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My Coast Guard
Commentary | Oct. 18, 2021

Honoring a fallen hero

By Petty Officer 3rd Class Anthony Pappaly, Public Affairs Detachment New York

It’s been nearly 11 years since Petty Officer 3rd Class Shaun M. Lin, a Coast Guard member of Maritime Safety and Security Team New York (MSST 91106) tragically passed away, and we continue to remember and honor his selfless sacrifice to the nation. 

On October 13th, 2021, the 11th year anniversary of his passing, Coast Guard Station Fire Island held a building dedication ceremony in his honor. The stationer-named their multi-mission building after Lin. A New York native, Lin is interred just 17 miles away from Station Fire Island at the Long Island National Cemetery in Farmingdale, New York. 

“Shaun was the best kind of shipmate, he was a friend and a brother, and a day doesn’t go by that I don’t think of him,” said Lt. j.g. Collin Reichelt, former shipmate and Lin’s best friend. “I am happy to see his legacy and sacrifice live on in the current and future members of Station Fire Island with this building dedication.”

Lin, a maritime enforcement specialist, was born on November 21, 1986, in Queens, New York. He enlisted in the Coast Guard in 2007, going on to serve at Coast Guard Station Boston following his graduation from basic training. From there, Lin would selflessly volunteer to deploy overseas to the Middle East. He spent a year overseas, attached to Coast Guard Cutter Maui, a part of Patrol Forces Southwest Asia (PATFORSWA), patrolling the Arabian Gulf in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. After his tour overseas, Lin returned to the states to continue his service as a member of MSST New York. 

While a member of MSST New York, Lin participated in a tactical training exercise on October 13, 2010, on the James River, near Portsmouth, Virginia. Lin was attempting to transfer from a 25-foot small boat to the Coast Guard Cutter Frank Drew when he fell from a caving ladder and tragically drowned. He was only 23-years old. 

In just three years in the Coast Guard, Lin served at a small boat station, completed a successful tour overseas, and was becoming an integral member of MSST New York. Lin served honorably at every assignment and embodied the Coast Guard core values of Honor, Respect and Devotion to Duty. 

“You have to go out, but you don’t have to come back,” is a saying that came out of the United States Life Saving Service. The saying refers to a crewmember’s duty to attempt to rescue those in peril, putting one’s own life in harm’s way. You’ll still hear mentions of this saying today in the Coast Guard as members are regularly operating in harm’s way, even during training. Petty Officer Lin gave the ultimate sacrifice, and the Coast Guard will always remember and honor him.