Shawn M Pine

San Antonio man is killed in Afghanistan blast


Army Reserve Lt. Col. Shawn M. Pine was a veteran
intelligence officer by trade, but soldiers and family knew him as
a crusader for the underdog.

A Ranger, Pine, 51, of San Antonio was killed Wednesday when
his SUV hit a roadside bomb near Kabul, Afghanistan. He was a
consultant for MPRI, an Old Town Alexandria, Va., security firm.
Services are pending.

Pine once got a group of soldiers to pitch in to pay for a
funeral. There was the time he made sure a foreign national got
life-saving surgery. And, one day long ago on the streets of
San Antonio, Pine helped a homeless man and his family.

“I remember when I was in kindergarten, we were driving
somewhere in San Antonio and there was this guy with two kids
on the street and a sign asking for donations, and so we just
went into the grocery store,” recalled Pine’s daughter, Rachel
Pyeatt, 21. “I asked him why we didn’t give him the money like
(the homeless man) asked, and he said that way we would
make sure the kids got fed.”

Described by a retired NCO as a beloved officer, Pine is the
first Alamo City resident killed in action this year and the 46th
from the San Antonio area to die in Iraq and Afghanistan since

Air Force 1st Lt. Roslyn L. Schulte, 25, of St. Louis, Mo., also
died in the blast, becoming the 56th American service member
killed in action there in 2009, and the 686th of the war.

A career soldier with nine years on active duty in the Army, Pine’
s military career included a three-year stint with the Golani
Brigade of the Israeli Defense Forces.

He was a Hebrew linguist who spent much of the past decade in
the Middle East as a soldier or civilian intelligence specialist,
and was part of the search for weapons of mass destruction
after the fall of Iraq.

“He said a lot of times they just found the floor covered with
ashes because they burned everything,” said his wife, Lynne
Pine, 47, of San Antonio.

The Pines came to San Antonio when Rachel began
kindergarten and then left the same year, but returned as their
daughter began the fourth grade at Scobee Elementary.

He served in a counterintelligence detachment at Fort Sam
Houston and commanded the Army Reserve’s Austin-based
300th Military Intelligence Company from 1999 to 2002.

The unit now is defunct.

“He was the best commander I’ve ever served with, and I mean
served with — not served for. He always put the soldier first,
always,” said retired Army 1st Sgt. Rex Pierce, 45, of Boerne.
“He had a rare quality of taking care of soldiers to the point
where they wanted to serve.”

That was true if a soldier had financial trouble. Pierce said Pine
would first go through Army channels, but if that didn’t work he
would quietly make loans to his own troops — not expecting to
get the money back.

That was typical of Pine, who has a son, Guy, 15.

“One of his close friends over there e-mailed me and told me
he saw him empty his wallet countless times,” said his daughter,
Talya Pine, a 17-year-old high school junior in Pflugerville,
north of Austin.

In what may have been his last act of charity, Pine asked his
daughter Rachel, a former GI living in Fort Riley, Kan., to send
a “care package” of baby clothes to Afghanistan. The clothes
were for an interpreter who was going to be a dad.

“He was killed before (the package) got there,” she said, “but
the casualty assistance officers made sure that it got to my dad’
s interpreter to ensure the baby still had clothes.”
Shawn M Pine  
May 23, 2009