By Kari Hawkins, AMCJuly 17, 2018
FORT EUSTIS, Va. -- John Shipley can't talk much about the job he does for the Army as the Aviation and Missile Command's director of Special Programs (Aviation) and as the executive director of the command's Aviation Integration Directorate. But, his awards speak a thousand words.
In the course of his 35-plus-year career, Shipley has received three Presidential Rank Awards -- two meritorious and one distinguished; the Order of St. Michael Award -- both bronze and gold; and a Department of the Army Superior Civilian Service Award. He has also been selected as the civilian of the year for both the Army Aviation Association of America and the Joseph P. Cribbins, Redstone/Huntsville Chapter of the Association of the U.S. Army; and was the first civilian selected as an honorary member of the 160th Special Operation Aviation Regiment (Airborne).
But, the list of accomplishments doesn't stop there. Shipley now has another honor to add to that growing list -- his third selection for the Meritorious Executive Presidential Rank Award.
Shipley has served as director of AMCOM Special Operations since 1991, working out of an office at Fort Eustis, Virginia. He is responsible for the development, acquisition, modernization, fielding and sustainment of the Army's Special Operations Forces fleet of uniquely configured aviation vehicles. These low density, high demand classified and unclassified aviation enablers provide needed capability for Special Operations Forces to find, fix and finish targets of national interest anywhere in the world under all conditions.
Shipley also serves as the airworthiness release authority of the Army's Special Operations Forces aviation assets, and is a member of the General Officer Steering Committee for all Army aviation. As the executive director of AMCOM's Aviation Integration Directorate, her oversees a team of nine program offices and manages a budget of more than $600 million and more than 220 personnel.
During the past two decades, Shipley's management skills and persistence in streamlining acquisition has provided aviation capabilities on an extremely accelerated schedule, providing Special Operations Forces with the ability to strike anywhere in the world in the war against terrorism, and in the most extreme conditions of hostility, terrain and distance, according to his nomination packet. He also led a team in support of the Army's Aviation Restructure Initiative, and continually facilitates lessons learned between the Special Operations aviation community and the conventional force aviation community.
Shipley helped write the requirements and oversee the design and procurement of a fleet of Special Operations Forces of Chinook, Black Hawk and Little Bird helicopters that are specialized for unique mission sets while also sharing commonalities that enable readiness, reduce sustainment costs and improve aircrew training. Shipley also leads efforts to adapt new technologies into manned rotary wing and unmanned aircraft systems, and to develop Aviation Survivability Equipment.
Shipley is a legend in the aviation community, according to his nomination packet, which says "Army, DOD and Congressional senior leaders seek out his council on a regular basis, making him an incredible asset to this nation. He has served and continues to serve as a mentor and confidant on aviation and threat-related issues. Mr. Shipley's leadership and natural ability to positively affect change enables Special Operations Forces aviation readiness and mission accomplishment in a high op-tempo and rapidly changing environment, making him very deserving of this award."