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The Roots of Shep's Tales

Last Update: 02-10-2016

Shepherd, J.P. (Serial Number - 16 098 946)

Aside from 'kid' stories, Shep used to tell a lot of stories about being in the Army. He would often kid about being in the mess kit repair battalion, but he was really in the signal corps which was the basis for most of the stories. He was in the service from July 20, 1942 to December 16, 1944 achieving the grade of T-5. In the 'official' Army photo he is seen wearing the Signal Corps brass lapel pin, a Marksman medal (Rifle?), the Army Service Forces arm patch and what appears to be a Good Conduct Ribbon. Very little is known about his actual service, however, between his stories as told on the radio and in print, and what records are available it appears that he never went overseas spending a large amount of time in Florida at Camp Murphy after completing Signal Corps training at Camp Crowder. He tells a story about Roswell T. Edwards at his Limelight show of April 14, 1965. During the show a man in the audience stands up and it is Edwards who was now living in Manhattan. Edwards was stationed at Camp Murphy according to an April 27, 1943 article announcing his enrollment in a special course at the signal corps school at Camp Murphy. There appears to be a link to his being at Drew Field in Tampa, Florida for some period. Drew Field was used to activate many of the Signal Air Warning radar units such as the one Shep served in and was just Northwest of Camp Murphy. As pointed out in "Shep's Army" by Eugene Bergmann, in the chapter "Swamp Radar," Shep says (as transcribed from the June 20, 1964 Limelight Show), "We were assigned to the 3162nd Signal Air Warning Radar Unit, which at one point was posted deep into the heart of the Florida Everglades, and we were putting together our little unit for the trip down there." So it appears that he may have been stationed at Drew Field and went 'down there' to Camp Murphy to the South at some point. Further evidence has been uncovered by Steve Glazer in the form of a hospital admission record for Shep's service number (16098946) indicating he was admitted to the hospital at Drew Field in April 1944. It lists "First Diagnosis (code 7429) Diarrhea, cause not specified." At Camp Murphy he worked with a radar unit, probably the 801st Signal Training Regiment. In several of his Army related Playboy short stories he claims to have worked with the SCR268 Radar unit. When Camp Murphy was deactivated, in early to mid 1944 he still had time left and quite possibly was transferred to Ft Monmouth, another source of many stories. During that period he even discusses going to Ft Dix for assignment. (Laying Wire - June 27, 1964 Limelight show) On his January 31, 1978 Episode of Shepherd's Pie ("The Reunion") he tours Fort Monmouth and sits on the steps of barracks 704 which he claims to have been his barracks when he was there, and reminices. According to his 'Service Record' and 'Final Payment Roll', (see below), he was discharged through Camp Atterbury, Indiana on December 16, 1944. In later years, Shep made claims that he was in the Korean War. (Shepherd's Pie - January 31, 1978 - "The Reunion" and Weird NJ magazine Issue #3.) These claims were not true and were the product of Shep's tendency to 'bend the facts.' On October 19, 1949 Shep was approved for a monthly disability payment of $13.80 for a knee injury. What caused the injury and how long the payments were made is not known.
Related Plots and Story Lines Used
Where Shep Made Reference To This Subject
Links to Further Information:
• Camp Murphy - Wikipedia
• Drew Field - Wikipedia

Shep's Army Record

Courtesy: Ed Murphy

Roswell T Edwards - army article

Courtesy: Steve Glazer

July 20,1942
Additional Army Service Information

Courtesy: Steve Glazer

Shep in the Army

Courtesy: Dorothey Anderson

April 1944
Hospital Admission Card - Drew Field

Courtesy: Steve Glazer

December 16,1944
Shep's Army Discharge

Courtesy: Randall Shepherd

December 16,1944
Army Final Payment Roll

Courtesy: Steve Glazer

September 1945
Popular Mechanics - Laying wire from a plane in the Army

Courtesy: John Edwards

Army Marksman medal

Army Service Forces patch

Army Signal Branch Insignia

Technician Fifth Grade