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2008 Distinguished Graduate Award

GEN John A. Shaud '56


General John Albert Shaud elected to serve in the Air Force upon commissioning in 1956, just nine years after America’s air arm was formed from the Army Air Corps and as the fledgling Air Force Academy was beginning. For the first 20 years of his illustrious flying career, he served in a variety of operational positions in bomber and fighter reconnaissance units, culminating as vice commander of a bomb wing before his first assignment to the Pentagon. Immediately thereafter, he commanded a bomb wing of the Strategic Air Command, followed by two air divisions before returning to the Pentagon for duty as the Director of Plans and following that, duty as Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel of the Air Force.

He then took command of the massive Air Force Training Command before serving as the Chief of Staff of the Supreme Headquarters, Allied Powers Europe, during the collapse of the Soviet Union, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the Iraqi invasion of neighboring Kuwait. Upon retirement from active duty he continued to serve as Director, Air Force Aid Society; Executive Director, Air Force Association; the Hap Arnold Chair of Air and Space Leadership at the Air War College and most recently as Director of the Air Force Research Institute.

General Shaud began his operational career with the 358th Bomb Squadron, flying the Strategic Air Command’s first jet bomber, the B-47, at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, and advanced to aircraft commander while still a first lieutenant. Later, in Vietnam as a flight commander with the 12th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, he flew 110 reconnaissance missions in the F-4 fighter, many at night and at low altitude, over both South and North Vietnam. After earning a doctorate at The Ohio State University, duty on the faculty of the Air Command and Staff College, and attendance at the National War College, he returned to operational duties with the 449th Bomb Wing as Deputy Commander for Operations and then as Vice Commander.

After two years in the Pentagon, on the Air Force Operations Staff, he commanded the 92nd Bomb Wing of the Strategic Air Command and then the 47th Air Division, compiling a no-loss safety record.  As a brigadier general he commanded the 57th Air Division which was the bomber arm of the Rapid Deployment Joint Task Force that has subsequently become CENTCOM.

Back at the Pentagon as Deputy and then Director of Plans, he was instrumental in developing Air Force force structure during the Reagan administration as well as planning operations after the Beirut bombing and during Grenada. After serving another Pentagon tour as Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel, he returned to operational duty heading the Air Training Command, one of the Air Force’s largest major commands. Despite the inexperience of student pilots and the large number of takeoffs and landings required for training, the Air Force Training Command, under his command, won the Air Force Flying Safety Award in 1988.

At the pinnacle of his military career, as Chief of Staff of the Supreme Headquarters, Allied Powers Europe from 1988 to 1991, General Shaud faced significant challenges, not the least being the need to deal with the sensitive military, political and social situation as the Iron Curtain was dismantled and the Warsaw Pact dissolved. When Iraq invaded Kuwait, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization forces in Europe provided massive support, with General Shaud facilitating the deployment of V Corps and much of Vll Corps from Europe to Saudi Arabia. He also was responsible for arrangements that permitted AWACS aircraft to operate out of Konya, Turkey and US Air Force fighters and tankers to operate from Incirlik, Turkey, opening a significant “second front” against the Iraqi forces.

Upon retirement, General Shaud directed the Air Force Aid Society and dramatically increased the organization’s resources while launching a campaign to insure that the availability of its benefits became widely known among Airmen assigned throughout the world. General Shaud next served in Washington, DC as Executive Director of the 150,000 member Air Force Association, acting as an advocate for air power and the welfare of Airmen and veterans.  A significant accomplishment was the Association’s contribution to insuring the passage of the Tricare for Life legislation of 2000. Ever since retirement, General Shaud has been a senior mentor for officers of all Services, newly promoted to flag rank, in a program termed CAPSTONE.

Accordingly, the West Point Association of Graduates takes great pride in presenting the 2008 Distinguished Graduate Award to John A. Shaud.