. Huge.
The last time I saw Shawn was at an Olive Garden in Jacksonville, NC in June 2014. He had just returned to the Fleet Replacement Squadron (FRS) at MCAS New River to complete his refresher training in the CH-53E. We had lunch again, posed for a photo, and talked a lot about the stories I have mentioned, and a few that I didn’t. WE talked about our growing families, our Marine Corps careers, and where were going next.
As I drove home from MCAS Cherry Point of Friday January 15th, I had just returned from a three week training detachment to NAS Key West. I wanted to see my wife and kids hug them, have dinner, and read bed time stories. As I turned on the radio, NPR mentioned that two CH-53E’s had crashed Thursday night in Hawaii. I knew immediately.
The strange thing is that nearly every day since then, I have seen Shawn’s imprint on my life. The first example was that Friday night when I unpacked my sea bag. I realized that nearly ten years earlier, in the garage in Richlands, NC, Shawn had taught me how to use an iso-mat to keep the shape of the bag just right and protect your stuff inside. At church just a few weeks ago the pastor asked, “What do you think Heaven looks like?” My first thought was, I don’t know, but I know my friend Shawn has been there before me, he has held my son Brady, and he is taking good notes for me, just like before.
While we were in Hawaii for HMH-463’s memorial service for Pegasus 31 and Pegasus 32. I found myself running into family and friends of Shawn and Kelli and we kept saying something like, “Man, you look really familiar”, we would spend the next few minutes trying to figure out if we had met before and usually we would realize that we had not. That was a strange feeling for me.
As I was flying back home afterwards and I was able to reflect on our trip to Hawaii, I began to try to figure out why everyone seemed familiar. What I came up with was that we were seeing Shawn in each other, or maybe we were seeing the Christ that Shawn trusted and represented in each other.
The finest and purest sheep have always held the burden and have been the first to be sacrificed for our benefit."
"Shawn and Kelli have always had a heart to minister in the military. They faithfully, prayerfully, and financially supported a ministry called Tun Tavern Fellowship: A network of Christians serving God in the Marine Corps. Because of this accident, Tun Tavern Fellowship has felt called to start a fund titled "Deuteronomy 10:18 fund."
Deuteronomy 10:18 "The Lord executes justice for the fatherless and the widow and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing." Tun Tavern Fellowship serves Marines, and one of the way they can serve those Marines is by caring for the families of the fallen.
Kelli, Tristan, Kenna, Kate, and Donovan Campbell have lost an amazing husband and father. Yet through this loss, they have discovered the extent to which God can provide His love in abundance. He will not abandon them but will continue to honor their father’s sacrifice by caring for the children he left too soon.
If you would like to help uphold their cause, you may send your tax deductible contribution to:
Tun Tavern Fellowship: www.tuntavernfellowship.org
Follow the link to: “The Deuteronomy 10:18 Fund” page
This page provides a link: To the E-giving website
Once on the E-giving page, scroll down to make your donation under Crossroads Presbyterian (Tun Tavern Fellowship) Deuternomy 10:18 fund
In loving memory of Shawn Campbell"
"I am so thankful for Shawn's partnering, leadership, and often wise counsel as a managing member of two of the Tun Tavern Inns. I am also very thankful for his ministry leadership in Pensacola as he met with young Marine Lts/student naval aviators on Saturday mornings for breakfast, mentoring, encouragement, and bible study ... He often brought Trystan along on many of these...exposing and modeling to his eldest son what a commitment to God's word and helping others grow "looked like". ... With love from the full Tun Tavern Fellowship family"
"I'm grateful for Shawn's spirit and service to Harvest PCA Church.
With love for Shawn's family, Donna"
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