Shepherd Jr., Lemuel Cornick. born 10-02-1896 in Norfolk, Virginia, the son of Lemuel Cornick Shepherd (1864-1926) and his wife Emma Lucretia, born Cartwright Shepherd, graduated from the Virginia Military Institute in 1917, He 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 Marine Corps on 11-04-1917 and reported for active duty at the Marine Barracks, Port Royal, South Carolina, on 19-05-1917. Less than a year after reporting for duty, 2nd Lieutenant. 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, Chateau Thierry where he was twice wounded in action at Belleau Wood during the fighting there in June 1918. He returned to the front in August, rejoining the 5th Marines and saw 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 Bellau 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 1919 he returned to France. His assignment was to prepare relief maps showing the battlefields over which the US 4th Marine Brigade had fought. Shepherd returned to the States 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
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. Lejeune died age 75 on 20-11-1942. In March 1942, four months after the United States entry into World War II, Colonel Shepherd took command of the 9th Marine Regiment. He organized, trained, and took the unit overseas as part of the 3rd Marine Division, nickname “Fighting Third” . Upon promotion to Brigadier General in July 1943, he served on Guadalcanal. Brigadier General Shepherd was assigned as Assistant Division Commander of the 1st Marine Division, nickname “Blue Diamond” , former commander Alexander Vandegrift
The battle for Guadalcanal would cost the 1st Marine Division 650 killed in action, 1.278 wounded in action with a further 8.580 contracting malaria and 31 missing in action. The month of fighting against the 14th Division (Imperial Japanese Army) on Peleliu cost the 1st Marine Division 1.252 dead and 5.274 wounded. Fighting on Okinawa cost the division 1.655 killed in action. In this capacity, he participated in the Cape Gloucester operation on New Britain from December 1943 through March 1944, where he was awarded a Legion of Merit for distinguished service in command of operations in the Borgan Bay area. In May 1944, Shepherd assumed command of the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade and led them in the invasion and subsequent recapture of Guam during July and August 1944
For distinguished leadership in this operation, Shepherd received his first Distinguished Service Medal and was promoted to Major General. After organizing the 6th Marine Division, nickname “The Striking Sixth” from the Brigade, Shepherd commanded it throughout the Battle of Okinawa and subsequently took the Division to Tsingtao, China. The Battle of Okinawa was a long one, lasting 82 days. The Sixth Marine Division had nearly 1.700 Marines and Navy Medical Corpsmen who were killed in action or died of wounds, with more than 7.400 being wounded in action. It has been said that when a military unit suffers ten percent casualties it loses its effectiveness. Such was not the case in the Sixth Marine Division. The highest casualty rates were in the rifle companies, many of which were reduced to the level of under strength platoons, with non commissioned officers commanding them. While being nowhere near as effective as when at full strength, these under strength units were still coherent Marine Companies and still fighting.
There, 25-10-1945, he received the surrender of the Japanese forces in this area. For exceptionally meritorious service as Commanding General of the 6thMarine Division in the assault and occupation of Okinawa, April 01-04-to 21-06-1945, he was awarded a Gold Star in lieu of a second Distinguished Service Medal .
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 15-09-1959. Shepherd died on 06-06-1990 at his home in La Jolla, California, from bone cancer. He was buried with his wife Virginia, born Driver, who died old age 91, on 29-11-1989, with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery. Close by in Section 7, the Major General, Commander 1st Division Northwest, Clift Andrus, Major General, Commander 35th Division, Paul Baade, Air Force Lieutenant General, Operation “Market Garden”, Louis Brereton and General, Chief of Staff of Sixth Army, George Decker, General, Vice Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army, John “Ed” Hull. General, Commander 85th Infantry Division nickname “Custer”, , Wade “Ham” Haislip . The 85th Infantry Division had total battle casualties: 8.774, killed in action: 1.561, wounded in action: 6.314, missing in action: 402 and prisoner of war: 497.