Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom

Remembering the servicemembers who died in the service of their country.

Army Pfc. Shawn D. Pahnke

25, of Shelbyville, Indiana.
Pahnke was on patrol in Baghdad, Iraq when he received a fatal gunshot wound. He was assigned to Company C, 1st Battalion, 37th Armored Regiment, 1st Armored Division, Friedberg, Germany. Died on June 16, 2003.

Pahnke has been posthumously promoted to Private First Class.

Please send information, photos, and corrections for Army Pfc. Shawn D. Pahnke.


Contributions to the Families of the Fallen


Leave a message in memory of this servicemember, and/or to the loved ones left behind.

Please report inappropriate messages

"Shawn, On the eve of Memorial Day, I wanted to let you know that I was thinking of you today. My family and I are in D.C. for the weekend. We went to the ceremony for the changing of the guard at The Tomb Of The Unknown Soldiers. I was holding it together until the playing of Taps. Every time I hear them, I think back to the day that we laid you to rest. I will never forget that day or the pride that I felt in having someone that I called a friend having the courage to offer his life so that I may continue to live mine as a free American. I miss you friend."
Vern of Tiverton, RI

"Brother it's been 13 years since you passed. I remember your voice and your joy when we had inspection and the drill instructors came to your locker. He asked "when is your son due?" And your face was priceless as you said "I didn't know it was a boy." A damn proud moment that I got to share with you. Bookman was your role ,and you did a fine job! And I'll never ever forget how to wax a floor or ride a floor buffer thanks to those late night fire watches. I hope you're resting well , just know you'll never be forgotten, and us boys from F co. 2/81 miss you."
PFC Justin Doyle of California

"Stopped at Lincoln National Cemetary today as Memorial Day is tomorrow and wanted to pay my respects and say a prayer of thanks to all who served. The first marker that I stopped by was yours. The photo and flowers on your grave caught my eye. I just finished reading a news article written about you and wanted to say I am sorry you paid the ultimate price for your country. Thank you for your service. Freedom is not free."
of Plainfield il

"Just wanted to say that although you may have left this earth, you are & forever will be in all of our hearts! Even though 5 of my children never met you in person, every single one of them knows who you are! We miss you very much & talk about you all the time."
Danny, Katie, Bridie, Hannah, Sean, Kyle, Ciara & Declan of Manhattan

"5/25/2013 - thinking of you BookMan, until we see each other again.
Much love to Dean & mom.

Instagram- jimmy Bucci"
Jimmy Bucci of Dover NJ

"Hey buddy. It has been ten years a not a day goes by where you do not find your way into my head. We miss you very much and thank you for keeping an eye on all of us down here."
Shaun of Manhattan, IL

"I miss you more than I ever thought I would have. It has been almost 10 years and I still think about you all of the time. I know you are in heaven and you are smiling down on Dean. I will never forget you. I will see you again one day."

"Sup Bunk Buddy- it's been a little over a decade, I thought about you then & I think about you now. I saw act of valor last night & all I thought of was you, I cried. Your child out here & you up in heaven- it's not the way it should be. You were a great guy, always talked about your family & how you had a son on the way. I remember those days like it was yesterday, your boy has gotta be so big now, to the PAHNKE FAMILY, dean & mom, I think about you guys alot, story so sad . You & Thrasher probly in heaven reminiscing of Fco 2/81 the best damn co. Under the sun, we lean, were mean, were best by far , we smoke all the rest like a cheap cigar, something like that.... 5th platoon Mad Dawgs CLICK CLICK BOOM make room!!! DS Harripersad, geda*down pushhhh jackass cause ya stupid, come on RAAGASSS PRIVATE JONESSS PUSH, CAUSE YA STUPID..... Love ya man, hope I brought you a smile, dean & mom, love you guys too...

