October 21. 2012 9:02PM

Salem soldier killed in ATV training accident in Kentucky

New Hampshire Union Leader

A Salem Special Forces soldier stationed at Fort Campbell, Ky., who a professor said had “unlimited potential” during his school days, was killed in a training accident.

Capt. Shawn Hogan, 28, a 2002 Salem High School graduate, died in an ATV rollover last Wednesday at the Turkey Bay Off Highway Vehicle Area in the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area, according to a news release from Trigg County, Ky., Coroner John Mark Vinson's office. Hogan was stationed at Fort Campbell as part of the 5th Special Forces Group.

According to the release, Hogan was riding an ATV at Turkey Bay when it overturned while heading up a hill. He was pronounced dead at Trigg County Hospital.

Hogan is the son of Richard and Jean Hogan of Salem.

The valedictorian of Virginia Military Institute's Class of 2006, Hogan shared the stage with Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld during VMI's graduation ceremony.

The mechanical engineering major graduated with a minor in writing. He was also a member of the cross country and indoor and outdoor track teams since his first year at VMI, and was elected captain of the cross country team his last two years at the school.

According to a 2006 VMI news release, Col. Timothy M. Hodges, professor and head of the mechanical engineering department, said: “Cadet Hogan is one of the best cadets in the department, and he has such a well-rounded background. Shawn was a Rhodes and Marshall scholar candidate, he placed 7th out of 3,600 in an Army ROTC competition, and he won the award for the best thesis in science and engineering. He has unlimited potential and can do just about anything.”

Upon graduation, Hogan was stationed at Fort Drum, N.Y. In 2009, he was one of two combat engineers named tops in a competition featuring 68 of the Army's top engineers. The 2009 Best Sapper Competition was categorized as an “intense 52-hour, six-phase contest.”

Then-1st Lt. Shawn Hogan and Master Sgt. Michael Behkendorf beat out 33 other two-person teams to take top honors, after placing second in the contest the previous year.

In addition to bragging rights, they received the Army Commendation Medal, the Bronze Order of the de Fleury Medal and a trophy.

A representative from Douglas and Johnson Funeral Home in Salem said visitation hours for Hogan are planned for Wednesday from 6 to 8 p.m. at the funeral home, 214 Main St. The funeral is scheduled for Thursday at 11:30 a.m. at the Mary Queen of Peace Church, 200 Lawrence Road, Salem.