CAPT William Liebe Captain Liebe commanded VAW-123 and was the Wing Commander for over three years (1989-1992), including during Desert Storm. He was on the leading edge of “second generation pioneers,” clearly envisioning the Hawkeye’s potential to become the “Centerpiece of the Battlegroup”. He led at a critical juncture when development of the Group II aircraft was in doubt. While others fought the battle inside the Beltway, Commodore Liebe was instrumental in influencing Fleet leadership to acknowledge the E-2’s critical role while urging them to demand further system improvement. He specifically focused his squadrons on working collaboratively with the burgeoning AEGIS community to produce a single coherent battle management picture. This paid long-term dividends as battle group commanders became strong advocates for the community. Commodore Liebe focused staff efforts on combat readiness. This was most évident when VAW-126 flew aboard JFK with FIVE FMC aircraft en route to Operation Desert Storm. Similarly equipped, VAW-123 and VAW-125 followed close behind. Throughout Desert Shield/Storm, he went to extraordinary lengths to ensure 100% FMC squadrons at the tip of the spear. Following VAW-126’s loss of AG-602 and five crewmembers in July 1992, Commodore Liebe identified the best replacement aircraft on the waterfront, as well as replacement aircrew. Thanks to his efforts, the Seahawks reported Full Combat Readiness when they deployed less than six weeks later. When the investigation identified Kapton wiring as the cause of the accident, he directed wing-wide inspections which helped NAVAIR identify the scope of the problem. He then provided the guidance/assets required to assist Grumman in re-wiring the entire east coast fleet of aircraft — an enormous balancing act, matching repaired aircraft with squadrons as operations demanded. Among the many other hurdles encountered as wing commander, Commodore Liebe managed the difficult task of replacing exhausted outer wing panels, without degrading squadron readiness or aircrew proficiency. He also directed Counter-Drug Operations, while adhering to PERSTEMPO requirements. He even managed to save VAW122 from imminent decommissioning, when to do so would have meant the end of any reasonable expectation of PERSTEMPO compliance, or the creation of gaps in counter-drug surveillance.
Captain Liebe’s dedication to the Community, innovative vision regarding the E-2’s future capabilities, and extraordinary leadership, laid the groundwork for our current successes and helped ensure our key position in today’s battlegroup.
CAPT Peter Shepard Captain Shepard made significant contributions to the Hawkeye community both as a Naval Officer and as a civilian contractor from 1967 to 2013. These contributions make him especially worthy for inclusion in the Hawkeye/Greyhound Hall of Honor.
E-2B/C Aircrew: CAPT Shepard was quickly recognized as a superb E-2 Naval Flight Officer and Naval Officer. As a result of his performance, he was selected as an E-2 Test and Evaluation Officer in Patuxent River, MD.
E-2C Test Crew: Instrumental in development and testing of E-2C/APS-125 weapon systems. As project lead for the upgrade of the E-2C/APS-125, CAPT Shepard provided his leadership and guidance in development and testing of a significant improvement to E-2C radar. His contribution resulted in the smooth transition to the Fleet of this Advanced Radar Processing System (ARPS), implementing digital system processing which significantly improved sub-clutter visibility enabling enhanced performance against first, second and third generation fighters in overwater, overland, and near land environments. It also enabled automatic detection and tracking of generation four fighters in these same environments, while increasing the number of simultaneous tracks the system could handle. Components of this system reside today in the APY-9 radar.
Executive and Commanding Officer, VAW-116: For inspirational leadership to a squadron of 200+ officer and enlisted. CAPT Shepard with his extensive operational and acquisition background created a squadron of focused and dedicated professional warriors.
E-2 Program Manager: Group II introduction: CAPT Shepard was at the forefront of development and Operational Evaluation of the Group II E-2C. This E-2C advancement was critical in maintaining the Hawkeye’s relevance.
Hawkeye 2000: CAPT Shepard crafted the Hawkeye 2000 program from various system upgrades to include Co-operative Engagement Capability (CEC), Navigation upgrade and the Mission Computer Upgrade funded by CNO N-7. His leadership in marshalling support from the CNO N-86 Surface Warfare community resulted in a breakthrough in coalescing components of an integrated war fighting network. This set the stage for the Advanced Hawkeye and NIFC-CA.
In a 1993 decision briefing to the Secretary of the Navy, he presented two alternates for Navy AEW mission continuity, continue E-2 production with upgrades or field a replacement aircraft in 2024. His persuasive presentation ensured the E-2 Hawkeye would remain a funded and relevant weapon system, serving as an information integration and weapon delivery aircraft central to defending the fleet from air and missile attacks.
