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Burton Hale Shepherd

Date of birth: November 11, 1927
Home of record: Kansas City Kansas

Burton Shepherd retired as a U.S. Navy Rear Admiral.

AWARDS AND CITATIONS

Navy Cross

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Awarded for actions during the Vietnam War

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Commander Burton Hale Shepherd (NSN: 0-507539), United States Navy, for extraordinary heroism in aerial flight on 26 October 1967 as Commander, Attack Carrier Air Wing SIXTEEN (CVW-16), embarked in U.S.S. ORISKANY (CVA-34). As the strike leader of an eighteen-plane strike group launched against the strategically located and heavily defended Hanoi thermal power plant in North Vietnam, Commander Shepherd, although hampered by adverse weather conditions en route, maintained the precise timing necessary to properly execute the intricate strike plan. Skillfully maneuvering to avoid the numerous tracking missiles and intense and accurate barrages of 57-mm. and 85-mm. flak, he led the strike group to the optimum roll-in point and then aggressively pressed home his attack, releasing all bombs on target. Egressing from the target area in a hail of enemy fire, he retired to the relative safety of the Karst Hills and checked in his strike group. After proceeding expeditiously to the coast to refuel, Commander Shepherd returned to an area south of the target to search for one of his missing strike pilots. Continuing the search for more than an hour over enemy terrain in the face of the most concentrated enemy fire in North Vietnam, he finally returned to the coast after reaching a low fuel state. By his aggressive leadership, professional airmanship, and determination, Commander Shepherd contributed in large measure to the destruction of this major target, and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

General Orders: Authority: Navy Department Board of Decorations and Medals

Action Date: 26-Oct-67

Service: Navy

Rank: Commander

Regiment: Attack Carrier Air Wing 16 (CVW-16)

Division: U.S.S. Oriskany (CVA-34)

Silver Star

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Awarded for actions during the Vietnam War

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Commander Burton Hale Shepherd (NSN: 0-507539), United States Navy, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving as the pilot of a jet attack aircraft, attached to the U.S.S. ORISKANY (CVA_34), as Commander Attack Carrier Air Wing SIXTEEN. As strike leader of a twenty plane major air wing strike on 4 September 1967, Commander Shepherd conceived and executed a brilliant plan of attack against the Haiphong Highway Bridge South-Southeast, North Vietnam, a vital link in the enemy's lines of communications to the south. Exploiting known enemy weaknesses, he effectively deployed his support forces in a feint, which initially split and deceived the enemy's defenses. In spite of diluting the enemy defenses, it was necessary for Commander Shepherd to maneuver the strike group through repeated surface-to-air missile attacks. Encountering intense anti-aircraft fire as he approached, he directed the flak suppression elements into coordinated attacks against those sites posing the major threat, then positioned the strike group for optimum attack. Disregarding the enemy's lethal barrage of anti-aircraft fire, Commander Shepherd placed his bombs directly on target. Following his example, the strike force bombed with equal precision, destroying four of the five bridge spans while minimizing collateral damage to the surrounding civilian area. Completing his attack, Commander Shepherd remained over the target to ensure that all aircraft cleared the high threat area safely. As a direct result of Commander Shepherd's faultless execution of his strike plan, this vital and heavily defended link in the enemy's logistic network was destroyed without loss to the strike force. Commander Shepherd's courageous leadership, exceptional skill and devotion to duty led directly to the irrefutable success of the mission and are in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

Action Date: September 4, 1967

Service: Navy

Rank: Commander

Regiment: Attack Carrier Air Wing 16 (CVW-16)

Division: U.S.S. Oriskany (CVA-34)

Silver Star

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Awarded for actions during the Vietnam War

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting a Gold Star in lieu of a Second Award of the Silver Star to Commander Burton Hale Shepherd (NSN: 0-507539), United States Navy, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity while participating in aerial flight as a jet attack pilot attached to and commanding Attack Carrier Air Wing SIXTEEN, embarked in U.S.S. ORISKANY (CVA-34), on 24 October 1967. Commander Shepherd planned, briefed and led one of the largest most significant strikes of the war against the Phuc Yen Airfield located 11 miles north of Hanoi. Commander Shepherd's strike force was tasked to crater the runway and taxiways at Phuc Yen. During the final phase of the long harrowing penetration deep into the enemy's heartland, the strike force encountered intense opposition from surface-to-air missile attacks and accurate anti-aircraft artillery fire. Commander Shepherd brilliantly led his strike force through a series of effective evasive maneuvers against missiles that were tracking members of his flight. The sky over Phuc Yen was blackened with exploding anti-aircraft shells as he led the entire strike group in penetrating this serious threat and executed a precise, controlled attack on the runway and taxiways. Commander Shepherd scored direct hits on the western third of the runway and the remainder of his strike group created multiple craters in the runway and taxiways which rendered them unserviceable to jet aircraft. Commander Shepherd's meticulous planning, superb leadership, gallant actions and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

