Marvin G Shields was born in Washington on 30th December 1939. He lived in Port Townsend until he graduated from Port Townsend High School in 1958 then he moved to Hyder, Alaska to work in a mining company. He, later on, decided to enroll to Navy in January 1962 to be a Navy Seabee and was assigned to Naval Air Station at Georgia for training which he completed in May 1963. After training in construction at the Naval Construction Training Center in California and being assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 11 (NMCB-11), he moved to Okinawa where he was deployed (Rochon para.3). Throughout his career Shields showcased and followed the core values of the Navy. However, it was in 1965 that Shields passion to adhering the Navy values was showcased when he together with the MCB 11 team were deployed to Vietnam, Ddng Xoai village on the outcast of Saigon to construct and mend the military H.Q. compound (Rochon para.4).
The primary values of the Navy are honor, courage, and commitment. These values were seen in Shields following the Vietnam Cong insurgents' breach of the camp barricades that left the Americans and their associates surrounded in 1965. Following the attack majority of the American army men were wounded severely including Shields. However, Shields did not retreat but decided to show honor to fellow army men by supplying them with ammunition during the three-hour battle with the Vietnamese insurgents (Rochon para.5). Shields also returned enemy fire during the fight even though a majority of the MCB 11 battalion had no battlefield training or experience. After being wounded for the second time, Shields continued supporting the other troops by carrying those critically injured to safety when the American contingent was falling back to regroup (Dagendesh para.2).
Furthermore, the navy value of commitment was seen in the determination that Shields had to defend the American troops. The primary duty of the MCB 11 was to build and repair the main headquarter compound in Vietnam. However, after being attacked by the insurgents, Shields went beyond the call of his duty and began helping in the fight (Rochon para.5). The camp in which the MCB 11 were working on came under rapid fire, and Shields sustained shrapnel wound on the first attack (Dagendesh para.5). However, instead of retreating to safety because he had no experience in battlefield Shield decide to help in resupplying the troops with ammunition which was not part of his duty. The commitment drove this act by Shield that he had in the Navy.
Courage is an important aspect and value of the fleet which Marvin Glenn Shields was able to showcase during the war. Although he had been wounded twice during the battle, Shields was still willing to risk his life to save the camp. Shields act of courage was when he volunteered to accompany commander of the base in an endeavor to blow out a Vietnam emplacement which had a machine gun that had been a constant danger to the entire camp because of its firing accuracy (Rochon para.6). They were successful in abolishing the emplacement hence preventing the death of numerous members of the armed forces who were holed up in the base headquarter. He was later injured by enemy fire while retreating to the position allocated to him for defense and died during the evacuation on June 10 (Dagendesh para.3).
Following his action in the war, a Medal of Honor was bestowed to Shield a 3rd Class Construction Mechanic becoming the first Seabee to receive what is considered the nation highest award. Additionally, he was the first Navy man to be decorated for action in Vietnam, and in his honor, the Navy named one of their warships after him (USS Marvin Shields).
Dagendesh, Scott. Seabee Medal of Honor Recipient Remembered on Veterans Day. America Navy, 13 Nov. 2010, < http://www.navy.mil/submit/display.asp?story_id=57163>. Accessed 14 June 2017.
Rochon, Don. Seabee Medal of Honor Recipient Remembered at 50th Anniversary. America Navy, 6 Nov. 2015, < http://www.navy.mil/submit/display.asp?story_id=87612>. Accessed 14 June 2017.
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