By CHRIS MENEES
The search for fallen Navy SEAL Aaron Vaughn’s wedding band has gone nationwide.
Vaughn, a 30-year-old Obion County native, was one of 30 U.S. servicemen — including 17 elite Navy SEALs — who died early Aug. 6 when a rocket-propelled grenade fired by a Taliban insurgent downed their helicopter en route to a combat mission in Afghanistan.
Vaughn’s widow, Kimberly Vaughn of Virginia Beach, Va., wore his wedding band on her thumb as a constant reminder of their love.
Unfortunately, she lost the ring Saturday while traveling from a Houston airport through the Charlotte, N.C., airport on her way back to Washington, D.C.
She has started a Facebook page — Find Aaron Vaughn’s Wedding Band — in an effort to spread the word in the hope that someone will find the ring and return it.
Information on the Facebook page recounts her exact route this past Saturday after she left the Super 8 Motel in Deer Park, Texas, about 8:30 a.m., returned a rental car and boarded a flight out of Houston bound for Charlotte. She took US Airways flight 1864 out of Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport and switched planes in Charlotte, boarding US Airways flight 1327 to Washington’s Reagan National Airport.
Mrs. Vaughn explains on Facebook that she stopped at a women’s restroom before boarding the final flight in Charlotte and, hopefully, the ring did not slip off when she washed and dried her hands. She said she had a quick stop at TCBY and boarded at Gate C13.
She said she was sitting in her seat on the plane when “the horrible realization hit me … I had lost my husband’s wedding band!”
A flight attendant helped her search on board the plane, including dismantling her assigned seat, but to no avail. Mrs. Vaughn said both she and her father have thoroughly checked and re-checked her purse and baby’s diaper bag.
Mrs. Vaughn is asking anyone who has seen or found her precious memento to contact her by email at NavySEALring@gmail.com.
Her search is receiving national attention, including being broadcast Wednesday on Fox News Channel. By this morning, more than 8,500 people had “liked” the Facebook page in an effort to spread the word.
The profile picture on the Facebook page is a darling photo of Mrs. Vaughn’s and her late husband’s wedding rings on the big toe of their baby daughter, Chamberlyn. The missing wedding band has a flat silver finish and has Kimberly’s name engraved inside.
Vaughn was the son of Karen (Rodenberger) and Billy Vaughn Jr. of Stuart, Fla., formerly of Obion County, and the grandson of Geneva and Billy Vaughn Sr. of Union City and Evelyn Rodenberger of Knoxville and the late Frank Rodenberger, who formerly made their home in Woodland Mills.
He graduated from Obion County Central High School in 1999 and enlisted in the U.S. Navy on his 21st birthday, after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Staff Reporter Chris Menees may be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Published in The Messenger 10.06.11