Shawn's bunk buddy
5th Platoon Mad Dawgs
Fort Knox KY

Jimmy Bucci
Morris county NJ"
Jimmy Bucci of New Jersey

"Bridie misses you as if it were just yesterday that you were holding her.
I love how much she remembers!
A man of words, I am at a complete loss. All I can think of is "MY HERO"
We remember you every day.
P.S. the Cubs still suck!"
Danny of Manhattan, IL

"Happy 35th birthday Shawn. So wish you were here to celebrate with us. Miss you as much today as I did the day you were taken from us. Love you always."
Elisha and Dean of Shelbyville, IN

"PFC Pahnke, I will never forget the day that it happened. Your family is always in my prayers. I hope your son will know how much your life affected those who knew you."
CPT David Bond of Joint Base Lewis McChord

"Happy Birthday Shawn. Today you would have turned 33. Our little boy is getting so big. He asked me this morning if we could make a special dessert for you since it is your birthday. Not sure what we will be having but I am sure you would have liked it as much as Dean will. We love you and miss you!"
Elisha of Indiana

"It has been 7 years since you were taken from us. Our little boy is growing up so fast and reminds me so much of you. He is in his 2nd year of little league and is doing really well. I am sure he gets that from you. You are still missed and loved as much as the day you left us."
Elisha Pahnke of Indiana

"”Honor and Remember” - “Project Compassion” We love our Soldiers! We love our country and we cannot express enough love and compassion to the families of our fallen heroes. War does not discriminate – It breaks our hearts to see the faces of the fallen. We want to give this gift to the hero’s Mother, Father and/or spouse. We are a 501c3 nonprofit organization! Almost 2,000 portraits have been completed and shipped to the parents and or spouse - at no cost as this is a gift from one American to another!
This is a gift! We have some wonderful sponsors who help with the costs, and only want you know that we care.
Contact us directly at Projectcompassion@manti.com or go to www.heropaintings.com . If you have already had a portrait completed, we pray that you are enjoying the portrait and God Bless You.
Sincerely and Respectfully,
Project Compassion - Kenna of Manti, Utah USA

"Happy Birthday Shawn. You are still missed so much. Dean and I talk about you everyday and you will never be forgotten.

We love you"
Elisha and Dean of Indiana

"Shawn, I've been on this memorial site several times, and never know what to say. I admired your courage when you enlisted, and left your wife and soon to be born son in order to try to make a better life for them. We joked about serving with one another again down the road, with you possibly being on my tank crew. Sadly, that was never to be. I still have a good cry over you now and then, and I'll never forget you or your sacrifice. Rest easy, Shawn.

Elisha, Dean may one day feel compelled to follow in his father's footsteps. It's natural for a boy to try to measure up to his father. Just make sure he knows that he doesn't have to join the military, he just needs to do his best to take care of his family. Whatever he chooses, I'm sure Shawn would be proud."
SFC Robert Moebes of Fargo, ND

"Another year has passed and you are still missed just as much as when you were first taken from us. Dean will be in 1st grade this fall and is doing so well playing Little League Baseball. I know you would be so proud of our little boy!

We love and miss you so much."
Elisha of Indiana

"Shawn, I just wanted to say hello."


"Shawn, you were taken from us 5 years ago today. You are missed as much today if not more than you were five years ago. Our little boy is getting so big and looks and acts just like you.He will start kindergarten this fall. We talk about you every day and pray that you are watching down on us.

We Love you"
Elisha and Dean of Indiana

"PFC Pahnke, There is so to much I want to say as a Soldier who fought beside you. Pahnke Family, thank you so much for letting us serve with your son and relative. Also, thanks so much to the Military men and women who serve with us. We realize the sacrifice of PFC Pahnke is why we are here today. Thank you, we will always remember."
CSM Raymond Houston, Ready First of Washington, DC

"1st Platoon, Charlie Company, 1-37 Armor.
You were the first one lost...I will not forget you...ever."
SFC J. McCree (retired) of Fort Hood Texas

"Yesterday was Easter and the hero bracelet with your name on it I had been wearing for the last 3 years broke. I never took that thing off. I feel naked without it. I never knew you, but I feel like you have been with me everyday for the last 3 years. I will miss my hero bracelet, but I will never forget your name or legacy."
K of Kentucky

"February 2, 2008
To the family of Pfc. Shawn D. Pahnke:
Shawn gave the ultimate sacrifice and will be held in the hearts of Americans forever. I cannot and will not let our fallen heroes be forgotten. My deepest sympathy to you. "Some gave all."
Peggy Childers
"Don't Let The Memory Of Them Drift Away"
Peggy Childers of Carson City, NV

I would like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for our Country. And to your family and loved ones, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy.

