Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command (NAVFAC) Northwest Commanding Officer Capt. Edward Miller, left, and Lt. Emily Wolff laid flowers on the grave of Construction Mechanic Third Class Petty Officer Marvin G. Shields during a Veterans Day ceremony conducted Wednesday morning at the Gardiner Cemetery. Shields is the only Navy Seabee to have received the Medal of Honor. (Zach Jablonski/Peninsula Daily News)

Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command (NAVFAC) Northwest Commanding Officer Capt. Edward Miller, left, and Lt. Emily Wolff laid flowers on the grave of Construction Mechanic Third Class Petty Officer Marvin G. Shields during a Veterans Day ceremony conducted Wednesday morning at the Gardiner Cemetery. Shields is the only Navy Seabee to have received the Medal of Honor. (Zach Jablonski/Peninsula Daily News)

Medal of Honor recipient honored with ceremony

Navy commemoration held in Gardiner

GARDINER — Flowers and a wreath were laid upon the grave of Navy Petty Officer Marvin G. Shields in Gardiner Cemetery in a ceremony that was an abbreviated version of the annual event due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Shields, a construction mechanic third class, is the only Navy Seabee to have received the Medal of Honor.

He was posthumously given the award by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1966 for his actions near Dong Xoai, Vietnam, on June 9, 1965. He was killed after carrying a wounded soldier to safety and helping to knock out a machine gun emplacement. He was 25.

About 40 military and community members attended the Veterans Day ceremony honoring Shields, a native of the Port Townsend and Sequim areas.

Federal COVID-19 prevention protocols limited the gathering to fewer than 50 for military personnel.

Before the pandemic, the annual ceremony typically would have drawn more than 100 people.

Shields’ widow, Joan Shields Bennett, appreciated the work the Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command (NAVFAC) Northwest members put into the condensed ceremony, including the extra effort to have it a day early this year to comply with the capacity restrictions.

“I’m so pleased they worked it around to be a day early,” she said. “For them to take that effort would be really appreciated by Marvin.”

In the condensed ceremony, a wreath and flowers were placed on Shields’ grave as an account of his actions in Vietnam was given, followed by a reading of “The Watch” and the playing of the bugle call taps.

Shields Bennett will gather with retired Seabees today in honor of Shields and Veterans Day.

“Seabees are truly a family for me,” she said.

Late at night on June 9, 1965, Shields’ camp was awakened by an attack of more than 2,000 Viet Cong. The firefight lasted through the night and for most of the next day. Shields helped run ammunition to U.S. military members engaged in the fight, ensuring they didn’t run out.

Even though he had been wounded, he volunteered to work with Special Forces 2nd Lt. Charles Williams to destroy a Viet Cong machine gun nest that endangered everyone in the Army Special Forces compound.

Shields was shot in both legs and Williams also was wounded in a retaliatory attack. Shields was air-evacuated after the battle, having suffered a third wound, but he died during transfer.

Williams also received the Medal of Honor.

The ceremony at the Gardiner Cemetery honored the sacrifice that Shields made and also those that other veterans have made or are currently making in the line of duty, participants said.

________

Jefferson County reporter Zach Jablonski can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 5, or at [email protected]

Flowers and a wreath are placed on the grave of Construction Mechanic Third Class Petty Officer Marvin G. Shields during a Veterans Day ceremony conducted Wednesday morning at the Gardiner Cemetery. (Zach Jablonski/Peninsula Daily News)

Flowers and a wreath are placed on the grave of Construction Mechanic Third Class Petty Officer Marvin G. Shields during a Veterans Day ceremony conducted Wednesday morning at the Gardiner Cemetery. (Zach Jablonski/Peninsula Daily News)

More in News

Clallam County removes ‘relic’ ordinance

Clallam County commissioners removed a 46-year-old ordinance regarding licensing… Continue reading

Clallam COVID cases trending downward as expected

Clallam County’s rate of new COVID-19 cases continues trending… Continue reading

Grant applications accepted for small businesses, nonprofits

Applications for the Working Washington Grants: Round 5 and new… Continue reading

Derek Kilmer helps Port Angeles Food Bank Executive Director Emily Dexter fill up the shelves with some crackers inside “The Market”. (Dave Logan/for Peninsula Daily News)
Port Angeles Food Bank services well-used

Expanded facility aims to revert to grocery store model soon

U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer, second from left, tours Olympic Medical Center on Monday, hearing from hospital leadership CEO Darryl Wolfe, left of Kilmer; and, to the right, Human Resources Manager Jennifer Burkhardt and Communications Manager Bobby Beeman. (Ken Park/Peninsula Daily News)
Site-neutral ruling topic of discussion during tour

Olympic Medical Center reimbursements at issue

Julie Jaman, the 80-year-old woman at the center of a controversy around transgender access to bathrooms, speaks at a protest across from Port Townsend City Hall on Monday. Jaman was banned from the local pool after she confronted a transgender woman in the locker room, and the event has gained national attention. Jaman and her supporters were surrounded by protestors Monday evening who shouted and made noise while they tried to speak, and scuffles broke out between the two groups. (Peter Segall / Peninsula Daily News)
Transgender proclamation draws hundreds to meeting

Protesters clash outside Port Townsend City Hall

Observable sheen from oil spill shrinks

No effect seen on wildlife, Coast Guard says

A giant Pacific octopus swims in its tank at Feiro Marine Science Center at Port Angeles City Pier while fans of the creature cast ballots for a name in an online poll, which ended Thursday afternoon. Octomatic was the people’s choice with 54.1 percent of 1,123 votes cast, winning out over Olive with 39 percent, Cranberry with 3.9 percent, Toby with 2 percent and Bobbie with 0.9 percent. The octopus, which was captured in Agate Bay north of Joyce, will reside at Feiro until it reaches maturity, and then it will be released in the area of where it was found. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Octopus named

A giant Pacific octopus swims in its tank at Feiro Marine Science… Continue reading

Monkeypox vaccine coming to Clallam County

COVID-19 case rates trending downward

Most Read