Military Bios

Lieutenant General Richard F. Shaefer:

Military Branch:United States Airforce
Retired July 1, 1975.  
Lieutenant General Richard F. Shaefer is deputy chairman, NATO Military Committee at Brussels, Belgium.
General Shaefer was born in Lansing, Mich., in 1919, and graduated from the University of New Mexico in 1940 with a bachelor of science degree in engineering. Following graduation from the university, he entered aviation cadet training and a few weeks later received a congressional appointment to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. He completed flying training during his last year and graduated from the academy in June 1943.
During World War II he served as a combat pilot and squadron commander with Ninth Air Force in the European Theater of Operations. At the end of the war, he returned to the United States and served for a short time as director of flying for the Twin-Engine Training Program. He then returned to the U.S. Military Academy where he served as an instructor from 1946 to 1949.
In July 1949 he was assigned to the War Plans Division, Headquarters U.S. Air Force. In January 1953 he entered the United Kingdom Joint Services Staff College. He next was assigned to the 20th Fighter Bomber Wing, which was operating in Europe out of bases in the United Kingdom, and during that assignment commanded an F-84 and a B-45 composite jet task force which was temporarily deployed to Greece. In June 1954 he became director of plans for the 49th Air Division in England.
General Shaefer returned to the United States in January 1956 and was assigned as director of operations, RAND Corporation, Santa Monica, Calif., where he participated in strategic, tactical, technical and policy studies. He was assigned to Headquarters U.S. Air Force in June 1958 where he served as chief, Foreign Requirements Division in the Directorate of Requirements.
Upon establishment of the Joint Staff in September 1958 he was assigned to the Joint Plans and Policy Directorate (J-5), Organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. During this period, in addition to normal joint planning responsibilities, he was specifically designated as the representative of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on several Presidential special planning committees and boards. He attended the National War College, Washington, D.C., from August 1961 to June 1962.
General Shaefer was then assigned to the U.S. Delegation, NATO Military Committee and Standing Group, with international planning responsibilities in the fields of strategy, policy and political affairs; in September 1964 he became the first deputy director for plans of the NATO Military Committee's International Military Staff.
General Shaefer was assigned as vice commander of the Third Air Force, South Ruislip, England, in July 1965. Two years later, he moved to Wiesbaden, Germany, where he became chief of staff for Headquarters U.S. Air Forces in Europe.
From Europe he was transferred to the Republic of Vietnam, where he assumed duties as assistant chief of staff for plans, J-5, U.S. Military Assistance Command Vietnam, in July 1968.
In May 1970 he returned to the United States as deputy director for plans and policy (J-5), Joint Staff, Organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
General Shaefer reported to SHAPE for duty as assistant chief of staff, operations, in October 1971, and became the deputy chairman, NATO Military Committee in September 1974.
His military decorations and awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with nine oak leaf clusters, Joint Service Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster, Purple Heart, the Croix de Guerre with silver star (France), the Korean Chung Mu, the Thai Order of the White Elephant, and the Vietnamese National Military and Distinguished Service Orders. He is a command pilot and is jet qualified.
He was promoted to the grade of lieutenant general effective Sept. 1, 1974, with date of rank Aug. 26, 1974.


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