|H. Hugh Shelton|
General Henry H. Shelton, U.S. Army
January 2, 1942|
Tarboro, North Carolina
|Service/||United States Army|
|Years of service||1963–2001|
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff|
United States Special Operations Command
XVIII Airborne Corps
82nd Airborne Division
Invasion of Panama
Operation Uphold Democracy
War on Terror
Defense Distinguished Service Medal (4)|
Army Distinguished Service Medal (3)
Legion of Merit (2)
Bronze Star Medal (4, with "V" Device)
Chairman, Board of Directors, Red Hat Corporation|
Director, Anheuser Busch
Director, Anteon International
Director, Protective Products of America
Early life, family and education
Born in Tarboro, North Carolina, Shelton was raised just outside the small town of Speed, North Carolina. North Carolina Highway 122, which runs through Speed to Hobgood, North Carolina (right past the homestead he was raised on), was later named "General Henry Hugh Shelton Hwy" in his honor. Shelton attended North Carolina State University, and was a member of Pershing Rifles. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in textile engineering while earning his Army commission through Reserve Officers' Training Corps training. Shelton's further education includes a Master of Science degree in political science from Auburn University at Montgomery in 1973 as well as studies at the Air Command and Staff College and the National War College. Shelton married Carolyn L. Johnson in 1963; the pair have three sons together.
Shelton served two tours of duty in the Vietnam War with the 5th Special Forces Group, and with the 173rd Airborne Brigade, followed by a series of command and staff assignments. Following the Gulf War, Shelton commanded the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg in his home state of North Carolina. In 1993, he was given command of XVIII Airborne Corps. Shelton led the Joint Task Force responsible for Operation Uphold Democracy in Haiti in 1994. In 1996, Shelton, a Special Forces soldier, was promoted to the rank of general and the position of Commander in Chief of United States Special Operations Command (SOCOM). He was the first Graduate of the U.S. Army Special Forces Program to command SOCOM.
Upon the retirement of John M. Shalikashvili, Shelton was appointed Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on October 1, 1997. Shelton led the planning of the Kosovo War in 1999 during his time in office. Later he coined the phrase "Dover test", testing the support for a war based on the reaction of the people after seeing American casualties returning at the Dover Air Force Base. During the events of September 11, 2001, Shelton was on a plane traveling to a NATO meeting in Europe, but turned back and returned to Washington. Already scheduled to retire in October, Shelton spent his last weeks in office coordinating military plans to destroy al-Qaeda and Taliban forces in Afghanistan and helping to develop an interagency strategy to defeat, disrupt, and degrade terrorist activities around the world. These would form the basis of Operation Enduring Freedom and the global War on Terror. Upon Shelton's end of term, President George W. Bush nominated then-Vice Chairman Air Force General Richard Myers, who was sworn in on October 1, 2001.
In 2002 Shelton founded the General Hugh Shelton Leadership Center at North Carolina State University. The center was created to "inspire, educate, and develop values-based leaders, both locally and globally, committed to personal integrity, professional ethics, and selfless service."
In his retirement, Shelton joined the Board of Directors of Red Hat Corporation in April 2003, and was elected that board's chairman in 2010. He also holds directorships at Anheuser Busch, Anteon International and Protective Products of America. At his alma mater of North Carolina State University, the General Hugh Shelton Leadership Center was founded in 2002 and grants scholarships to young men and women whom are committed to personal integrity, professional ethics, and selfless service.
Shelton also served as an advisor to Senator John Edwards' presidential campaign from 2003–2004. Shelton created a minor controversy for 2004 Democratic presidential candidate, retired U.S. Army General Wesley Clark, a subordinate of Shelton's during the 1999 Kosovo military actions, when he stated: "I will tell you the reason [Clark] came out of Europe early had to do with integrity and character issues, things that are very near and dear to my heart. I'll just say Wes won't get my vote," casting doubt upon Clark's candidacy.
On March 1, 2008, Shelton announced his endorsement of Senator Hillary Clinton for the 2008 Democratic Presidential Primary, stating, "I've been with Senator Clinton when she has been with our military men and women. I know from those experiences that she understands the demands and sacrifice of military life. I am confident she will always put the readiness and well being of our troops first. She is ready to be Commander-in-Chief." Shelton was the second Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to endorse Clinton, the first being General John Shalikashvili.
