Army Aviation Hall of Fame 1977 Induction
Lieutenant Colonel Claude L. Shepard, Jr., is cited for his enthusiastic championship of organic Army Aviation at the national level during the '42-'49 period, his personal impact upon the careers of many of the then active Liaison Pilots, and his innovative contributions to the growth of Army Aviation.
As Seventh Army Artillery Air Officer during WWII, he devoted himself completely to the problems, needs, and interests of the combat pilots and worked unceasingly to expedite the supply, repair, and replacement of Seventh Army aircraft, and to provide the most favorable R&R facility for his combat pilots, an Air OP Rest Camp at a resort hotel in Grenoble, France.
As Aviation Officer with Army Ground Forces during 1946-1949, he counseled and encouraged the relatively few Liaison Pilots to remain on active duty, recruited new talent, and negotiated the initial assignment of Army Aviators to the DA Staff.
While at DA, he designed a career ladder for aviators which established a pattern of rotation from flight duty to ground duty and professional education. In another action, he defined the roles and missions of organic Army Aviation when the USAF became a separate service in 1947.
He played a key role in introducing rotary-wing aircraft into the Army by coordinating the initial procurement of H-13 helicopters, and by arranging a contract to train the first contingent of Army helicopter pilots. Through his efforts, authority was given for the Army to procure its first multi-passenger liaison aircraft, the L-17 Navion, an action that enhanced the stature of organic Army Aviation throughout the Army.