Action Date: October 24, 1967

Service: Navy

Rank: Commander

Regiment: Attack Carrier Air Wing 16 (CVW-16)

Division: U.S.S. Oriskany (CVA-34)

Legion of Merit

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Awarded for actions during the Vietnam War

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Legion of Merit with Combat "V" to Commander Burton Hale Shepherd (NSN: 0-507539), United States Navy, for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services to the Government of the United States while serving as Commander, Attack Carrier Air Wing SIXTEEN, embarked in U.S.S. ORISKANY (CVA-34), from 14 July 1967 to 12 January 1968, during combat operations against the enemy. Commander Shepherd displayed exceptional leadership, superb professionalism and devoted concern to his pilots in personally directing daily combat operations in a hostile environment of surface-to-air missiles, anti-aircraft artillery fire, constant small arms fire as well as unpredictable fighter aircraft activity. His judgment, skill and competence were so keen that morale, combat effectiveness and operating efficiency rose during these arduous and hazardous operations. His management of the Air Wing insured an orderly introduction of new weapons and tactics. Commander Shepherd's professional knowledge, stamina and tenacious devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. [Commander Shepherd is authorized to wear the Combat "V".]

Action Date: July 14, 1967 - January 12, 1968

Service: Navy

Rank: Commander

Regiment: Attack Carrier Air Wing 16 (CVW-16)

Division: U.S.S. Oriskany (CVA-34)

Legion of Merit

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Awarded for actions during the Vietnam War

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting a Gold Star in lieu of a Second Award of the Legion of Merit to Captain Burton Hale Shepherd (NSN: 0-507539), United States Navy, for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services to the Government of the United States as Executive Assistant and Senior Aide to the Vice Chief of Naval Operations from September 1969 through June 1970. Exercising outstanding managerial competence and marked leadership, Captain Shepherd effectively coordinated the effort of the immediate office of the Vice Chief of Naval Operations. With keen foresight and intellectual awareness, he consistently demonstrated a complete grasp of complex issues and geopolitical considerations in a highly sensitive, rapidly changing environment, and provided the Vice Chief of Naval Operations with sound counsel, essential facts, and recommended courses of action in matters of the greatest importance. Captain Shepherd's astute judgment was of direct benefit to the Vice Chief of Naval Operations in his dealings with senior members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, other government agencies, and the diplomatic and civilian communities. By his selfless and untiring devotion to duty, Captain Shepherd contributed materially to the successful operation of U.S. Naval Forces throughout the worked and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

Action Date: September 1969 - June 1970

Service: Navy

Rank: Captain

Legion of Merit

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Awarded for actions during the Vietnam War

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting a Second Gold Star in lieu of a Third Award of the Legion of Merit to Captain Burton Hale Shepherd (NSN: 0-507539), United States Navy, for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services to the Government of the United States as Executive Assistant and Senior Aide to the Chief of Naval Operations from July 1970 until January 1972. During this period, Captain Shepherd imparted sound counsel and advisable courses of action in matters of extreme importance top the Chief of Naval Operations. As Executive Assistant and Senior Aide, Captain Shepherd, through his broad experience and administrative acumen, was extremely helpful in enabling the Navy to adjust to the rapidly changing environment of a smaller, professional organization as the Vietnam conflict subsided. At the pinnacle of Naval management he provided the necessary professional counsel allowing the Chief of Naval Operations to soften the impact of severe ship and budgetary reductions during a period of economic turbulence. Captain Shepherd's outstanding professionalism, keen foresight, dedication, and perseverance reflected great credit upon himself and the United States Naval Service.

