28 February 1941 – The Republic F-84 Thunderjet was an American turbojet fighter-bomber aircraft. Originating as a 1944 United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) proposal for a “day fighter”, the F-84 first flew in 1946. Although it entered service in 1947, the Thunderjet was plagued by so many structural and engine problems that a 1948
Donald W. Shepperd
“One day an old, gray, bent and stooped Misty will hold his great-grandson in his lap and the young child will be fondling a dusty set of military medals, and he’ll look in the eyes of his great-grandfather and ask, “Were you a war hero?”
The old man’s eyes will mist, his mind will flood with memories, he’ll see tracers passing close to his canopy and feel the shock waves of triple-A rounds beating against the fuselage. He will see black flak exploding in the air and hear the depressing sound of parachute beepers.
His heart rate will increase as he gets low on fuel and warning lights flash on the instrument panel. He will feel the sharp thump of rounds impacting his aircraft and smell acrid smoke in the cockpit. He will look in the rearview mirror and see flames. He will hear the voices of men on fire and in danger. He will once again encounter the depressed feel of landing after losing a comrade or failing on a rescue attempt.
He will clear the lump in his throat and whisper quietly and truthfully, “No, son, but I flew with men who were.”” – from Don Shepperd’s book Misty.
Major General Donald W. Shepperd was the Director, Air National Guard, The Pentagon, Washington, D.C. As Director, he was responsible for formulating, developing, and coordinating all programs, policies, and plans affecting the almost 117,000 Air Guard members in more than 1,300 units throughout the United States, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Virgin Islands.
Donald W. “Shep” Shepperd grew up in Colorado and graduated from the fourth class of the United States Air Force Academy in 1962.
He flew almost 5,000 hours in fighters (F-100, A-37, A-7, F-106, F-15) throughout his military career in Europe, Asia, and the U.S. including 247 combat missions in Vietnam. He was a “Misty” Fast-FAC in the F-100 over North Vietnam.
He flew for TWA, was the National Sales Manager for Grumman-American Aviation Corporation selling light aircraft, and retired from the Pentagon as a Major General and head of the Air National Guard after 39 ½ years in uniform.
He covered the Gulf Wars for CNN.
Don Shepperd served as President and Chairman of the Board of the Super Sabre Society from 2015-2019.
He is an author with five current books on Amazon. His book Bury Us Upside Down was published by Random House and has become a Vietnam air war classic.