Colonel Jerry Wayne Shipman was born 25 January 1944 in Tacoma, Washington. He grew up in Sand Springs, Oklahoma, and enrolled in the Air Force ROTC program at the University of Oklahoma. After graduation and commissioning in 1966, he completed Combat Crew training and Rotary Wing Flight training and was assigned to the 809th Combat Support Group at Warren Air Force Base, WY, flying UH-1F helicopters.
As a Captain in 1972, he completed H-53 helicopter training at Hill Air Force Base, Ogden, UT, and was assigned to the 40th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron in Nakhon Phanom, Thailand. The squadron flew the Super Jolly Green helicopter in combat rescue missions. Shipman was part of an historic rescue of the longest successful evader in North Vietnam. This rescue mission took the combined efforts of most of the USAF aircraft in Southeast Asia. For his efforts he was awarded his first Silver Star.
Shipman made the first and only successful night rescue over a heavily defended area using a night landing system and night vision goggles and received his second Silver Star. He also received the Distinguished Flying Cross for outstanding airmanship under hostile fire and adverse weather conditions. He flew more than 60 combat missions during the Vietnam War.
Following his service in Vietnam, Shipman was assigned to senior officer positions involving air rescue and recovery training, and long-range planning and development. He was promoted to Colonel in 1982 and retired from the Air Force in 1986. In addition to two Silver Stars, Shipman's awards also include the Legion of Merit, the Combat Readiness Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Air Force Presidential Unit Citation, and Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross.
Shipman participates in community and scholarship projects and has provided leadership to organizations such as the Better Business Bureau and Rotary Club.