"Courage Conquers"(37th AR Motto)"

"Every Thanksgiving I set a place for Shawn at my table. We may not have been the closest of friends, but we were from the same place. We grew up together, and ended up wearing the same colors. It is men like Shawn that I am thankful for."
Ryan J. Delaney of Columbus, Mississippi

"Shawn, Today is your 30th birthday. Dean and i will send your balloons to you this afternoon just as we have done for the past 4 years. know that we talk about you every day and miss you all the time. We will never forget you."
Love, Elisha of shelbyville, IN

"Elisha, I will never forget the phone call I received the morning you found out that Shawn had passed away. I can still remember it vividly and the reactions of my guys (especially SSG Moebes). I just want to say thank you for staying so strong. I have to admit that I was a little concerned that when we went to the funeral that there would be some controversy since we were his Army recruiters but you and your family treated us with all the respect in the world. Even though I have lost touch with you I still think of you and your family very often. Take care of yourself and if you ever need to talk please get in touch with me. You can email me at: shane.jefferies@usarec.army.mil"
SFC Shane M. Jefferies of Indianapolis, IN

"I never had the privlege to meet you, but this metal bracelet that I wear everyday reminds me of your sacrifice. Today is the anniversary of your acceptance to heaven, and your family will be on my mind and in my prayers all day. How can I say thanks to someone who did something I will never be able to undertand? To make the ultimate sacrifice for ordinary people like me and my family? People who remain mysteries, many don't even give your sacrifice and courage another thought. Where does courage like that come from? Do you just always have an unquenchable fire? I guess I'll never know these answers. I will just continue to pray that I can be graced with just a bit of these qualities."
K of Kentucky

"Memorial Day 2007

Thank you, family of Shawn. What a kind, thoughtful message and photo
button to leave with all our boys. Brothers in arms on earth and in heaven.
We thank you for your rememberance. We will never forget their valor.

The Gold Star family of
Lance Cpl Philip J Martini
1/1 Bravo Co KIA 4/08/06"

"Another Memorial Day passes as our family prays for you and yours, and thanks you for your bravery."
Derek Pahnke of Burr Ridge Illinois

Shawn, say hello to Raymond White from his Aunt.
Join me in boycotting Rosie O'Donnel!!!"
Legeta of Artesia,New MexicoUSA

Shawn you are not forgotten, You will be forever remembered not only as a Hero but a fine young man, Thanks for bringing your family to me."
Ellen Thomas of Proud GoldStar MOM

"I thought of Shawn today. I admit I hadn't in quite a while. Shawn is that guy that you think of every now and then and it aches your heart to realize he is gone. We had grown apart as he left to become a hero. Although we hadn't seen each other in a few years before his death, I still think of him every now and then and wonder how his wife and son are doing. My hope is that his wife is able to smile when thinking of what a great man he was. I hope his son will have some sense of who his dad was, and still is in our hearts. God bless Elisha and Dean!"

"Veteran's Day 2006
Thank You Shawn"

"Shawn, tomorrow would be your 29th birthday. For the past 3 years dean and i have sent you balloons to heaven for your birthday. we will do the same tomorrow. so when you see those red white and blue balloons floating up to you,know they are from us and that we love you and still miss you very much."
Elisha and your little boy dean of indiana

"My heart and prayers go out to the family and loved ones of this American Hero. Thank you Shawn for you ultimate sacrifice, you will not be forgotton.


Ralph Waldo Emerson"
Judy of Anderson, IN

"shawn, Memorial Day 2006 is here and I spent it with your mom and dad. You're being gone is still very painful for them as it is for me losing my son in the war. I make it a point to visit you every week when I see my son, who is near you. Please continue to look down on them. We won't forget you."
judy sutter of tinley park,Il

""Memorial Day" 2006
Ellen Thomas of Burbank, IL

"Hi Elisha,
You don't know me, but I received a hero bracelet with Shawn's name on it in Dec. of 04 and haven't taken it off. I am reminded everyday of the enourmous sacrifice Shawn (and yourself by sending your husband) made for our country. If you ever need someone to chat with my email is k.hudson@fuse.net. I keep you and your son in my prayers every night. Please take some comfort in knowing that he is a true hero and my family who has never met him, will think of him for the rest of our lives whenever we hear about this war or think about true sacrifice."
Kim of Newport, Kentucky

