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Pfc. Shannon Chalfant (standing, second from right) poses with fellow members of 2nd Platoon, Battery E, 1st Battalion, 43rd Air Defense Artillery Regiment, part of the 35th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, in South Korea.

Pfc. Shannon Chalfant (standing, second from right) poses with fellow members of 2nd Platoon, Battery E, 1st Battalion, 43rd Air Defense Artillery Regiment, part of the 35th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, in South Korea. (U.S. Army)

PYEONGTAEK, South Korea — The wife of a Camp Casey soldier who suffered head injuries after a car hit him earlier this month is saying a big thanks to her husband’s unit, which rallied to his side and flew her and his parents from Texas to his bedside.

Pfc. Shannon Chalfant, 22, of the 35th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, suffered a fractured skull and hemorrhages in the Jan. 14 incident about 200 yards south of the Camp Casey main gate.

Chalfant is an Avenger system gunner with the brigade’s Battery E, 1st Battalion, 43rd Air Defense Artillery Regiment.

A car believed to be traveling nearly 40 mph struck Chalfant and tossed him into the air, according to Capt. Alan Faye, Battery E’s commanding officer.

“He landed on his head and neck,” he said.

The South Korean driver was charged at the scene with unsafe driving, Faye said.

Chalfant’s wife, Jo Ann, 26, said her husband “has a little bit of loss of short-term memory. He’s going to be in rehabilitation but he’ll get better. It’s going to take time.”

Chalfant and a fellow soldier were on their way to a jewelry store outside post where Chalfant was to make a payment on a ring for his wife, Faye said. The couple have two daughters, Amanda, 19 months, and Krystal, eight months.

He had about one month left on his one-year Korea tour when the car hit him.

He was initially treated at Camp Casey clinic, then taken by helicopter to the Army’s 121st General Hospital in Seoul. He underwent further treatment at Kangnam St. Mary’s Catholic University Hospital, Faye said.

“He was transported there because the Kangnam St. Mary’s Hospital has a neurological department that could better treat him than the 121 Hospital,” he said.

On Wednesday, Chalfant was flown to Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu for further treatment and rehabilitation.

At word of the accident, Chalfant’s unit rallied to give him support.

“It was bothersome for them to know that it was one of our own unit that was injured and in the hospital,” Faye said. “So everybody then came together and decided we’re going to do the best for the soldier and for the family of the soldier.”

With 1st Battalion and 8th Army command support, Faye said, arrangements were made to fly Chalfant’s wife and parents from Houston on Jan. 22 and have them stay at the Dragon Hill Lodge on Yongsan Garrison in Seoul at Army expense.

The unit also arranged for a motor pool van to transport the family to the hospital, escorted by Chalfant’s platoon leader, 2nd Lt. Edward O’Connell, Faye said.

“We would bring his battle buddies and other people from his platoon down to visit him,” Faye said.

The unit raised more than $2,500 in donations to help Chalfant’s family with food, babysitting, and other expenses, Faye said.

“Monday night he opened his eyes and he awoke and then we knew that his progression was getting better and that’s when I began to breathe a little sigh of relief,” said Jo Ann Chalfant.

She said she and Chalfant’s parents were “very thankful” to the Army.

“Wow,” she said, “I think they’re the greatest people I ever met. If it wasn’t for his unit, we wouldn’t have been here.”


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