TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY

Homepage

July 16, 2014

Staff Sgt. Dirk Shelton: 1985-2014

Air Force member from Corbin dies

CORBIN — Staff Sergeant Dirk Shelton, a Corbin boy who dreamed big, aimed high, and served his nation with honor while working in some of the most dangerous assignments in the world, died Monday in Washington, D.C.

Shelton — who was on a training mission in Fairfax, Virginia, over the weekend —  was declared legally dead after suffering a traumatic brain injury Sunday.

He was 29.

Corbin City Commissioner Joe Shelton was Sgt. Shelton’s uncle. He said Tuesday the hero his nephew was to this nation continues with his passing.

“Dirk was an organ donor, and is presently going through the organ donor process. Because of that, he’s saving eight lives. He lived life to the fullest, and wanted others to have the gift of life,” Joe Shelton said.

Sgt. Shelton served with the United States Air Force for nine years. He was deployed six times — four to Afghanistan, and one each in Somalia and Kuwait.

He completed three combat tours in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. In addition, Sgt. Shelton had been on multiple overseas missions.

On his last deployment in Afghanistan, he was awarded the Bronze Star. His other awards included the Joint Service Achievement Medal (2nd OLC), and the Air Force Achievement Medal.

Joe Shelton said news of his nephew’s passing devastated all those who knew, loved, admired and respected him.

“It’s a difficult time for our family. My nephew was a wonderful soul. His commander said Dirk was part of a highly elite service group of personnel, and that he was literally all over the world,” he noted.

Dirk Thomas Shelton was born in Corbin on June 10, 1985.

He was a Radio Frequency Transmission Journeyman assigned to the Joint Communications Unit in Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

SSgt. Shelton enlisted in the Air Force on November 21, 2005, graduating from Basic Military Training at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas on December 2 of that year.

He proceeded to technical training at Keesler Air Force Base in Mississippi as a Radio Frequency Transmission Apprentice. After he completed his training, Sgt. Shelton was assigned to Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, where he worked at the 89th Communications Squadron as a Centralized Network Control Station Radio Operator, responsible for transmitting emergency action messages, aircraft advisories, and air-to-ground high frequency telephone patches from September 2006 to June 2009.

He assessed and was selected for assignment to the Joint Communications Unit, where he spent six months as a Special Operations Radio Course Student (SOROC). Sgt. Shelton was a graduate of SOROC, the Airman Leadership School, and the Army Basic Airborne Course.

At the time of his passing, he was with the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), a sub-unified command of the U. S. Special Operations Command, or USSOCOM.

According to the Command’s website, they’re “charged to study special operations requirements and techniques, ensure interoperability and equipment standardization, plan and conduct special operations exercises and training, and develop joint special operations tactics.”

Made up of soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and civilians who have been rigorously screened, the website stated the men and women of JSOC “possess unique and specialized skills, and are routinely among the best in their field.”

Dirk Shelton was one of them.

One of his high school teachers always knew Dirk — a 2004 graduate of Corbin High — was made of the right stuff.

“I taught Dirk in class. He had a bright, very analytical mind. He could always answer your high-level questions, and he’d come back with questions for me that would lead to some great classroom conversations,” said John Crawford, now Corbin High School’s principal.

In an interview Tuesday, Crawford noted Dirk always dreamed of having a military career.

“He was the type of person who believed in God, his country and his family, and he personified that in the military. My understanding is that Dirk’s commander and his unit are with the Shelton family now in Washington, D. C. His commander continues to praise Dirk’s dedication and service, saying Dirk’s a very heroic and brave guy who had been in some difficult, dangerous situations. His commander added that Dirk was ‘The elite of the elite,’” he pointed out.

Crawford mentioned a conversation he had with a classmate of Dirk Shelton’s recently. He said the classmate and Dirk were planning on attending their 10-year Corbin High class reunion next month.

“He was just a fine representative of Corbin, and all our town should really be proud of him. It’s a real sad day for us. Dirk will truly be missed,” he said.

Said Joe Shelton of his nephew, “He’s had a tremendous outpouring of support from the Corbin community. We’ve literally been inundated with text messages, emails, phone calls and personal condolences from friends, and that doesn’t go unnoticed. We really understand our community’s a great place to live, and that’s how you end up with children like Dirk.”

Along with his uncle, SSgt. Dirk Shelton is survived by his wife, Maria, who is also in the Air Force and is stationed at Fort Bragg. Friends said the two met each other while in the military.

His father Tom, mother Jenny, and sister Morgan, also survive. All three live in Corbin.

Funeral arrangements are incomplete at this time.

1
Text Only
Homepage
Local News
Local Sports
0724 HANNAH HART THROW FOR WEB.jpg

Corbin's Hannah Hart recently participated in the Kentucky/Tennessee All-Star Series as a member of the Kentucky All-Stars. Hart's father, now the former head coach of the Corbin Lady Redhounds, coached the Kentucky team. He helped guide Kentucky to a 2-1 series win.

  • Out With A Bang

    Corbin’s Chris and Hannah Hart ended their Redhound softball careers together, but the duo went out with a bang, each representing Corbin on the Kentucky All Star squad in a three-game series against the Tennessee All Stars.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0724 KY EXPRESS TEAM for web.jpg Express finishes fourth in USSSA World Series

    The Kentucky Express participated in the USSSA World Seriers against teams from Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia and New York.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

Editorials
Features
0708 Kelsey White Miss Ky.jpg

Kelsey White

  • Local woman vyes for Miss Kentucky crown

    A Williamsburg woman is among the 32 contestants representing local scholarship pageants from across the state who will vye for the title of Miss Kentucky 2014. 

    July 8, 2014 1 Photo

Letters
Entertainment
  • July’s jumpin’ in Downtown Corbin

    After Thursday’s fun, festivities and fireworks during the Independence Day Block Party, how do you top the month best known as the sizzling center of summer?

    July 7, 2014

Front page
Featured Ads
AP Video
Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Cumberbatch Brings 'Penguins' to Comic-Con Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites Anti-violence Advocate Killed, but Not Silenced. Dempsey: Putin May Light Fire and Lose Control Arizona Prison Chief: Execution Wasn't Botched Calif. Police Investigate Peacock Shooting Death Raw: Protesters, Soldiers Clash in West Bank Police: Doctor Who Shot Gunman 'Saved Lives' 'Modern Family' Star on Gay Athletes Coming Out MN Twins Debut Beer Vending Machine DA: Pa. Doctor Fired Back at Hospital Gunman
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Facebook