"A Father, A Son, A Soldier
A tribute to Shawn Pahnke, American Hero
From The Hunt Club

I wanted to be like my old man
He fought for freedom far away in Vietnam
I place my life on what I believe
Just like my Dad, I want my son to look up to me

I watched the fear of 9-11 on the tube
I knew right then and there just what I had to do
Enlisted, my Mom don't understand

A volunteer out on patrol
Iraqi sniper left a fatal bullet hole
An infant son I'll never see
Just like my Dad, I want my son to look up to me

In a dream, I saw a child from every race
Holding hands and playin'
A smile on every face
And I wonder if it could ever be
Just wanted to see those people living free

A father, a son, a soldier, a victim
A hero in my view
I love this land, I love my freedom
Thanks a lot man and may God bless you
A father, a son, a soldier, a victim
A hero thru and thru
I never met you man, but I swear to God
I will remember you
I will remember you

Elisha's tears fell well before she reached the door
Two sullen soldiers had arrived in uniform
In a dream she saw you kneeling deep in prayer
She tries to reach you, but you're never ever there

A father, a son, a soldier, a victim
A husband and a friend
A father, a son, a soldier, a victim
A much too early end
A father, a son, a soldier, a victim
A hero thru and thru
I never met you Shawn, but I swear to God
I will remember you
I will remember you"
The Hunt Club of Illinois

"To the family of:Shawn D. Pahnke I am so sorry for the loss of your love one. He died a hero defending freedom. May you have the peace and understanding that only comes from God. Prayerfully, we will meet in Heaven one day where we will rest in the arms of Jesus. If you need prayer or need someone to talk to, please call or write my pastor: Rev. John Pearrell, Gateway Community Church, 11677 Brown Bridge Rd., Covington, GA 30016. (770)787-1015. Your friend in Jesus Christ,"
Polly Ballew of Covington,Ga

"Shawn, today would have been our 3rd wedding anniversary. You were taken from me before we ever got to celebrate our first. You are always in my thoughts and will remain forever in my heart."
Elisha of shelbvyille,IN

"It has been 2 years now since you were taken from us and you are missed just as much now as you were then."
Elisha of Shelbyille,IN

"Thinking of you on this Memorial Day. It has been almost 2 years now since you were taken from us. you will never be forgotten. I see you everyday in our sons eyes and hear you in his laugh. You were always a hero in my eyes and now you are to rest of the world.
Rest in peace dear Hero. We love you and miss you more than words can say."
your loving wife, Elisha of shelbyville,IN

"Thinking of you on this Memorial Day. It has been almost 2 years now since you were taken from us. you will never be forgotten. I see you everyday in our sons eyes and hear you in his laugh. You were always a hero in my eyes and now you are to rest of the world.
Rest in peace dear Hero. Ww love you and miss you more than words can say."
your loving wife, Elisha of shelbyville,IN

"It hurts to think of you Shawn. Although Shawn's death hurt all of us, it also pushed us forward and focused our determination. Now that I'm out of harms way I can't stop thinking about how brave you truly were. I remember telling you to stay focused and to try to stop dwelling on your family...I'm so sorry. I look back at what I said and I realize that if I were in that situation, I may have given up. You pushed on and proved me wrong. My condolences to Elisha and Dean."
Spc. Shawn Cooke(driver on Shawn's tank) of Stafford,CT

"pahnke aka 5th platton book man never got to see his baby the worst way to go. he man be cool and save me a place in heaven. sorry you had to go so soon. foxtrot 2 81 was hell of a basic training site and 1 37 ar was just hell to go straight into iraq! i miss you brother!"
PFC Koehne, Darian of Friedberg,Germany

"Dearest Elisha,

I've wanted to send a message to you for a long time. Tonight was that time. My son, Pvt. Robert L. Frantz, was killed on the same date as Shawn. I think about you often, wondering how you're getting along. I feel that although June 17, 2003 was a crushing, heartbreaking day for us both, it also became a special date because our loved one's went to heaven that day. It may sound crazy to some, but it gets me through. Anyway, take care and God's blessings to you and your son always. My email address is OhItsKim@aol.com if you ever want to talk."
Kim Smith of San Antonio, Tx

