Top Character Strengths



Corporal Stephen Shannon died on January 31st 2007. He was a man of many incredible character traits, but he is most remembered for his Love of Learning, Bravery and Leadership in the Army and in his everyday life.

Stephen was gifted with the ability to master many skills, often without any formal training or education. For example, he became a subject expert in the vehicles used by Combat Engineers to detect IED’s- from operating them to repairing them. He was a talented clarinet player and taught himself to play the saxophone. He learned and eventually enjoyed learning combat spite of being afraid of needles. This skill would served him well in Iraq.

Stephen always seemed to be at the center of things. He had innate leadership abilities. People seemed to naturally look to him for leadership, even when he wasn’t the best at something or the highest ranking person. He had a knack for using humor at the right time to de-escalate tension. He could be stubborn, but would eventually be willing to see the points of view of others.

Stephen’s unit had just arrived in Iraq and were still in training and briefing sessions in preparation for their mission. One day, there were explosions in the compound. Insurgents had fired mortars, and a truck carrying Iraqi soldiers was hit. Stephen led the men in his unit to the scene and rendered aid to the wounded. They saved many lives before they officially started their mission. Stephen was awarded the Bronze Star for his actions that day.

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