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Last Rank
Last Primary NEC
165X-Special Duty Officer - Public Affairs
Last Rating/NEC Group
Line Officer
Primary Unit
1965-1965, USS Claude V. Ricketts (DDG-5)
Service Years
1942 - 1947

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Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Steven Loomis (SaigonShipyard), IC3 to remember SHEPLER, Dwight, CDR.

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Contact Info
Home Town
Everett, Massachusetts
Last Address
Parents: Joseph M Shepler (1869 - 1951) and Winifred Johnson Shepler (1872 - 1955)
Spouse: Helen M. Shepler (1901 - 1985)
Died: September 2, 1974 Weston, Massachusetts
Burial: Hillside Cemetery
Townsend, Middlesex County, Massachusetts

Date of Passing
Sep 01, 1974
Location of Interment
Hillside Cemetery - Townsend, Massachusetts
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

 Official Badges 

WW II Honorable Discharge Pin

 Unofficial Badges 

Blue Star

 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

Commander Dwight C. Shepler

WWII - Combat Artist and Illustrator - USNR
Active duty: 1942-1947 and again in 1965

Dwight Clark Shepler was born at Everett, Massachusetts and was graduated from Williams College in 1928, also studying at the Boston Museum School of Fine Art.

In May 1942 he received a commission in the Navy’s officer-artist program and soon saw combat in the South Pacific, initially from on board San Juan (CL 54) at the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands and then at Guadalcanal. In 1943, he went to England and in 1944 joined Emmons for the Normandy invasion, going ashore 11 June. With events fresh in his mind and captured on film, he went home to Massachusetts to prepare more detailed paintings, then returned to the Pacific. Embarked in destroyer Flusser, he observed the landings at Ormoc Bay and Lingayen Gulf and, from a PT boat, operations at Corregidor and Bataan. Again at home to finish the last of his more than 300 paintings plus two large murals for the U.S. Naval Academy, he retired from active duty with the rank of commander and was awarded the Bronze Star.

After the war, he continued his career painting landscapes, sports scenes and portraits in watercolor as well as commercial illustrations and advertisements. He also remained active as an educator and was President of the Guild of Boston Artists. He he died in 1974.

Other Comments:

The following biography is from The Navy Museum,
U.S. Navy Art Collection:

Dwight Clark Shepler
Birth - 11 August 1905 (Everett, Massachusetts)
Death - September 1974
Lived/Active - Massachusetts Often Known For military action, portrait, landscape.

Born in Everett, Massachusetts in 1905, Dwight Shepler graduated from Williams College and taught painting in several Boston area schools. Best known for watercolors of his favorite sports - skiing and sailing - Shepler also created illustrations and advertisements for a number of major magazines and corporations.

In May 1942, he already had applied for a commission in the Navy when he submitted a portfolio to the Navy’s expanding officer-artist program, at the suggestion of Griffith Baily Coale, the New York artist responsible for overseeing the program from within the Navy’s Office of Public Relations. Commissioned Lieutenant Junior Grade in the Naval Reserve, Shepler was the first officer-artist to be sent into a combat zone. For his first tour, he reported to Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, Commander-in-Chief of the Pacific Fleet, Honolulu, who gave his blessing to the project. A few days later, Shepler was standing watch and sketching on board the USS San Juan (CL-54), a cruiser headed for the South Pacific. It was on board the San Juan that Shepler saw his first action, in the Battle of Santa Cruz. After manning his battle station, he made sketches and notes, which he later turned into compelling depictions of the fight. One painting shows the San Juan narrowly escaping a Japanese dive bomber attack.

Shepler finished as many paintings in the field as he could before clearing them with local censors and sending them on to Washington. In late November 1942, Shepler left the San Juan, going ashore on Guadalcanal. There he accompanied Marines on patrol in the jungle and experienced almost daily shelling. He created vivid depictions of the treatment and evacuation of the wounded.

