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Parents of fallen Navy SEAL carrying torch son passed to them

Parents of fallen Navy SEAL carrying torch son passed to them
Staff Reporter
The parents of fallen Navy SEAL Aaron Vaughn are speaking out.
Karen and Billy Vaughn Jr. will arrive in Obion County today for several speaking engagements scheduled for this week and into next week.
Aaron Vaughn, a 30-year-old Obion County native, was one of 30 U.S. servicemen who died Aug. 6, 2011, when a rocket-propelled grenade fired by a Taliban insurgent downed their helicopter in Afghanistan.
He graduated from Obion County Central High School in 1999 and enlisted in the U.S. Navy on his 21st birthday, a few months after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He began SEAL (Sea, Air and Land) training right after basic training and became an elite Navy SEAL and highly-decorated combat veteran.
In the nearly nine months since his death, his parents have made themselves available to speak publicly across America and have launched a website — — for their cause.
The Vaughns are Obion County natives who now make their home in Stuart, Fla. Mrs. Vaughn is the daughter of Evelyn Rodenberger of Knoxville and the late Frank Rodenberger, who formerly made their home in Woodland Mills, and Vaughn is the son of Geneva and Billy Vaughn Sr. of Union City.
Karen Vaughn said she and her husband planned to arrive in Obion County by early this afternoon and will remain in the area until May 1. They will be available for speaking engagements during that time and anyone interested can make contact with them by going to the website.
As of this morning, their scheduled speaking engagements include:
• Today at 6 p.m. — Obion County Tea Party meeting at the Obion County Public Library.
• Thursday at 7 a.m. — Jackson Rotary Club meeting at the Old Country Store in Jackson.
• Thursday at 10 a.m. — Englewood Baptist Church in Jackson.
• Sunday at 10:30 a.m. — Morning worship service at Sunswept Baptist Church in Union City.
• Sunday at 6 p.m. — Evening worship service at Dyersburg Second Baptist Church at 1720 Schaffer St.
• April 30 at 7 a.m. — Trenton Teapot Festival mayor’s prayer breakfast at First Presbyterian Church there.
On their website, the Vaughns explain what led them to begin a journey of speaking engagements across the nation in the months following their son’s death.
“Our son, Special Oper-ations Chief (SEAL) Aaron Carson Vaughn (DEVGRU), was one of America’s most elite warriors … one of the 300,” according to the website. “He was engaged kinetically in the Global War on Terror and his heart beat passionately for the republic he loved.
“On (Aug. 6, 2011), he, along with 29 other rough, fearless, American warriors, stepped into a CH-47 Chinook chopper in the black of night and headed to a mission from which they would never return.
“Although we cannot be engaged kinetically in the preservation of our republic as Aaron was, we now feel an obligation to become engaged culturally,” the Vaughns said.
The Vaughns are making themselves available to speak publicly “in an effort to carry the torch Aaron passed to them.”
Billy Vaughn Jr. speaks primarily about the threats facing the republic due to a lack of information and understanding, while Mrs. Vaughn speaks to high school students and offers a challenge to “make your life count,” just as her son made his count.
“We all have a responsibility to protect what’s been handed down by the blood of patriots who’ve gone before us,” according to the website. “Aaron gave it all to defend our way of life. The Vaughns will continue his mission.”
Staff Reporter Chris Menees may be contacted by email at
Published in The Messenger 4.23.12