SHIELDS ROBERT DANIEL, January 27, 2010
|WWII Veteran - Member and hero of the Greatest
Generation Mr. Robert Daniel Shields died at home in Tappan, NY on
January 17, 2010 after a long illness. He was 89 at the time of his
death and was surrounded by those he loved and those who loved him.
On the Eve of the Normandy Invasion, the 5th of June 1944, then SSG
Shields, a pathfinder, parachuted into St. Mere Eglise, France
behind German lines. The plane was struck by enemy fire and his
group jumped at an extremely low altitude. SSG Shields' parachute
got caught on the roof gable of a French house and he was forced to
cut his way out of the parachute harness. A quick dash into another
French house almost led to his capture as German soldiers questioned
the occupants of the house and they pointed in the direction of SSG
Shields and yelled "Americana". SSG Shields jumped through a window
and as he stumbled away from the building, he landed in a German
observation post where he was forced to kill an enemy soldier
the help of his comrades in HHC, 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute
Infantry Regiment, 82d Airborne Division, the observation post was
eliminated. During the ferocious combat in and around Chef Du Pont,
SSG Shields was captured, beaten and then escaped to rejoin his
On September 17th, 1944 he again parachuted into combat,
this time in Holland as part of Operation Market Garden, sometimes
referred to as "The Bridge Too Far". In the fierce fighting around
the Nijmegen Bridge he was again wounded.
Upon recovery from his
wounds he rejoined his unit in time to fight in the Battle of the
Bulge where he received a Battlefield Commission to Lieutenant. In
this fighting, his unit was sent to the relief of the surrounded
101st Airborne Division. His brother George, assigned to the 101st
Airborne Division was with the surrounded unit and was wounded in
Mr. Shields was awarded numerous military decorations
including: two Bronze Stars with "V" device for valor, the Purple
Heart, Combat Infantry Badge and Senior Army Parachute wings with
two combat stars.
Upon cessation of hostilities, Lieutenant Shields
was assigned to General Dwight D. Eisenhower's Honor Guard and upon
return to Sparkill, NY in January 1946, he became an Army Reservist
assigned to Company A, an engineer company in the 860th Aviation
Engineer Battalion where he continued to serve for 16 years.
Shields was born on August 2nd, 1920 to Robert A. and Lillian Parsels Shields in Sparkill, NY. He was preceded in death by his
parents, a brother, George Shields, and a sister, Eleanor Stroud. He
is survived by his sisters, Ruth Dizzine and Etta Behrens.
Shields graduated from Tappan Zee High School, Piermont, N.Y. in
June 1939 and began work at Lederle Laboratories in Pearl River NY
in 1946, after leaving the service. Prior to departing for military
service, he met Mae E. Thompson, first president of the union at
Lederle. Mr. Shields joined the Army in 1942 and married Mae on
August 22d, 1943 before he deployed to the United Kingdom to prepare
for the D Day invasion. Mrs. Mae E. Shields preceded him in death in
Mr. Shields worked at Lederle Laboratories from April 1946 to
December 1980. He began as a carpenter who was eventually promoted
to Department Head for Plant Maintenance and later to Plant
Sanitation Manager. Mr. Shields began a part time career with the
Rockland County Sheriff's Dept. in 1952 serving with distinction as
a firearms instructor and training officer. He further attained the
title of Senior Firearms Instructor with the Police Academy. He was
still active as an officer in 2008 holding the rank of Sergeant.
Sgt. Shields held the distinction of the longest standing officer in
the history of the Rockland County Sheriff's Department for 56
His hobbies and associations after the War are too numerous
to detail and included a 6 year stint as a pilot and commander of
the 1st Civil Air Patrol Squadron in Blauvelt, New York. Throughout
this period he continued to enjoy skydiving and accumulated just
over 300 parachute jumps. His skill as a gunsmith and as a firearms
instructor are well known throughout Rockland and surrounding
Counties. He worked tirelessly to promote gun safety and was a
strong advocate of wildlife conservation. In May of 2006 the New
York State Fish and Wildlife Board presented Mr. Shields with a
Certificate recognizing over 40 years of faithful service to the
Board and the New York State Department of Environmental
Conservation. In addition, he has received well over 50
distinguished service awards and Certificates of Appreciation from
the many organizations he has represented including a Certificate of
Special Congressional Recognition.
Mr. Shields was married to Mrs.
Barbara Shields on December 7th, 2001. In addition to family members
already mentioned, he is survived by 3 children: Colonel (Retired)
Robert G. Shields, Carol A. Laskos and Debra R. Morano; two step
children: Susan D. Shields Furchak and Frances M. Shields Dedeian;
four grandchildren: Captain Sean Shields, SSG Robert D. Shields,
Cadet (West Point) Terrence H. Shields, and Ameila M. Shields; two
great grandchildren: Robert G. and Adrianna Shields and two
step-grandchildren: Michaila Furchak and Lily Dedeian.
family may pay respects at Moritz Funeral Home in Tappan, NY from 2
- 4 pm and 7 - 9 pm on Tuesday, January 19 and Wednesday, January 20.
Funeral Services will be held on Thursday, January 21, at the
Rockland County Fire Training Center at 35 Fireman's Memorial Drive,
Pomona, NY at 10:00 am with graveside services to follow at the
Rockland Cemetery, Kings Highway, Sparkill, NY.
Friends and family
are invited to gather at The Pearl River Elks Club on 2041 Elks
Drive, Nanuet, NY. In lieu of flowers, the family encourages
donations to be made in Mr. Shields' memory to the Wounded Warrior
www.woundedwarriorproject. org . The Wounded Warrior Project is
an organization that is helping our wounded soldiers.