After spending six months in the South Pacific, Shepler was sent to England, where he spent the summer and fall of 1943 illustrating antisubmarine warfare activities. Next, he received orders to report to the USS Emmons (DD-457). On the night of 5 June 1944, the Emmons went into action to protect the minesweepers off the Normandy coast. During the first three days of the D-Day invasion, the ship gave fire support to the First Division on shore, often engaging in hot artillery duels with German batteries. On 11 June, Shepler made his own landing on Omaha Beach, and for the next two weeks, he recorded invasion operations. Afterward, he flew to London and, after a short trip to Cherbourg, returned to the United States. With events fresh in his mind, Shepler asked for permission to paint at his personal studio in Massachusetts, where he would have the quiet he needed to execute his ideas. It was there he completed one of his most dramatic canvases, “The Battle for Fox Green Beach,” a panorama of the shore line action as he saw it from the Emmons.

Four months later, Shepler was sent back to the Pacific, to cover what many hoped would be the closing campaign against Japan. In late November, he reported on board the USS Flusser (DD-368) in the Philippines and witnessed the Ormoc landings on Leyte Island. He wrote his superiors that he had witnessed the severest episodes of his two-and-one-half years of duty and was amazed he had survived intact. He later saw action in the Lingayen Gulf on board a subchaser and then from a PT boat during the Corregidor and Bataan landings. Finally at the end of May 1945, Shepler returned home to finish the paintings he had planned as well as to paint two large murals at the U.S. Naval Academy.

In 1947, he left active duty and returned to his civilian subjects. For his service, Commander Shepler was awarded the Bronze Star. In the 1960s the Navy reincarnated its art program with civilian artists, calling it the Navy Art Cooperation and Liaison (NACAL) Committee. Shepler signed on for a NACAL assignment in 1965 on board USS Claude V. Ricketts (DDG-5) to create a series of works about the ship’s activities. Until his death in 1974, Shepler maintained his contact with the Navy and his art in the collection.

In addition to the dramatic battle scenes Shepler captured on paper and canvas, he was also very skilled at capturing faces. He coaxed a wide variety of people to sit for his pencil - from great commanders, such as Marine Corps Major General A.A. Vandergrift and Admiral William F. Halsey, Jr., at Guadalcanal, to junior officers and enlisted men, to local civilians and Japanese prisoners of war. The Navy Art Collection contains 225 original works by Shepler. About 150 of these are watercolors. The rest are works in oil, charcoal, pastel or pencil.

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 Duty Stations
Fleet Public Affairs CenterUS Pacific Command (USCINCPAC/USPACOM)US NavyFleet Public Affairs Center/Fleet Public Affairs Center Pacific (FPACPAC)
US Naval Academy Annapolis (Faculty Staff)USS Claude V. Ricketts (DDG-5)
  1942-1942, Fleet Public Affairs Center
  1942-1942, US Pacific Command (USCINCPAC/USPACOM)
  1942-1942, USS San Juan (CL-54)
  1942-1943, Fleet Public Affairs Center Pacific (FPACPAC)/Detachment Hawaii
  1943-1943, Fleet Public Affairs Center/Fleet Public Affairs Center Atlantic (FPACLANT)
  1943-1944, USS Emmons (DD-457)
  1944-1944, Fleet Public Affairs Center
  1944-1945, USS Flusser (DD-368)
  1945-1946, Fleet Public Affairs Center
  1946-1947, US Naval Academy Annapolis (Faculty Staff)
  1948-1964, Broken Service
  1965-1965, USS Claude V. Ricketts (DDG-5)
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1942-1942 Guadalcanal Campaign (1942-42)/Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands
  1942-1942 World War II/Asiatic-Pacific Theater/Guadalcanal Campaign (1942-42)
  1944-1944 Normandy Campaign (1944)/Operation Overlord
  1944-1944 Leyte Campaign (1944)/Battle of Ormoc Bay
  1944-1945 World War II/Asiatic-Pacific Theater/Luzon Campaign (1944-45)
  1945-1945 Luzon Campaign (1944-45)/Invasion of Lingayen Gulf
  1945-1945 Luzon Campaign (1944-45)/Battle of Corregidor
  1945-1945 Luzon Campaign (1944-45)/Battle of Bataan, Recapture
 Colleges Attended 
Williams College
  1924-1928, Williams College
  1930-1932, School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
 Other News, Events and Photographs
  Dwight Clark Shepler20
  Biography: Dwight Clark Shepler7
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