Action Date: July 1970 - January 1972

Service: Navy

Rank: Captain

Distinguished Flying Cross

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Awarded for actions during the Vietnam War

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Flying Cross to Commander Burton Hale Shepherd (NSN: 0-507539), United States Navy, for extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight as a pilot of a jet aircraft while Commanding Attack Carrier Air Wing SIXTEEN, embarked in U.S.S. ORISKANY (CVA-34), on 29 July 1967. Commander Shepherd led an Air Wing strike against the Loi Dong Barracks complex located among concentrations of anti-aircraft guns and surface-to-air missiles in North Vietnam. Though opposed by intense anti-aircraft fire and within the surface-to-air missile envelope, Commander Shepherd led his group of 22 aircraft in a manner which completely deceived the enemy as to his intended area of attack. Attaining ascendancy during the enemy's dilemma, Commander Shepherd then led his strike force in a perfectly executed bombing attack, inflicting heavy damage to the target and completely silencing two heavy caliber flak sites. Through his professional leadership, outstanding airmanship and thorough planning, Commander Shepherd assured the success of the strike. Such performance, courage and ability to execute prompt, effective action while under fire were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

Action Date: July 29, 1967

Service: Navy

Rank: Commander

Regiment: Attack Carrier Air Wing 16 (CVW-16)

Division: U.S.S. Oriskany (CVA-34)

Distinguished Flying Cross

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Awarded for actions during the Vietnam War

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting a Gold Star in lieu of a Second Award of the Distinguished Flying Cross to Commander Burton Hale Shepherd (NSN: 0-507539), United States Navy, for extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight as a pilot of a jet aircraft while Commanding Attack Carrier Air Wing SIXTEEN, embarked in U.S.S. ORISKANY (CVA-34), on 3 August 1967. Commander Shepherd led a major Air Wing strike against a concealed, mobile surface-to-air site near the city of Haiphong in North Vietnam. Making maximum use of current intelligence, Commander Shepherd precisely planned the most advantageous route to the target, and selected aim points to assure maximum destruction of the target,. Commander Shepherd skillfully led the strike group to the target area through enemy opposition consisting of three surface-to-air missiles and heavy anti-aircraft artillery fire. Maneuvering the strike group into the most advantageous attack position, Commander Shepherd led the attack on the missile site. So precise and effective was the attack, that post-strike bomb damage assessment confirmed three surface-to-air missiles with their launchers and one missile transporter with a missile aboard, were destroyed. Commander Shepherd's excellent planning, aggressiveness and skillful airmanship were instrumental in the mission's success and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

Action Date: August 3, 1967

Service: Navy

Rank: Commander

Regiment: Attack Carrier Air Wing 16 (CVW-16)

Division: U.S.S. Oriskany (CVA-34)

Distinguished Flying Cross

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Awarded for actions during the Vietnam War

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting a Second Gold Star in lieu of a Third Award of the Distinguished Flying Cross to Commander Burton Hale Shepherd (NSN: 0-507539), United States Navy, for extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight as a pilot of a jet aircraft Commanding Attack Carrier Air Wing SIXTEEN, embarked in U.S.S. ORISKANY (CVA-34), over hostile North Vietnamese territory on 11 September 1967. Leading a division of flak suppression aircraft, Commander Shepherd accelerated ahead of the strike force as they approached the heavily defended enemy coast. The enemy responded with a volley of four surface-to-air missiles. After evading the missiles, Commander Shepherd detached two aircraft to cover the strike group's route to the target and then led his wingman through intensely accurate anti-aircraft fire to the area where the enemy missiles had been observed lifting off. As they approached the area, he observed one of the surface to air missile suppression element's weapons impact in the site. With his as his aim point, he led his section through a fusillade of enemy anti-aircraft fire in a crippling attack on the missile site below. He scored direct hits with his bombs which set off two large secondary explosions and sent orange smoke associated with destroyed missiles billowing to 1,000 feet. So successful were the diversionary tactics that the strike aircraft penetrated the enemy defenses unscathed and scored direct hits on the vital bridges. As an added bonus, two surface-to-air missile sites were put out of commission. Commander Shepherd's detailed planning, brilliant deployment of forces, and outstanding aerial leadership, and accomplished destruction of enemy missiles ensured the success of the mission. His actions were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

Action Date: September 11, 1967

Service: Navy

Rank: Commander

Regiment: Attack Carrier Air Wing 16 (CVW-16)

Division: U.S.S. Oriskany (CVA-34)

Distinguished Flying Cross

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Awarded for actions during the Vietnam War

