Died November 16, 2007
Operation Enduring Freedom
Assigned to 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, 3rd IBCT
Army SSG Shaun Paul Raymond died November 16, 2007, as a result of a non-combat related gunshot wound.
Shaun was raised in Riverside, California. He went through life passionate about everything and touched everyone he met. Charismatic and larger than life, he never knew a stranger. He had a love for children and family, bringing a smile wherever he went. When Shaun was only 9 years old, he stood on a corner holding a hand-made sign that said, ‘Bring our troops home safely’. That was 1991, Desert Storm. When Shaun later graduated from Riverside Christian School, he told his friends, “My mom wants me to be a pastor, but I wanted to be a sniper.” He enlisted in the Army at 17 years old, shortly after 9/11. He served four tours in Iraq.
The ‘tough guy’ earned a Bronze Star and an Army Commendation Medal with Valor. When he came home from his first tour, he climbed into his momma’s lap. “He would bawl,” Shaun’s mother, Vikki Raymond, said. “He had to take somebody’s life. This was devastating to him. It changes you.” His parents believe Shaun’s personal kills exceed 100. He came home in October 2007. Three weeks later, he was showing a friend a new handgun. He didn’t think it was loaded when he pointed the barrel at his head and pulled the trigger.
In regards to a controversial photo of her son displayed on a memorial banner in their hometown, Vikki Raymond replied, “Every tattoo he had was for a purpose. One for his mom, another for his sister, his brother, a soldier who died under his command… How do you summarize your child in a photo? He’s not defined by the American flag, a tattoo, or a uniform. I think they see a kid who’s still himself, who wasn’t owned by the military, who was fun-loving and lived on the edge. Yes, take a look. You may hate tattoos. You may abhor our wars and like your soldiers neat and clean. Look at the banner anyway. You’ll see a young man named Shaun Paul Raymond.”
SSG Shaun Raymond was 24 years old from Riverside, California
Original portrait was presented February 21, 2014, to Shaun’s parents during a private presentation at their home in Riverside, California