Larry N. Shatto recently retired from his second career as a DOD Contractor/Maintenance Test Pilot for M1 Support Services, flying the AH-64D Longbow at Fort Hood, TX. Larry retired from the US Army in 1989 as a Chief Warrant Officer and went to work for Lockheed for six years prior to joining DynCorps where he worked for ten years.
Larry is a native of Vallejo, CA and enlisted in the US Army in 1968, a year after graduating from high school. Larry spent eleven years as a helicopter mechanic and crew chief and rose to the rank of Staff Sergeant “P” (promotable) before earning his Army Aviator wings as a Warrant Officer in 1980. He is rated in the UH-1H, all AH-1’s, AH-64A and AH-64D helicopters.
Mr. Shatto’s military assignments include service in Vietnam from 12 Jan.,1969 until 13 Jan, 1970, where he was a UH-1C crew chief in the 176th Assault Helicopter Company of the American Division. Upon his return from Vietnam, he was stationed at Fort Sill, OK, followed by a tour in Panama as a UH-1H crew chief and flight platoon sergeant. His last enlisted assignment was at Davison Army Airfield, Fort Belvoir, VA where he worked as a UH-1H crew chief on VIP flights, and later as the non-commissioned officer in charge of the Crash/Rescue section.
After graduating from flight school in 1980, as a new WO1, Larry was sent to Fort Ord, CA as an AH-1 Cobra pilot, where he participated in the Operational Fielding Test for the AH-64A Apache Attack Helicopter. He began his test pilot career during this assignment assisting in transitioning the unit from older AH-1G’s to AH-1F’s. Larry continued test-flying AH-1’s in Germany with the 3/7 Cav, 3rd ID, from1982 until 1985, after which time he was reassigned to Fort Hood, TX. He was a test pilot in the 6th Air Cavalry Brigade, while they transitioned into the new AH-64A. The 6th Air Cavalry Brigade was the first Brigade to go through the Army’s Unit Field Training Program. Larry was involved in several tests with the AH-64A, ranging from night vision goggles and cold weather (snow) flying at Fort Lewis, WA, the first live-fire exercises with the Hellfire missile at Yuma Proving Grounds, AZ, and Classified Sensors testing at Yuma, AZ. Larry’s last military assignment was as the Brigade Aviation Maintenance Officer for the 6th Air Cavalry Brigade, where he assisted in recovery efforts after a major storm caused more than $750 million dollars’ worth of damage to numerous aircraft at Fort Hood, TX. Larry participated in Operation Desert Storm as a civilian contractor for Lockheed in support of the 1st Cavalry Division in 1991, where he did maintenance test flights on Cobras and Apaches in Saudi Arabia. He then worked as a Test Pilot, Assistant Aviation Safety Official, and Chief Pilot for Lockheed from 1994 until 1995. He has worked on that contract at Ft Hood from 1990 until his retirement.
Mr. Shatto’s military decorations include the Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal with Valor device, two Army Commendation Medals, two Army Achievement Medals, Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, Good Conduct Medals, Non-Commissioned Officers Professional Development Ribbon with two stars, and various service ribbons.
He resides in Belton, TX with his wife of 45 years, and they have two children.. They are proud Grandparents of seven and Great Grandparents of two.
Larry volunteers extensively, promoting the mission of Independence Corps / 091 Foundation, Snowball Express, Wish for our Heroes, American Soldiers Network (where he serves as a Military Advisor) and the Gary Sinise Foundation all in support of our military. One of his favorite statements is: “I refuse to stand by and allow the American public to treat the current generation of warriors like they treated the Vietnam Veteran. These soldiers and their families are America’s best and deserve our utmost respect”.