- "Five years ago, I lost 30,000 men in the blink of an eye. And the world just fuckin' watched. Tomorrow, there would be no shortage of volunteers and no shortage of patriots. I know you understand."
- — General Shepherd's last words.
Lieutenant General Shepherd was an officer in the United States Army in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 who commanded the United States Marine Corps, U.S. Army Rangers, Task Force 141 and his own elite army that was known as Shadow Company. He started out as a supporting character for the player in Modern Warfare 2 only to reveal himself as the main antagonist of the game and the grand architect of World War III. He wielded a .44 Magnum as his signature weapon, though the player could only acquire it in the level, "Museum".
The Second Russian Civil War
General Shepherd served as the supreme commander of the U.S. military forces during the course of the Second Russian Civil War including the Marine Corps' Force Reconnaissance units. When Al-Asad executed Al-Fulani, it triggered an invasion of the Middle East by the U.S. in search of Al-Asad. As the Marines fought in the capital city of an unnamed Middle Eastern country, a nuclear device went off which practically wiped out the entire U.S. invasion force. 30,000 Marines were killed in action by the explosion, this includes Captain "Deadly" Pelayo, Lt. Vasquez and Sergeant Paul Jackson, as well as an unconfirmed amount of OpFor soldiers.
The Inter-War Period
Losing 30,000 troops under his command affected the General greatly, causing Shepherd to develop a negative view of the world and international politics. In the time following his invasion of the Persian Gulf, he sought new ways of restoring the United States' reputation as a global power as well as its military might. Unknown to the others, he also secretly attempted to restore his own reputation as a military commander.
Sometime between 2011 and 2013, Shepherd with the help of John "Soap" MacTavish created Task Force 141. They evaluated the recruits from the special forces units of the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia. Shepherd also traveled to Mexico to recruit a former S.A.S. member named Simon "Ghost" Riley.
In 2013, Shepherd commanded the 141 in a mission code-named "Operation Kingfish" which he sent the TF-141 operatives, Captain John Price, Captain John "Soap" MacTavish, Lieutenant Simon "Ghost" Riley, Sergeant Gary "Roach" Sanderson and the Delta Force operatives, Sandman and Derek "Frost" Westbrook to an Ultranationalist compound in Ukraine on a mission to apprehend or kill an individual code-named, "Kingfish" who was revealed to be Vladimir Makarov. The mission ended in a failure as a large force of Ultranationalist troops attacked the Task Force. Most of them survived with the apparent exception of Price who stayed behind to allow the others to escape.
Also during this time, Shepherd created Shadow Company which was an elite military force that was fiercely loyal to Shepherd which he used to his own ends.
- "Makarov is no prize. He’s a whore. A mad-dog killer for the highest bidder."
- — Shepherd to PFC Joseph Allen about Makarov.
In 2016, General Shepherd served as the commander of the Army Rangers in Afghanistan and focused his efforts on the OpFor's occupation of the country and seemingly the manhunt for international terrorist Vladimir Makarov. Shepherd felt that no justice was sought for the men and women that he lost five years prior and the U.S. military's power waned over the years. These feelings would eventually drive him to carry his goal of igniting a war between Ultranationalist Russia and the United States of America. To increase the power and standing of the military, Shepherd needed an enemy and something to rally the entire nation behind him. After hearing about Makarov's increased terrorist attacks throughout Europe in three years since Operation Kingfish, Shepherd believed that Makarov's presence as a mark could indirectly help bring his desired changes about.
After seeing a number of people running the Pit, Shepherd hand-picked Private First Class Joseph Allen who was a fellow Ranger to go undercover within Makarov's terrorist group during their attack on Zakhaev International Airport. However, Makarov was aware of Allen's true identity (which Shepherd probably deliberately leaked to Makarov in order to start the war). Makarov murdered the American and left his body behind in order to place the blame solely on the United States.
