SALEM — It’s been a decade since Shawn Hogan graduated from Salem High School, but those who knew him said they will never forget the bright young man who stood out from the crowd.
Hogan, a 2002 Salem High graduate and valedictorian of his class at Virginia Military Institute, was killed Wednesday during a training exercise in Golden Pond, Ky., while stationed with the 5th Special Forces Group at nearby Fort Campbell. The U.S. military did not announce his death until yesterday afternoon.
Hogan was riding an all-terrain vehicle up a steep hill when it flipped over on top of him at the Land between the Lakes National National Recreational Area. His comrades carried him out of the isolated area and rushed him to a waiting ambulance, but he died of multiple injuries shortly later, Trigg County coroner John Mark Vinson said.
The 28-year-old Army captain was fondly remembered yesterday at Salem High as a sharp-minded, independent student who clearly stood out from the rest.
He is the fifth recent Salem High graduate to die while serving his country. The others include three members of the Class of 2003 — Marine Lance Cpl. Robert Moscillo, Marine Cpl. Nicholas Arvantis and Army Pfc. Michael Cook — and Sgt. Edmond Lo of the Class of 2004.
“He had such potential,” Superintendent of Schools Michael Delahanty said of Hogan.
Delahanty, the school’s principal at the time, said Hogan was a strong student who would have excelled in any career he chose. He was also the type of person who bridged gaps between social groups, Delahanty said.
Hogan was a perfect role model, and there wasn’t anyone he didn’t like or wouldn’t help, Delahanty said.
“He just had a wide circle of friends,” he said. “He would help anyone and do anything for any reason.”