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First Name: Lemuel

Last Name: Shepherd

Birthplace: Norfolk, VA, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Marines (present)

Home of Record: Norfolk, VA
Middle Name: Cornick

Date of Birth: 10 February 1896

Date of Death: 06 August 1990

Rank: General

Years Served: 1917-1956
Lemuel Cornick Shepherd, Jr.

•  World War I (1914 - 1918)
•  World War II (1941 - 1945)
•  Korean War (1950 - 1953)


Lemuel Cornick Shepherd, Jr.
General, U.S. Marine Corps

Lemuel Cornick Shepherd Jr. was born on 10 February 1896 in Norfolk, VA. He graduated from the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) in 1917, graduating a year early so he could enter the Marine Corps. While at VMI, Shepherd became a member of the Beta Chapter of Kappa Alpha Order. He was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps on 11 April 1917 and reported for active duty at the Marine Barracks, SC, on 19 May 1917.

World War I

Less than a year after reporting for duty, Shepherd sailed for France as a member of the 5th Marine Regiment with the first elements of the American Expeditionary Forces. He served in defensive sectors in the vicinity of Verdun and participated in the Aisne-Marne offensive (Château-Thierry) where he was twice wounded in action at Belleau Wood during the fighting there in June 1918. He returned from the front in August, rejoining the 5th Marines and seeing action in the St. Mihiel and Meuse-Argonne offensives (Champagne) where he was wounded for the third time; shot through the neck by a machine gun.

For his gallantry in action at Belleau Wood, Lieutenant Shepherd was awarded the Army Distinguished Service Cross, the Navy Cross, the French Croix de guerre, and was cited in the general orders of the 2nd Infantry Division, American Expeditionary Forces.

After duty with the Army of Occupation in Germany, Captain Shepherd sailed for home in July 1919. In September, he returned to France for duty in connection with preparing relief maps of the battlefields on which the 4th Brigade of Marines had fought.

Between the Wars

Shepherd returned to the U.S. in December 1920, and was assigned as White House Aide and Aide-de-Camp to the Commandant of the Marine Corps, Major General John A. Lejeune.

In July 1922, he took command of a selected company of Marines at the Brazil's Centennial Exposition in Rio de Janeiro.

In June 1923, Shepherd was ordered to sea duty as Commanding Officer of the Marine Detachment on the USS Idaho (BB-24). This tour was followed by duty at the Marine Barracks, Norfolk, where he commanded the Sea School. In April 1927, Shepherd sailed for expeditionary duty in China, where he served in the 3rd Marine Brigade in Tientsin and Shanghai.

Shepherd returned to the U.S. in 1929, and entered the Naval War College at Newport, RI. Following graduation in May 1937, he commanded the 2nd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, part of the newly formed Fleet Marine Force (FMF), Atlantic, which was being extensively employed in the development of amphibious tactics and techniques.

In June 1939, he was ordered to the Staff of Marine Corps Schools, Quantico, VA, where he served during the next three years as Director, Correspondence School; Chief of the Tactical Section; Officer in Charge of the Candidates Class; and Assistant Commandant.

World War II

In March 1942, four months after the U.S. entry into World War II, Colonel Shepherd was ordered to command the 9th Marine Regiment. He organized, trained, and took the unit overseas as part of the 3rd Marine Division.

Upon appointment to Brigadier General in July 1943 while serving on Guadalcanal, Shepherd was assigned as Assistant Division Commander of the 1st Marine Division. In this capacity, he participated in the Cape Gloucester operation on New Britain from December 1943 through March 1944.

Shepherd assumed command of the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade in May 1944 and led it in the invasion and subsequent recapture of Guam during July and August 1944. For distinguished leadership in this operation, Shepherd was promoted to Major General.

After organizing the 6th Marine Division from the Brigade, Shepherd commanded it throughout the Battle of Okinawa and subsequently took the Division to Tsingtao, China. There, on 25 October 1945, he received the surrender of the Japanese forces in this area.


Several months later, Shepherd returned to the U.S. and in March 1946, organized the Troop Training Command, Amphibious Forces, Atlantic Fleet, at NAB Little Creek, VA. On 1 November of the same year, he was ordered to duty as Assistant to the Commandant and Chief of Staff of Marine Corps Headquarters. He remained at this post until April 1948, when he was assigned to Quantico where he served as Commandant of the Marine Corps Schools until June 1950.

When the Korean War erupted, Shepherd was in command of the Fleet Marine Force (FMF), Pacific, with Headquarters at Pearl Harbor. In this capacity, he played a major role in the amphibious assault at Inchon and the evacuation of U.S. forces from Hungnam following their withdrawal from the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea in December 1950. On 1 January 1952, President Harry S. Truman appointed Shepherd as the 20th Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps (CMC).

During Shepherd's four-year appointment as Commandant, he initiated a number of important policies that resulted in increased military proficiency for the Corps. He was the first Commandant to become a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Shepherd retired from active service with the Marine Corps on 1 January 1956.


Two months after his retirement, Shepherd was recalled to active duty and appointed Chairman of the Inter-American Defense Board. During his three and a half years of service with this international organization, Shepherd, through his leadership and diplomacy, made substantial contributions towards plans for the defense of the continent. He also promoted military solidarity among the military forces of the republics of the Western Hemisphere. He relinquished his duties with the Inter-American Defense Board on 15 September 1959.

Medals and Awards

Navy Cross
Distinguished Service Cross
Navy Distinguished Service Medal with 2 Stars
Silver Star Medal with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters
Legion of Merit with Valor Device and 1 Oak Leaf Cluster
Bronze Star Medal with Valor Device
Purple Heart with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters and 1 Star
Navy Presidential Unit Citation with 3 Stars
Navy Unit Commendation with 1 Star
World War I Victory Medal with 4 Stars
Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal with 1 Star
Yangtze Service Medal
China Service Medal
American Defense Service Medal
American Campaign Medal
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with 4 Bronze Stars
World War II Victory Medal
Navy Occupation Service Medal
National Defense Service Medal
Korean Service Medal with 2 Bronze Stars
United Nations Korea Medal
Croix de guerre with Gilt Star
Medaille pour la Bravoure Militaire (Montenegro) with Crossed Swords and Palm
Haitian National Order of Honour and Merit
Haitian Distinguished Service Medal
Order of the Cloud and Banner, Second Grade
Order of Military Merit, Taeguk Cordon Medal
Presidential Unit Citation (Korea)
Bronze Plaque with Diploma Commemorative Especial
Naval Order of Merit, Grand Officer Argentine
Naval Order of Merit, Grand Officer Brazil
Grand Cross of Naval Merit of Spain
Abdon Calderon, First Class, Republic of Ecuador
Military Order of the Ayacucho, Grand Officer, Peru
Grand Cross, National Order of Merit of Paraguay
Military Medal of the Army, First Class Chile
Medal of Military Merit of Mexico, First Class
Legion of Honor, Grade of Commander
Brazilian Order of Military Merit, Degree of Grand Officer
Military Cross Second Class (Belgium)
National Order of Military Merit of Paraguay, Grade of Grand Officer
French Fourragère

Death and Burial

General Lemuel Cornick Shepherd, Jr. died on 6 August 1990 at his home in La Jolla, CA, from bone cancer. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA, in Section 7.

Honoree ID: 422   Created by: MHOH




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