World War III
The Russian Invasion
The Russian authorities discovered Allen's body at the scene and confirmed his real identity just as Shepherd planned. This incident prompted an infuriated response from the Russian people by demanding their government to take drastic measures against the United States. Despite Makarov and his assault team being responsible for the massacre, it was still believed that the United States sponsored and supported his assault as Makarov and his men appeared to be Americans due to their use of standard issue NATO weaponry and U.S. military technology, and the fact the attackers spoke with an American accent and no Russian. After receiving tremendous pressure from the Russian populace, Russian President Boris Vorshevsky ordered a full-scale invasion of the United States. The U.S. was caught off-guard due to the suddenness of the attack (as the Russians used a duplicate of an ACS module to disable NORAD's early warning systems) and as a result, the United States government appointed Shepherd to lead the defense against the invading Russian forces. He was also provided with vast amount of resources to continue his hunt for Makarov. With 3.5 million soldiers at his fingertips, his plan to restore the United States as the mightiest force on the planet was in motion by setting the stage for his revenge against the Ultranationalists.
He sent Task Force 141 to Brazil to look for Alejandro Rojas after he learned that he supplied Makarov during the airport massacre. While this was happening, Shepherd was commanding his forces in the U.S. during the Russian invasion. During the Russian attack on Arcadia, he commandeered Hunter Two-One and with the help of a Stryker named Honey Badger sent them to take the Russian anti-air weapons out. After they are taken out, Shepherd sent them to retrieve a High Value Individual (Code named “Icepick”) from a house on 4677 Brookmere Road. When Hunter Two-One arrived, they found him dead alongside a high ranking soldier with another soldier alive downstairs. They concluded their findings by saying, “Shepherd's not gonna like this.”
While Task Force 141 was still out of the country hunting for Makarov, they learned from Alejandro Rojas that Makarov's worst enemy was an individual that was known as Prisoner #627 who was currently incarcerated in a Russian gulag. However, the Russians are using the nearby oil rigs as SAM sites and the workers as hostages so they could not just blow them up. Shepherd sent Captain MacTavish, Ghost, Roach and the other members of the 141 along with a team of Navy SEALs on a mission to rescue the hostages. They succeeded in rescuing the hostages and the SAM sites are disabled so they moved to attack the gulag.
As they are entering the gulag, the United States Navy started bombing dangerously close to them. Captain MacTavish told Shepherd to stop them from firing which Shepherd responded, "One man in a gulag doesn't mean much to the Navy at this point." Shepherd halted them temporarily from firing. The team moved to get the prisoner. The mysterious prisoner was revealed to be Captain Price. Upon his rescue, Shepherd reinstated Price as a field commander for Task Force 141.
Upon Price's reinstatement, Price revealed his plan to halt the war which Shepherd disagreed with, telling him to focus on Makarov instead. Against Shepherd's orders, Price infiltrated a submarine and sent an EMP over Washington, D.C. which caused most of the East Coast to lose power.
When the fighting in America was halted (temporarily at least), the Department of Defense gave Shepherd a "blank check" to use any resources that are available to the U.S. military to hunt Makarov down. Shepherd pinpointed Makarov's possible location to the two places: An aircraft boneyard in Afghanistan and a safe house on the Georgian-Russian border. He sent Price and Soap to the boneyard while Roach and Ghost are sent to the safehouse. Upon arriving at the safehouse, Roach and Ghost located Makarov's entire operations playbook and downloaded it onto the DSM.
Having now obtained what he needed to cement his status as a war hero, the ruthless officer betrayed Task Force 141 in an attempt to destroy any links to his treacherous actions including his connection to Allen's death so he could bring Makarov down himself. His endgame was to take all of the glory and become a national hero. Shepherd arrived with Shadow Company at Makarov's safehouse just as Roach and Ghost arrived. Once ascertaining that they had the DSM, Shepherd stated that was "one less loose end" and shot Roach point-blank in the chest with his .44 Magnum before turning it on Ghost and shooting him in the chest, killing him instantly. He recovered the DSM from Roach, who weakly grabbed his arm, much to the General's annoyance before ripping his arm out of Roach's grasp. After having two Shadow Company soldiers bring Roach and Ghost's bodies to a ditch to douse them with gasoline, Shepherd took one last smoke of his cigar before tossing it on the two gas-soaked bodies, lighting them ablaze before turning to rally his troops to leave.
Simultaneously, Shepherd sent Shadow Company to eliminate Price and Soap as well as Makarov's Ultranationalists. Contrary to his expectations, the two learned of the traitorous General's plans and they escaped the boneyard via Nikolai's C-130 Hercules, whilst going against Shadow Company and the Ultranationalists in the process.
With almost all of Task Force 141 eliminated, Price and Soap decided there was nothing left to do but kill Shepherd. The two infiltrated Shepherd's secret base in the Afghan cave system called Site Hotel Bravo, thanks to intel provided by Makarov whilst escaping the boneyard.
