By Sarah GauvinMay 31, 2018
FORT LEE, Va. - Photos of nearly 800 fallen warriors will line the five- and one-mile routes of the installation's Run for the Fallen observance Saturday at Williams Stadium.
The images are a reminder that the Soldiers who die in service to this nation are not simply statistics, they are people who lived and loved. Capt. Shane Timothy Adcock is among them.
By all accounts, he was an all-American hero. He loved God, family, country and all things outdoors. He was a husband, son, brother, uncle, fraternity brother, Soldier, ROTC cadet and Eagle Scout.
"Shane wanted to be in the military from an early age," his mother Vera Adcock recalled. "That was partly influenced by where he grew up and the fact his grandfather served 30 years in the U.S. Navy. Shane loved playing "army" and convinced his sister, Shannon, and other friends to participate in his missions."
Reared in Virginia Beach, an area rich with Navy and Air Force flight squadrons, Shane loved identifying the military aircraft he saw overhead, said Vera.
In 1992, the Adcocks moved to Mechanicsville where Shane became active in the church youth program, soccer, wrestling and working as a volunteer firefighter.
In January 2001, Shane joined the Virginia National Guard and attended basic training at Ft. Sill, Okla. Even though he was destined for ROTC at Longwood University and an officer's commission, Vera said he wanted to understand what an enlisted Soldier went through so he could be a better leader.
At Longwood, Shane was in the Phi Kappa Tau fraternity. According to his mom, he encouraged young fraternity brothers to hold their heads proudly and be confident in what they were doing. "His grandfather told him to always 'keep your head up and your chin down,'" she said.
The message resounded with fraternity brothers, Todd Tinsley and Dan Gauvin.
"Shane believed in me before I did," said Tinsley, now the band director at Hungary Creek Middle School in Glen Allen. "He knew I was hard on myself, and I took the blame for too much. Shane always quoted a line from the movie 'Swingers' to me: 'You're so money and you don't even know it.'"
"Shane taught me a lot about speaking up, being confident and well-rounded," said Gauvin, an administrative support specialist at Fort Lee Family and MWR. "He took a shy, insecure person and turned him into someone who is confident and outgoing. Shane brought the best out of everyone he met."
"He had a special gift of making everyone feel important and of making you smile even when you didn't feel like it," said Vera.
Shane Adcock graduated from Longwood University in 2003.
"His grandfather was able to administer the Oath of Office to Shane on his papa's 80th birthday," the officer's mother proudly recalled.
Soon after, Shane was assigned to Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, as part of the 25th Infantry Division. He served in two combat missions with the 25th ID. He spent 14 months in Afghanistan on his first deployment and returned to Hawaii where he enjoyed a year of sun, swimming and surfing, Vera said.
"One of my favorite memories is the homecoming party after his first deployment," said Gauvin. "He told us all about his experiences while deployed. That was when I realized he was a true American hero."
Just before departing for a second deployment to Iraq in July 2006, Adcock married and was promoted to captain.
"Shane always said he had a really bad feeling about his last deployment," said Tinsley, "but he didn't take anything for granted, and he told me he had no regrets and was ready if it was his time."
Shane - born on May 24, 1979, to parents Vera and Maris Adcock - died at age 27 on Oct. 11, 2006, in Hawijah, Iraq, after his Humvee was hit by an armor-piercing grenade.
Tinsley was at home when his fraternity brother called him early in the morning. "I knew it had to be important because he was calling at 6:15 a.m.," he recalled. "I was in complete disbelief because, in my eyes, Shane was invincible."
"It was a shot to the gut," said Gauvin, who also considered his close friend to be indestructible.
Shane's sister went into labor with twins shortly before his final mission. The family wasn't sure if he had received the news before he died.
"When the Adcocks received Shane's personal belongings and turned on his laptop, they were comforted to see the desktop photo was of his newborn twin nephews," Tinsley recalled. "We all felt better knowing he was able to virtually meet them while he was alive."
The Adcocks said they heard from many Soldiers who served with Shane and described his propensity for sharing moments of faith and praying with them before each mission.
"He touched the lives of many with whom he came into contact," said Vera.
That resonates with his fraternity brothers.
"Although I only knew Shane for six years, he had a huge impact on my life and still does to this day," Gauvin said.
"Shane was the little brother I never had," said Tinsley. "He was like 'Chicken Soup for the Soul' - the person we all wanted to be."
Tinsley remembered a time when he first started teaching and his band was selected to march in the inauguration parade for Virginia Governor Mark Warner.
"As we marched close to the viewing stand where the governor was, there was Shane in uniform guarding him. Even though I didn't expect to see him that day, it made sense that they picked Shane to protect him. That's who I'd want watching my back."
Fort Lee's Survivor Outreach Service office supports over 600 families of fallen troops. More than 100 of them will attend this year's Run for the Fallen observance. For the survivors, the event not only memorializes their fallen loved ones, it also demonstrates they are still a beloved part of the military family. This Saturday, Fort Lee Soldiers, community members and other survivors will run for Capt. Shane Adcock and thousands of other fallen heroes.
To join them, pre-register at https://lee.armymwr.com/programs/runforthefallen or by phone at (804) 734-6445 or 734-6446. Unregistered runners also may come to Williams Stadium at 8:30 a.m. May 12 to participate. Run for the Fallen is free and open to the public.