Vaughan was only 5’ 8”, but when he would confidently strut into a room, he immediately filled it with his 6’ 5” personality. Vaughan, nicknamed “Iggy,” made an impression on everyone he met with his wide and irresistible smile and his penchant for telling jokes and stories.

Vaughan’s easy-going nature and popularity began when he was very young. In his hometown of Burgeo, NL, Vaughan lived an ideal childhood: he freely roamed wherever he wanted with his friends, practically spending his entire childhood outdoors. Whenever he had the chance, he was fishing with his friends or hunting with his dad and brothers. Vaughan’s thirst for the outdoors only intensified as he got older. His beloved dog, Ranger, retrieved the wild bird game that he shot. Vaughan also loved sports, especially soft ball and hockey, which he would play in the streets or on frozen ponds.

Vaughan finished high school in June of 1990, and by July 5 he had joined the military. He was 19 years old. Serving in the military was a family tradition: he had two uncles and a younger brother in the military, his father in the Rangers, and his great uncle was killed in WWII. After training in Cornwallis, NS, he attended Battle School in Wainwright, AB. Following that, he was posted to the Second Battalion PPCLI in Winnipeg, before quickly being posted to 2 Commando, Canadian Airborne Regiment, in Petawawa, ON. While with the Airborne, he completed a tour in Somalia, his first of five tours.

In July 1995, Vaughan went to the Canadian Parachute Centre in Edmonton and from there to 3 PPCLI, during which time he completed a tour in Bosnia. He was eventually posted to the 1st Battalion PPCLI and went to Kosovo, then to Bosnia again, and finally to Afghanistan.

As an energetic child, he loved challenges, and as a soldier he craved adventure. Vaughan relished the thrill of jumping out of airplanes—he would even do it in his spare time. He was always on the move, fit, and loved to run. His passion for hunting and playing sports continued into adulthood. He even played hockey in the military and helped construct a hockey field in the dirt in Afghanistan; he was the driving force behind broom hockey games played between the Yanks and Canucks. Although Vaughan would try to call home as often as he could, the conversations were short and always involved hockey: who was playing and what was the score.

Vaughan was passionate about his family as well, and he treasured his role as husband and father to his two daughters. He had two brothers and an older sister, along with one niece and three nephews. Vaughan was godfather to his youngest nephew, who was christened right before Vaughan’s final departure to Afghanistan.

His thirst for life and adventure was abundantly clear in the way he lived. He enjoyed cooking, playing poker (although he didn’t have much of a poker face), and singing “North to Alaska” at the top of his lungs with the other men in his family. Vaughan loved to be surrounded by his buddies, going to the bar, watching old war movies, or listening to old songs. He was a fan of John Wayne, Johnny Cash, and especially Johnny Horton. He had a talent for telling engaging stories, whether it was about military life or his hunting and fishing. Vaughan shared many jokes over a cold beer and charmed his way into countless peoples’ hearts.

Vaughan was a fearless, courageous, and dedicated soldier. Early in 2006, a rocket-propelled grenade exploded in his light armoured vehicle in Afghanistan. He lost part of an ear and suffered from shrapnel wounds to his face, shoulder and wrist. It is a testament to his dedication as a soldier that he was determined to get back to work, without complaint.

In his hometown of Burgeo, there is a playground called the “Sgt. Vaughan Ingram Memorial Playground:” a fitting tribute for a man who embraced life with childlike passion and joy.

By Sarah J. Den Boer

Portrait by Shairl Honey