- "Five years ago, I lost 30,000 men in the blink of an eye. And the world just fucking watched. Tomorrow, there will be no shortage of volunteers. No shortage of patriots. I know you understand."
- — Shepherd's motivations after betraying Task Force 141, as well as his last words to Soap prior to his death.
Shepherd eventually learned about Price and Soap's presence in the base and ordered all of the Shadow Company personnel to evacuate. In an attempt to kill them, Shepherd self-destructed the base with C4 explosives and ordered a danger close artillery strike on it, but both failed to kill the two surviving Task Force members. The blast instead killed or wounded many of Shepherd's men. Shepherd commandeered a Zodiac speedboat and attempted to escape via the river with Soap and Price in hot pursuit.
After a lengthy chase up the river, a Pave Low (Warhorse 5-1) arrived to pick Shepherd up, but Price disabled it by shooting it's rotors, causing it to crash land killing almost everyone aboard. After shooting the helicopter, Soap and Price's Zodiac plunged into the waterfall below. Some time later, Soap woke up separated from Price and went to look for Shepherd, whilst killing the fatally injured pilot and co-pilot at the same time. Soap saw Shepherd flee the scene of the crash with some injuries, as Soap tried to follow and kill him with his only remaining weapon which was a combat knife. Shepherd incapacitated him by slamming his head into a rusted car and proceeded to stab him in the chest, which caused Soap to blackout briefly.
Shepherd then proceeded to explain his motivations for betraying Task Force 141, stating that he "lost 30,000 men in the blink of an eye", and his anger about how the world "just fucking watched". Just as Shepherd was about to execute Soap with his .44 Magnum, Price came in the nick of time and tackled Shepherd, causing him to miss his shot. Price proceeded to kick his revolver away. Soap tried to grab it, but Shepherd kicked it away and stomped on Soap's face. When Soap woke up, the two are engaged in brutal close-quarters combat. Both men fought while enduring the impact of their fall and Shepherd eventually gained the upper hand by fully mounting Price to brutally beat (or choke) him to death. Drifting in and out of consciousness, Soap managed to wake up and use his last bit of strength to pull the knife out of his chest and throw it at Shepherd just as the treacherous General looked up. The knife went right into Shepherd's left eye, killing him instantly. Soap and Price proceeded to flee the scene with Nikolai, who says "they'll be looking for us" (the word "they" could be referring to the U.S. Government, OpFor, CIA, Makarov's Inner Circle, among other various groups). Shepherd's body is then left behind in the desert.
Shepherd was laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery and was declared a war hero. John "Soap" MacTavish and John Price were declared war criminals after his death and Task Force 141 was disavowed. However, they would clear their names by rescuing the Russian President Boris Vorshevsky and his daughter, Alena and helped to bring peace between the United States, Russia and NATO, thus ending World War III.
Call of Duty Online
General Shepherd appeared as an NPC that must be rescued in the Cyborg Evacuation game mode.
Call of Duty: Mobile
Shepherd appears in Call of Duty: Mobile, introduced in the Season 2: Day of Reckoning Comics and later released as a playable character on September 23, 2021 as part of the Season 8: 2nd Anniversary Battle Pass. 
Shepherd is a member of the United Anti-Terrorism Coalition. He commanded Alex, Mara and Mace in apprehending Cordis Die leader and The Five Knights member Raul Menendez. He and Captain John Price would later interrogate Menendez in prison.
After he interrogates Menendez, he manages to get some info out of him: Hidora Kai has returned to Tokyo to rebuild the Five Knights, while Templar had been dispatched to Texas. He later briefs the UAC operators, consisting of Soap, Alex, Charly and the newly inducted Rosa on recent developments. Shepherd tasks Alex and Soap to go to Tokyo and apprehend Hidora, though the pair have their misgivings; Price on the other hand, is going to Texas to find Templar, and has tasked the rest of the operators to accompany him.
Later on, Shepherd appears again on board the ship that Alex and Soap successfully captured Hidora with. He interrogates the Knight, attempting to learn the identity of the 5th Knight, but unfortunately, Hidora refuses to divulge anything, which irritates Shepherd enough to punch him in the face, while noting that he can't stay hidden forever and that he has to come out eventually.
