John Shipley, a former director of the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command’s Aviation Integration Directorate, was posthumously inducted into the Army Acquisition Hall of Fame during a ceremony held Oct. 12, in Washington, D.C.
The Honorable Douglas R. Bush, the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology, announced the recipients of the newly established Army Acquisition Hall of Fame during the Association of the United States Army’s annual meeting.
“Over the years, the U.S. Army has transformed into an agile, diverse and modern force, delivering capabilities to our Soldiers on and off the battlefield that have enabled their success,” Bush said. “Acquisition professionals played a critical role in that transformation, and I am honored to be able to recognize a few of those professionals today. These Army Acquisition Hall of Fame recipients are more than deserving for their significant and enduring contributions in support of the Army acquisition community.”
Shipley’s long, storied career is well known throughout the Army aviation community, but he was chosen for the hall of fame specifically because of his work in pioneering the concept of aligning requirements, resourcing, and acquisition with direct user feedback to deliver the safest and most lethal special operations aviation force in the world.
Shipley, who died in 2021, served as the AID director from 1982 to 2019. During his retirement ceremony in January 2019, Gen. Gus Perna, former commander of the Army Materiel Command, said Shipley “was a legend in his own time” — a sentiment shared throughout the Army aviation and acquisition ranks.
In his nomination, current AID director, Geoff Downer, stated that Shipley “guided and mentored senior acquisition officials in the Department of Defense, Special Operations Command, and the U.S. Army for more than three decades. Most of the recent acquisition reforms we are seeing deployed are based on the streamlined processes he developed and implemented throughout his career.”
During his time as the AID director, Shipley was responsible for the development, acquisition, modernization, fielding and sustainment of the U.S. Army’s Special Operations’ classified and unclassified aviation fleet. These low-density, high-demand, classified and unclassified enablers provided the needed capabilities for special operations forces to find, fix and finish targets of national interest anywhere in the world under all conditions.
For decades, U.S. Special Operations Command, Army and DoD leadership turned to Shipley to solve some of their most difficult aviation problems to improve rotary wing aircraft performance, aircraft safety and improve survivability, as well as providing the most advanced mission equipment to enhance the warfighter’s capabilities.
“He was an incredibly talented engineer with uncompromising integrity,” Downer said. “He was also a visionary in acquisition, involving the operator in the acquisition process, being singularly focused on providing capability to the user, and constantly looking for different approaches to develop and procure equipment.”
In addition to Shipley, the 2022 inductees included: the Honorable Claude M. Bolton Jr., the Honorable Kevin Fahey and Maj. Gen. Harold J. “Harry” Greene.
The Army Acquisition Hall of Fame is open to former Army acquisition workforce professionals who served a minimum of 20 years in federal service and have been retired or separated from service at least one year. Nominees were evaluated on their significant and enduring contributions to the Army acquisition community’s historic and ongoing missions.
“The inaugural class of the Army Acquisition Hall of Fame represents the strength and dedication of the Army Acquisition Workforce,” said Lt. Gen. Robert Marion, director of the Army Acquisition Corps. “These individuals embody leadership, professionalism and the Army values. Being able to recognize them in this way represents the enduring legacy and impact they’ve had on the acquisition community, the United States Army and the nation.”