His partnership with Navy International Programs Office opened new E-2 sales to the governments of Taiwan, France and Egypt while supporting maintenance contracts with Singapore, Taiwan, Japan and France. These new international contracts enabled opening a new lower cost E-2 production facility in St Augustine Florida.
E-2D Advanced Hawkeye/APY-9: CAPT Shepard is the father of the Advanced Hawkeye. A visionary, he immediately understood technology emerging from a project sponsored by Captain Rod Rempt, CNO N-72, Anti-air Warfare, to enable radar capability providing unprecedented detection of small cruise missile targets at significant ranges regardless of jamming, clutter and interference. His efforts resulted in demonstrating a radar with Space-Time-Adaptive-Processing (STAP) in a mountaintop experiment and then laid out the program for integrating the radar system into to C-130 aircraft for further demonstration and refinement. This technology became a keystone in the Naval Integrated Fire Control – Counter Air (NIFC-CA) implementation which is now central to Navy’s network centric warfare operations. Because of the superb capability of this radar, developed under Captain Shepard’s stewardship as PMA and as an engineering contractor, the Advanced Hawkeye is of paramount importance to the U.S. Navy and remains fully funded, with a robust future capabilities up-grade program. VAW-124 far east forward home porting, “closer to the fight”, is strongly indicative of his superb program management and contractor contributions to E-2D successful Naval Integrated Fire-Control-Counter Air deployments.
Captain Pete Shepard’s superb performance as a E-2 operator and as the E-2 program manager is most strongly warrant his entry into the Hall of Honor.
Endorsement: Captain Mike Maurer: While serving as N-753 under then Captain Rod Rempt (N-75 Anti-Air Warfare requirements), I facilitated interaction between Captain Rempt and Captain Shepard on the central issue of which computer would integrate track data from multiple sources, Captain Shepard strongly convinced Captain Rempt that integration must occur within E-2 computing systems, nor within the CEC onboard computer. His skillful negotiation succeeded in not giving up control of E-2 computing systems to a NAVSEA program office. As an AEW wing commander in 1997, I visited the mountaintop tests to observe radar developmental testing. The early results were astounding! Transforming a proof of concept system into a highly successful state of the art radar aircraft resulted from Captain Shepard’s critical contributions to the VAW VRC community. He set the highest standards for all future VAW VRC community members to emulate. The AEW community must show our appreciation with his introduction into the Hall of Honor.
Mr. Walter Wagner (NAVAIR)
Walt Wagner spent 15 years on active duty with the Navy before joining the E-2 program office. He entered the Navy in June 1950 right out of high school, and served as an enlisted man in fighter squadrons and Ship’s Company on several aircraft carrier flight decks. The Navy sent him to Purdue in 1956 after having been accepted into the Naval Enlisted Scientific Engineering Program. He graduated with an electrical engineering degree in June, 1962. After attending specialized courses at Pensacola, he was commissioned an Ensign in October, 1962, and reported to VAH-11 in September, 1962. Then, after graduating from Naval Flight Officer’s School in Pensacola, Florida in September, 1964, he reported to VAW-11 in San Diego, California, where he became a Combat Information Center Officer (CICO) and a CICO flight instructor in the E-2A.
He was medically retired in June 1966, and was employed as an engineer by the E-2 Development Program at the Naval Air Development Center in Warminster, Pennsylvania in July of that year. In July 1968 he moved to the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) in Washington, DC, where he worked as an E-2 development engineer until being promoted to the E-2/C-2 program office as Deputy Program Manager in June 1972. Walt was the first civilian to become a Major Program Manager at NAVAIR when he relieved Captain John E. (Jack) Hoch as PMA-231 in July 1982. He left the E-2 program in July 1983 to accept an appointment to the Senior Executive Service as Assistant Deputy Commander for Strike Warfare and Assault Programs, later serving as the Director of Weapons Programs at NAVAIR. During the 11 year tenure as E-2/C-2 Deputy and Program Manager, the program office and the supporting matrix team had many trying and rewarding experiences. In that period the team successfully transitioned the fleet from the E-2B to the E-2C, meeting all cost and performance goals. The Advanced Radar Processing System was introduced to the fleet and started the new, more capable, E-2 Trac-A radar antenna development program. The first multiyear contract for the re-procurement of the C-2A was awarded. The Foreign Military Sales program had both Israeli and Japanese participation and the Egyptian and Singaporean programs were in their infancy. There were others to come, but each of these major efforts were successful only because of the exceptional technical and management skills of the Naval Air Systems Command E-2 team led by Walt Wagner. Noteworthy Awards: Vice Pres Gore’s Heroes of Reinvention Hammer Award October, 1996 Navy Distinguished Civilian Service Award March, 1990 Navy Superior Civilian Service Award June, 1982