"I read the story of Shawn Bahnke on the Net. Shawn was killed in Irak weeks after his son was born. The story broke my heart because, in large measure, it is also my story.
My father was killed in the Algerian war two months before I was born. I grew up in France with all the attendent issues of a young boy without a father - poverty, lack of mentoring, etc.
The lord has been generous to me and my family. I have three healthy sons who will not experience anything like my childhood.
I would like to do something for Shawn's son. I would appreciate some help in contacting his family and seek their permission and blessing.
Please call me (312 493 0688)or email me at pierred@theglobalpartners.com"
Pierre of River Forest, IL

"All give some, some give all. A saying all too true, My deepest sympathys to the survivors of this fine soldier, and brother in arms. I lost several close friends over there my self while serving in Iraq, In falluja. I hope you will take this as my deepest regrets, and will understand we all morn your loss,"
SGT. Larry Curl, U.S. Army of 1st. INF. DIV. Fort Riley KS.

"Late last night
in the middle of a dream
I saw an old friend of mine
who was trying to comfort me.
He said, "I may not be here,
but I'm never far away.
I'll be right here beside you,
and in your heart I'll stay."
I then said to him,
"Why did you have to leave?
You had so much to live for,
and so much to achieve."
He said, "I have many to look after
so, here's where I must be."
And with a look I understood
as this he explained to me.
"I can see all of you more clearly
from this, my lofty view.
This has become my duty now,
this is just what I must do."
I told him I was afraid now.
And as he turned to go.
He just turned his head, smiled & said
"You'll never walk alone.""
Danny, Bridie, & Sean of Manhattan, IL

"Hi, I met you in Marceilles in June, I'm Scott Tyrrell's mom. I am so proud of you for your strength through all of this. How lucky you are to have your son, Shawn will always be a part of him. I lost my son but cannot imagine losing my love and partner. You are special and I am grateful to have met you. Give my best to your parents too."
Sue Tyrrell of Forreston, Il

"We just love all of you, that's all...forever."
buc nelson of richmond, Va

"In Loving Memory..Its been a year..

At the rising of the sun and at its going down, We remember them.
At the blowing of the wind and in the chill of Winter, We remember them.
At the opening of buds and in the rebirth of Spring, We remember them.
At the blueness of the skies and in the warmth of Summer, We remember them.
At the rustling of leaves and the beauty of Autumn, We remember them.
At the beginning of the year and when it ends, We remember them.
As long as we live, they too will live;
for they are now a part of us, as we remember them.
Rest in Peace Dear Soldier!! We will NEVER FORGET!"
The Grogan Family of Lakeland, TN

"To the family of Shawn. I choose Shawn because my name is also Shawn. When I was reading I saw he died a day before my 12 birthday. I am sorry for your loss. He still is a hero.

7th grade student of Barker middle School"
of Barker, New York

"I would like to thank Shawn for serving in Iraq for our country. I am sorry he had to pay the ultimate price for our freedom."
7th Grade Student From barker Middle School of Barker, New York

Please KNOW so many people share your sadness, and we are remembering your family in your loss and your deep grief. Your HERO, Shawn, will be remembered by name. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. God Bless you. Pat & Sandi Breckenridge from Montana "

"Private Pahnke, goodbye soldier and thank you. You are my hero."
Bill of Houston, Texas

"we don't know each other but I also had a son killed in Iraq on Dec. 26, 2003. My heart and prayers go out to you and to let you know every Sunday when I visit my son,Mike, I also go to visit Shawn and say a prayer at his resting place. God bless, Judy Sutter"
judy sutter of tinley park,Il usa

"To Pvt. Pahnke's Family:
Though we are strangers, we want you to know how sorry we are your Shawn was taken from you. There is no doubt his thoughts were of you as he served with the Army in Iraq. We will never forget. You are in our hearts. (1/27/04)"
Carol & Larry Miller of Tampa, Florida