On October 12, 2010, Shelton published his autobiography, Without Hesitation: The Odyssey of an American Warrior, along with coauthors Ron Levinson and Malcolm McConnell. An excerpt tells the story of a high-ranking Clinton Cabinet member proposing that Shelton intentionally allow an American pilot to be killed by the Iraqis to have an excuse to retaliate and go to war. The book also tells of Bill Clinton's tearful confession to Shelton; a time during the Clinton administration when a close Clinton aide lost possession of the "biscuit" (top secret presidential nuclear launch authorization codes); details of a contentious Camp David meeting among President George W. Bush and his National Security Council immediately after 9/11, where internal battle lines were drawn. His book also says there were multiple attempts to kill Osama bin Laden that were shot down by Madeleine Albright.
On October 24, 2010, Shelton appeared on This Week with Christiane Amanpour, on December 6, 2010 appeared on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and on December 30, 2010 appeared on The Charlie Rose Show on PBS and Bloomberg TV, to promote the publication of his memoir.
On October 20, 2012, Shelton was honored at the 6th Annual Brian & Kendra's Bluegrass Party in Speed, North Carolina. He was presented with a Distinguished Achievements plaque and a roadside display at the entrance of Speed, NC honoring his hometown and acknowledging of his achievements.
Shelton and his wife, Carolyn, established the Hugh and Carolyn Shelton Military Neurotrauma Foundation in 2005 to fund research into traumatic brain injury among military personnel.
Decorations and badges
Shelton's decorations and medals include:
- "Biography of Henry Hugh Shelton". Associated Press; The Dispatch. 1994-09-21. Retrieved 27 October 2011.
- "Who Did That Sign Say?" p. 4 Archived 27 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine.
- Stout, David (1997-09-17). "Man in the News: Henry Hugh Shelton; General Who Sets Pace". NY Times. Retrieved 27 October 2011.
- "Ex-Joint Chiefs chair undergoes spinal surgery". CNN. 29 May 2002. Archived from the original on 13 May 2008. Retrieved 27 October 2011.
- Stout, David; (1997) pg.1
- "Time to take the Dover test". CNN. 3 November 2003. Archived from the original on 19 January 2012. Retrieved 27 October 2011.
- "Larry King Live". http://www.patriotresource.com/wtc/federal/1001/shelton.html. 2001-10-01. CNN. Missing or empty
- http://www.jcs.mil/About/The-Joint-Staff/Chairman/General-Henry-Hugh-Shelton/. Missing or empty
- "General Hugh Shelton Elected Chairman of Red Hat Board of Directors". Red Hat, INc. 30 August 2010. Retrieved 31 August 2010.
- Alan M. Wolf (30 August 2010). "Red Hat names Gen. Shelton as chairman". News & Observer (Raleigh). Archived from the original on 31 August 2010. Retrieved 31 August 2010.
- Arkin, William (2003-12-07). "The General Unease With Wesley Clark". LA Times. Retrieved 27 October 2011.
- "Los Altos Town Crier – Gen. Shelton shocks Celebrity Forum, says he won't support Clark for president". Losaltosonline.com. 2003-09-24. Retrieved 7 December 2010.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 5 March 2008. Retrieved 2 March 2008.
- "General Hugh Shelton – News". Hughshelton.com. 2010-08-30. Retrieved 8 December 2010.
- "Bill Clinton Wept Over the Monica Lewinsky Scandal – Washington Whispers (usnews.com)". Politics.usnews.com. 2010-10-04. Retrieved 8 December 2010.
- Lauren Frayer Contributor (7 December 1941). "General: Clinton Lost 'The Biscuit' – Nuclear Codes". Aolnews.com. Archived from the original on 24 November 2010. Retrieved 8 December 2010.
- Tencer, Daniel (2010-10-13). "Ex-top soldier: Iraq war 'fiasco' due to Rumsfeld's 'lies'". Raw Story. Retrieved 8 December 2010.
- "100827-02 Gen. Hugh Shelton statue dedicated at ASOM". News.soc.mil. 27 August 2010. Archived from the original on 27 September 2011. Retrieved 8 December 2010.
- "Gen. Shelton On Jon Stewart: Extended Interview With Opinions On WikiLeaks, Iran, DADT". Huffingtonpost.com. 2010-12-07. Retrieved 3 January 2011.
- "The Hugh and Carolyn Shelton Military Neurotrauma Foundation". The Hugh and Carolyn Shelton Military Neurotrauma Foundation. Retrieved June 27, 2015.
- Brooks, Drew. "Ret. Gen. Hugh Shelton: Standing up for what's right is what great leaders do". FayObserver.com. Fayetteville Observer. Retrieved 9 August 2017.
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