Patrick Joseph O'Shaughnessy
May 10, 1947 - June 29, 1969

Killed in Vietnam





By Linda Cunningham Fluharty, © 2014.

Wheeling Island resident, Patrick Joseph O'Shaughnessy, was killed in Vietnam when he was only twenty-two, just a few weeks before he was scheduled to return home. Although he's been gone for forty-five years, he is still vividly remembered by this writer - now an old lady - as well as his family and friends. For all who knew him, Pat will always be the handsome, strong, life-loving, young man of 22.

The oldest of John J. and Virginia (James) O'Shaughnessy's five children, Pat was a devoted son, and a loving and protective brother to Mike, Kitty, Sally and Tim. He was a faithful Roman Catholic, and he once said he was proud to be "Irish, Catholic and Democrat."

Pat graduated from Wheeling Central Catholic High School in 1965, where he had been an outstanding athlete. He played basketball in grades 9 and 10, ran track in 9th grade, played baseball in 10th grade, and wrestled in 11th and 12th grades. He played football all through high school, and was a Tri-Captain of the team in his senior year, along with Mike Smith and Brad Littlehales.

Since he was a very good football player, Pat received a football scholarship to Youngstown State University, which he attended for a year. During the summer of 1966, he took a college course in Wheeling, attempting to meet the academic requirements to continue at Youngstown State. But he really didn't want to return to college there, and he enrolled at West Liberty.

Although he did hope to graduate college eventually, Pat spoke often about joining the army, and his choice was to be an army paratrooper. He used to say, jokingly, "The jump light is on!"

Pat joined the U. S. Army in 1967 and went to Cam Rahm Bay, Vietnam in 1968. He was a Specialist E5 Parachute Rigger, in the 109th Quartermaster Company, First Logistical Command.

Letters from Pat, written April through July 1969, indicated he was looking forward to returning home in August 1969.

On June 29, 1969, at Khanh Hoa, Republic of Vietnam, Pat lost his life by an act of "Intentional Homicide." He died while saving the life of a comrade. His remains were returned to Wheeling and he was interred at Mt. Calvary Cemetery.


The family of Patrick Joseph O'Shaughnessy was later presented with the Bronze Star for Pat's "meritorious achievement in ground operations against a hostile force in Vietnam." The award reads as follows:

"Through his untiring efforts and professional ability he consistently obtained outstanding results. He was quick to grasp implications of new problems with which he was placed as a result of the ever changing situations inherent in a counter insurgency operation and to find ways and means to solve those problems.

"The energetic application of his extensive knowledge has materially contributed to the efforts of the United States' mission to the Reublic of Vietnam to assist that country in ridding itself of the communist threat to its freedom.

"His initiative, zeal, sound judgement and devotion to duty have been in the highest tradition of the United States Army and reflects great credit on himself, his unit and the military service."

Pat was also awarded the National Defense Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal with one bronze star, the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, the Parachutist Badge, Airborne Wings and the Rifle Expert Badge.

Pat was a very physical and rugged young man, yet he had a very gentle and kind nature. In the Wheeling area community, he was known as a "good guy," and his death was a tremendous loss to all who knew him. He left an abundance of close friends, as well as his beloved family. - May Patrick Joseph O'Shaughnessy rest in peace.