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting a Third Gold Star in lieu of a Fourth Award of the Distinguished Flying Cross to Commander Burton Hale Shepherd (NSN: 0-507539), United States Navy, for heroism and extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight as a pilot of a jet aircraft Commanding Attack Carrier Air Wing SIXTEEN, embarked in U.S.S. ORISKANY (CVA-34), on 18 October 1967. Commander Shepherd was the strike leader of a 23-plane major Air Wing strike against the Haiphong Army Barracks, located on the southeast edge of the city of Haiphong, North Vietnam. The barracks was a major storage area for military supplies for the city of Haiphong. Commander Shepherd, realizing the vital importance of such a target to the enemy forces, conceived a strike plan to heighten the element of surprise and ensure complete success of the mission. Commander Shepherd planned for a break of day, radio silent, low level launch to minimize the detection of the strike group by enemy radar and electronic surveillance. As the strike group approached the target, Commander Shepherd expertly directed his forces to provide maximum missile and flak suppression. He personally led the strike force to an optimum attack position and delivered his ordnance on target, destroying two large barracks. The barracks area was determined to be 86% destroyed with numerous secondary fires and smoke rising several thousand feet. No aircraft were damaged and the strike group returned safely to the carrier. Commander Shepherd's Superb planning, bombing expertise and professional leadership were directly responsible for the major success enjoyed by the strike force and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

Action Date: October 18, 1967

Service: Navy

Rank: Commander

Regiment: Attack Carrier Air Wing 16 (CVW-16)

Division: U.S.S. Oriskany (CVA-34)

Distinguished Flying Cross

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Awarded for actions during the Vietnam War

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting a Fourth Gold Star in lieu of a Fifth Award of the Distinguished Flying Cross to Commander Burton Hale Shepherd (NSN: 0-507539), United States Navy, for heroism and extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight as a pilot of a jet aircraft Commanding Attack Carrier Air Wing SIXTEEN, embarked in U.S.S. ORISKANY (CVA-34), on 25 October 1967. Commander Shepherd was the leader of a 23 aircraft strike against the enemy's largest airfield capable of supporting jet fighter and light jet bomber operations. Phuc Yen Airfield is located only 11 miles north of Hanoi and is heavily defended by 14 surface-to-air missile sites and innumerable anti-aircraft artillery batteries. Commander Shepherd led the strike group over 100 miles into enemy territory. He carefully chose the safest possible rout to minimize the dangers to the strike group. However, the last 30 miles into the target were across the heavily populated and heavily defended Red River Valley. Commander Shepherd led the strike group's dash through the gauntlet of enemy defenses, and skillfully avoided or evaded each assault by anti-aircraft artillery or missiles. Despite the constantly increasing volume of lethal fire, he led the strike group's devastating attack and placed his bombs precisely on target. Commander Shepherd's heroic actions were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

Action Date: October 25, 1967

Service: Navy

Rank: Commander

Regiment: Attack Carrier Air Wing 16 (CVW-16)

Division: U.S.S. Oriskany (CVA-34)

Distinguished Flying Cross

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Awarded for actions during the Vietnam War

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting a Silver Star in lieu of a Sixth Award of the Distinguished Flying Cross to Commander Burton Hale Shepherd (NSN: 0-507539), United States Navy, for heroism and extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight as a pilot of a jet aircraft Commanding Attack Carrier Air Wing SIXTEEN, embarked in U.S.S. ORISKANY (CVA-34), on 14 December 1967. Commander Shepherd planned, briefed and led a highly successful major Air Wing strike against the Phu Thi Ferry Crossing located 10 miles south of Hanoi. The objective of the mission was to effect an interruption of vital war supplies crossing this strategic choke point. Commander Shepherd distinguished himself by his meticulous study of the enemy defensive order of battle and the selection of an attack plan which optimized the strike group's chances of success in the face of a sophisticated array of anti-aircraft fire and sustained volleys of surface-to-air missiles fired at the strike group. Commander Shepherd displayed superb airmanship and courage in leading the strike group through a series of successful missile evasion maneuvers while continuing to adroitly lead the entire force to the optimum position for an attack. The strike group attacked and placed all their ordnance precisely in the pre-planned pattern to ensure the most effective interruption of waterborne traffic. By his detailed planning, superior airmanship, courage and intrepid airmanship, Commander Shepherd caused this vital link in North Vietnam's logistic lines of supply to lie interdicted for an extended period of time, thereby inhibiting the enemy's war making potential. His heroic actions and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

Action Date: December 14, 1967

Service: Navy

Rank: Commander

Regiment: Attack Carrier Air Wing 16 (CVW-16)

Division: U.S.S. Oriskany (CVA-34)