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Dunedin High School graduate dies in Afghanistan | News

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Dunedin High School graduate dies in Afghanistan
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Dunedin, Florida -- The Bay area is mourning another fallen soldier. Army Specialist Zachary Shannon is the first Dunedin High School graduate to die in combat. 

While we know Shannon died in Afghanistan, the Defense Department has not released details of his death. 

Shannon comes from a military family and his three brothers are also enlisted.

"He was right where I believe he wanted to be -- in the Army flying helicopters," said Commander Rick Shock. 

Shock taught Shannon at Dunedin High School during the last five months of his senior year in 2010 -- long enough for the NJROTC teacher to know Shannon, the student.

"I remember Zack as an energetic, dedicated, polite young man fun to be around," said Shock.

He also remembers Shannon as the practical joker. 

"If you found something upside down on your desk, or something funny written on your blackboard, you knew to turn to him first."

Shock's last memory of his student is as a soldier. Shannon visited Dunedin High School in November for Alumni Day. 

"He stood up in front of all my of my classes, stated very clearly how proud he was to be a soldier, and how proud he was to be serving his country."

Shock said Shannon was a natural at being a mechanic and loved working on the H-60 helicopters.

In November, Shock said Shannon looked forward to being deployed to Afghanistan as a crew chief. 

"We lost another young soldier with a very bright future."

A young soldier who during his short life taught his teacher and those know him life-long lesson. 

"Nothing is too serious you can't smile, you can have a chuckle and have fun regardless of what it is," Shock said.

Commander Shock said the school community will get together with Shannon's family to decide on a permanent way to remember him here at Dunedin High School.

Shannon's family is in Dover waiting to bring his body home to Dunedin.

Follow 10 News Reporter Isabel Mascarenas on twitter @IzzyMascarenas

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