Military Bios

Brigadier General William L. Shields Jr.:

Military Branch:United States Airforce
Retired Oct. 1, 1981.  
Brigadier General William L. Shields Jr. is the deputy chief of staff, space surveillance and missile warning systems, Headquarters Strategic Air Command, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb.
General Shields was born in 1928, in Napa, Calif. He graduated from high school in Biggs, Calif., in 1944 and attended the University of California. He received a bachelor of science degree from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., in 1952, a master of science degree in nuclear engineering from the University of Michigan in 1958 and a doctor of philosophy degree in aeronautics and astronautics from Stanford University in 1967.
General Shields began his military career as a private in the U.S. Army in 1946. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force upon graduation from the U.S. Military Academy.
He completed pilot training in August 1953 at Williams Air Force Base, Ariz. In December 1953 he completed fighter-gunnery training at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., and was assigned as a fighter-interceptor pilot in the 71st Fighter-Interceptor Squadron at the Greater Pittsburgh Airport.
Upon completing graduate studies in nuclear engineering in August 1958, General Shields joined the Air Force Intelligence Center in Arlington, Va., as an analyst specializing in the Soviet and Chinese nuclear weapons programs.
In September 1965, after further graduate studies in aeronautics and astronautics, General Shields moved to the Air Force Weapons Laboratory at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M. He served as chief of the Aircraft Section in the Weapons Integration Branch where he was responsible for compatibility testing of nuclear weapons with tactical and strategic aircraft.
General Shields returned to operational flying in October 1966 when he entered the F-4 Operational Training course at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz. In June 1967 he left for the Republic of Vietnam to serve with the 12th Tactical Fighter Wing at Cam Ranh Bay Air Base where he flew 104 combat missions. In December 1967 he was assigned as an operations staff officer in the Directorate of Operational Requirements, Headquarters Seventh Air Force at Tan Son Nhut Air Base.
When he returned to the United States in July 1968, General Shields served as a project scientist in the Mechanics Division, Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Arlington, Va. He was responsible for research in aerophysics and aeroacoustics and established the agency's scientific research program in aircraft wake turbulence.
In September 1969 General Shields was transferred to Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C., as chief of the Analysis Division in the Directorate of Operational Requirements and Development Plans. He managed long-range development planning studies and served as the directorate's representative on the Program Review Committee of the Air Staff Board. In June 1971 General Shields became executive assistant to the undersecretary of the Air Force and served in this position until July 1973.
General Shields attended the Missile Staff Officers Course at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., in August 1973 and was assigned as vice commander, 44th Strategic Missile Wing at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., in September 1973. In February 1974 he become commander of the 321st Strategic Missile Wing, Grand Forks Air Force Base, N.D.
General Shields became director, Office of Space Systems, Office of the Secretary of the Air Force in March 1976. He was assigned as inspector general of Air Force Systems Command, Andrews Air Force Base, Md., in July 1978 and assumed his present position in October 1979.
He is a command pilot with more than 3,500 hours of flying time and wears the senior missileman badge. His military decorations and awards include the Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters, Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star Medal, Air Medal with five oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award ribbon with "V" device and Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with palm.
He was promoted to brigadier general Dec. 15, 1975, with date of rank Nov. 29, 1975.
General Shields' hometown is Stockton, Calif.


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