"Thank you Shawn Pahnke, you will not be forgotten. Your bravery goes beyond words. I want to express my deepest gratitude for your sacrifice. To the family and friends, my prayers and deep condolences in your loss. May God strengthen you from knowing that fellow Americans and people around the world care about you and grieve with you in your loss. God bless you all. A very appreciative fellow American,"
Leo Titus of Grayslake, Illinios

"To Shawn's family, especially his wife and son. I went to school with Shawn when we were young and we were great friends. I am deeply saddened by his death, but proud to know that he lived his life and ultimately gave it making a difference. Never let Dean forget what a great man Shawn was. My heart and my prayers goes out to you all."
Theresa (Trompeter) Phelps of St. Louis, MO

"Thank you your husband and our son are true americans ,we are a military family and we feel the pain of your loss too,they gave up their tomorrows for our todays and they will never be forgotten thank you and may god bless your family .We are thinking of you in our prayers we are the HARRISON FAMILY The family of Spec/e-4 Ron Allen who was killed in Iraq on the 25th of Aug. 2003"
Derek Harrison of MITCHELL IN. U.S.A.

"Sorry to hear about my cousin death in iraq. As i will be a army 2nd LT soon it hits home pretty hard. Sorry for the loss of a great man."
Eric R Pahnke of Dekalb IL

"To Shawn's family. Thank you for the note you posted under my brother's name: Pvt. Michael Deutsch. Our deepest sympathy goes out to you and your family at this time as well. Namaste."
Stephanie of Ankeny, Iowa

"To Shawn's family, I knew him from basic training and he was a great soldier. My sympathy and sorrow goes out to everyone he ever came in contact with and made friends with, anyone whoever had the oppurtunity to meet him met a hero. We will continue the fight for Shawn and every other soldier who has lost their life."
Pfc Mossman of Camp Casey, Korea

"Thank you for your sacrafice we are forever in your debt
To the family and friends of Pvt. Shawn Pahnke, my heart and prayers are with you. Shawn left this world the day we buried my brother, Pfc Jesse M. Halling, and it left me more saddened, but i know that Jess and Shawn are smiling down on us right now, and they can see how proud we all are of them.

Keep your head up and keep smiling, we will be with them again.

With love and Gratitude"
Gina of Indianapolis, IN

"Shawn was the best friend you could ask for. He would give you the shirt off of his back without thinking twice. Although I hadn't seen him in awhile, I will miss him, and I will never forget him.

To Shawn: May the road rise to meet you, may the wind be always at your back.
May the rain fall soft upon your field and the sun shine warm upon your face, and until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of his hand."

"Thank you to everyone who has left messages. we appreciate the prayers and thoughts of concern. it means a lot to Dean and I. Can't wait till he is old enough to understand all of this and truly appreciate it all."
Elisha Pahnke(Shawn's wife) of Shelbyville, IN

"I read about Shawn in the Chicago Tribune. I was deeply moved by this story. Shawn gave the ultimate sacrifice in that he left behind a son he never saw or held in his arms. He also left behind a young wife and a beautiful family that loves him very much. I'm a musician and I was so touched by this story that I wrote and recorded a song about and in memory of Shawn. I sent a copy to his parents and it was very well-received. We are now looking into selling the CD-single and potentially doing a benefit in memory of Shawn and to raise funds for his boy. Stay tuned, but in the meantime if your looking info, hit my band's website www.thehuntclub.net."
Tony Hunt of Naperville, IL

"We will always remember Shawn as a good friend. He will be missed by all who had the honor of knowing him."
Figlewski Family of Joliet, Illinois

"To the family and friends of Pvt. Shawn Pahnke:
May God's grace be with you during your time of grief. Please know that our thoughts and prayers are with you and we feel your loss and share in your sorrow. Bless Shawn for the sacrifice he has made to make a better life for the rest of us."
The Ford Family of Wells, Nevada

"To the family and friends of Pvt. Shawn Pahnke:
I am saddened by the loss of your loved one. He will always be remembered as a hero for fighting for freedom. I hope that this website will be a source of comfort and encouragement for you during this difficult time, and in the future as you recall the memories of Shawn, who continues to live on in your heart."
Tim Rivera of Powder Springs, Georgia

Honor them by remembering... Freedom - is their gift to us But his soul goes marching on