Hidora hints at Shepherd that someone is going to break him out of the ship, but he believes he is mistaken and that no one has followed them. No sooner after that, Shepherd and his crew come under attack by Vagr Modir and her own team of mercenaries (along with a fleet of battleships courtesy of the Five Knights). Soap and Alex attempt to thwart the invaders, but they are both thrown aside by Modir, who busts her way into the cabin where Hidora is held. Shepherd however, is revealed to be holding Hidora at gunpoint, stating he wasn't hiding.
Shepherd is later shown to have been tied up, forced to free Hidora and allow him and Modir to escape. Soap and Alex bursts into the cabin to free him, but he insists for them to stop Hidora and Modir from escaping, although the effort is in vain as they manage to escape on a speedboat anyway. Soon after, Shepherd then rendezvouses with Price after his team comes back from Texas. When Rorke’s ship starts dropping mines to lose the combined forces of the UAC’s and the Ghosts’ ships, Shepherd notes that avoiding the mines will force them to abandon their pursuit of the Five Knights, since Rorke’s ship is still faster than theirs even with the damage his ship has taken. However, Adler says that they don’t need to pursue them as he has reached out to his contacts in South America, and that there’s only 1 place where Rorke could be headed.
A long time afterwards, Shepherd is shown conducting a briefing; based on the intel Rosa had acquired from Panama, he now knows where the Five Knights are headed and where they’re amassing—an island called Blackout. Shepherd addresses that this mission will require everyone. The mission is not a covert one, as he has assembled forces all on terrains to ensure they have covered all grounds; the Navy has barricaded the island, the Army has provided artillery, the Air Force is providing support, which are supplementary to the real effort: 30,000 US Marines that are going to storm the island. His best guess is that the Five Knights have also assembled an equivalent number of mercs, rebels & warfighters from around the world.
Shepherd’s briefing is interrupted by the arrival of Soap and Alex bringing in Gary "Roach" Sanderson. He chides them for being late, to which Alex replies that someone needed to show the “new guy” the way.
He then assigns Price’s team to Blackout with the intention of hunting down Hidora Kai, along with the remnants of the Five Knights, but no capturing and instead taking them out.
A while later, Shepherd is informed by a subordinate about the weakening of the Five Knight's forces, most ground troops are retreating and naval along with aerial Five Knight forces have been disabled. He then mutters to himself that his boys are doing it & that it is the end. However, the whole thing turns out to be a setup as a nuclear bomb is then detonated on the island, killing the 30,000 Marines as well as the Five Knight Forces, horrifying Shepherd in the process.
He later debriefs Ghost on the nuclear blast that has essentially annihilated the island (and their forces). He laments that he lost 30,000 men in the blink of an eye, and how the world just watched. He then informs Ghost that because he failed, someone has to “pay the bills”.
Ghost then asks Shepherd what he means by that, about whether he thinks Ghost had something to do with the attack, to which Shepherd tells him that Ghost better tie up loose ends, or he will. Price then tells Ghost they are not questioning his loyalty or judgement, but they are in the dark as they know nothing about the Dark Covenant nor whether the Five Knights are truly dead. Although Ghost brings up Hudson who’s supposedly related to the matter, Shepherd angrily storms off, refusing to listen to what Ghost has to say, dismissing it as “bullshit”.
- Main article: Shepherd/Quotes
Call of Duty: Mobile
- Robert Bowling gave his full name on Twitter as Hershel von Sheperd III, though it is not clear if this was intended as a serious statement. In addition, the Tweet misspelled "Shepherd" as "Sheperd."
- In "Team Player", Shepherd's name will appear as "General Shepherd", but in "S.S.D.D." and "Loose Ends", his name will appear as "Gen. Shepherd."
- In "Hunter Killer", there is a magazine on one of the beds in the submarine mentioning Shepherd.
- In "Vortex", the scarecrows dotted around the map wore Shepherd's uniform.
- In Soap's Journal, Soap refers to Shepherd's mustache as a "Caterpillar".
- The game files spell his name as "Shepard."
- In Call of Duty: Ghosts, at the beginning of the mission, "All or Nothing", a magazine titled "Gossip & Lies" can be found on a seating. It shows Shepherd on the front of it with the title "Shepherd In Trouble" visible.
- Dialogue in Just Like Old Times.
- As seen in the picture Shepherd has three stars on his beret.
- He can be seen using the M4A1 while he's pinned down with Hunter 2-3 in "Team Player".