Claude Russell Short
March 6, 1941 – October 8, 2021
Claude R. Short (Lieutenant Colonel, USAF, Retired), 80, went to be with our Lord Jesus on Friday, October 8, 2021. He was born in St. Louis, Missouri, the son of the late Claude E. and Helen Dalwitz Short. He graduated from Normandy High School and Parks College of St. Louis University with a Bachelors of Science in Aeronautical Engineering. Claude entered the United States Air Force on January 24, 1963, after he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant and was assigned to Wright Patterson AFB.
Claude’s first assignment was with the Air Force Flight Dynamics Laboratory where he worked as a facilities design engineer in the Sonic Fatigue Facility. He designed special support frames for noise generators, overhead and portable cranes and unique maintenance installation/removal equipment. He was also responsible for the operation of the facilities hydraulic and pneumatic equipment.
Claude was reassigned to the Armament Development Test Center (ADTC), Eglin AFB, Florida, in 1966 as a project engineer in the Aircraft Stores/Compatibility Branch. He was responsible for providing flight clearance to test weapons on ADTC aircraft and providing SEEK EAGLE certification recommendations on the A-1, A-37, O-2, F-4 and A-26 aircraft. Claude designed and monitored the first wind tunnel test at the Arnold Engineering Development Center which used the captive trajectory system to predict aircraft store/flight limits.
After a three year assignment at Eglin AFB, Claude was reassigned to the Aeronautical Systems Division, F-15 System Program Office, Directorate of Engineering at Wright Patterson AFB, Ohio. He was an armament project engineer responsible for the F-15’s 20mm and 25mm gun system, 20mm ammunition feed system, fuel tank and pylons, bomb racks, AIM-7 missile launcher and all air-to ground weapons interfaces. He was involved in the F-15, GAU-7 and AIM-82 (Short Range Missile) source selections.
Claude was reassigned as a System Officer (SYSTO) for the Deputy Chief of Staff Systems at Headquarters Air Force Systems Command, Andrews AFB, Maryland in 1973. He was responsible for such weapons systems on the GBU-10 and GBU-12 2000 and 500 pound laser guided bombs, GBU-2 2000 pound laser guided cluster weapons and common multiple bomb racks for the F-15, F-16, F/A-18 and A-10 aircraft. It was during this assignment that Claude authored the joint AFSC/AFLC Regulation on the Aircraft Stores/Certification Program, better known as the SEEK EAGLE Program. He also authored the first major revision to the SEEK EAGLE Regulation.
Claude was once again reassigned to Elgin AFB’s Armament Division as a project manager in the Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) Systems Project Office. In this position, Claude was responsible for the integration of AMRAAM on the F-15 and F-16 aircraft. He conceived the concept of a Joint Management Team to oversee and monitor the development of the aircraft interface design evolution. It was during this assignment that Claude became the Chief of the AMRAAM Aircraft Interface Division.
Claude returned to Wright-Patterson AFB in 1982 and was assigned dual duties as Deputy Chief Flight Systems Engineer, F-16 Systems Program Office, Directorate of Engineering, Flight Systems Engineering Division and as Chief Engineer of the F-16 XL Aircraft Program. He was responsible for supervising twenty engineers in the areas of aerodynamics, structures, aeroelasiticy, handling qualities, landing gear, propulsion and hydraulics. He initiated the program which led to the development of the F-16’s Digital Flight Control System.
In 1985, he was the Deputy Director, F-16 Directorate of Engineering. He was responsible for the supervision and direction of 135 co-located/non-co located engineers and clerical personnel for all areas of engineering: Avionics, Flight Systems, Support Systems and Systems. Claude mentored many young Lieutenants often Wright Patterson was their first assignment. He was known for and offered “Claude Short’s Rules for Program Management or What All Lieutenants Need to Learn”. It was thirteenth statement of advice offered to the young Lieutenants. Number thirteen and the last rule, “Be kind to Lieutenants, because tomorrow they may be your boss”.
During Claude’s distinguished career, he was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal (2 oak leaf clusters), Joint Service Commendation Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, Missile Badge, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, Air Force Organizational Excellence Award, Air Force Longevity Service Award (5 oak clusters), Small Arms Expert Marksmanship, Air Force Training and the National Defense Service. Claude separated from the USAF in September 1989 after serving twenty-six years. Claude continued his apply his engineer abilities as a contractor for ARNIC, Dynamics Research Company (DRC) and HJ Ford Companies.
Airplanes have been Claude’s life. At a very young age he would design and build model airplanes out of balsa wood. He would fly his airplane to test the design and craftsmanship. Some of the planes crashed during take-off and in flight but the majority of the planes stayed in flight to much of his delight and success! Claude won the National Model Airplane contest in 1976 in the control line sport scale event. He constructed the aircraft a 1-10th scale model of a Ryan PT22 from data that he had been compiling for several years. Claude was an avid reader, an accomplished private pilot and had a tremendous sense of humor and wit. He developed friendships with his USAF colleagues, counterparts and staff in the various programs that he worked on throughout his military career. Claude was a life member of the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA), the National Rifle Association (NRA) and the Engineers Club of Dayton. He participated in the Wednesday Bible Study and regularly attended Fairhaven Church. Claude was married to the former Jean Bernice Schilling of Springfield, Ohio, for 55 years. They have one son, David, daughter-in-law Sara and two granddaughters, Anya and Madelyn, Ft. Worth, Texas.
Funeral arrangements were entrusted to Tobias Funeral Home. A private internment ceremony will be held at the Dayton National Cemetery. A Celebration of Life Service will be held at Tobias Funeral Home Chapel, Saturday, October 23rd, 10:00 a.m. Pastor Kirk Lithander of Fairhaven Church will be officiating.
The family would like to thank Jill of Affinity Care for providing compassionate care and comfort to Claude. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial contributions may be made in Claude’s memory to the organization of your choice or to the National Alzheimer’s Association (www.alz.org).
Celebration of Life
Saturday, October 23, 2021
Claude Russell Short
October 22, 2021
Claude my friend I hope you are at peace, you have always been an inspiration to me. I thank you for the time you shared with me as a young man and the life lessons you passed on me. You and Jean have been great friends to my parents and hopefully, you will be able to see them in your new life.
I pray for peace and comfort for your family and a well-deserved eternal peace for you. Your life touched many in this world and you have left it a better place.
God Bless you and yours
Craig and Cindy Kenley
October 21, 2021
Dear Jean and Family,
Blessings as you all moved through these days knowing that Claude is forever at peace.
I feel priviledged to have shared your story.
Love and Hugs,
October 16, 2021
Dear Jean and Family,
My heart breaks knowing the world will be a sadder place without Claude in it. He was a great boss when I was his secretary in the F-16 Flight Systems Division, 1982-1984. He became more than a boss over the years becoming a good and true friend. I will always cherish remembering each time we got together with our F-16 group when he would give me his big Claude hug and tell me I was the best secretary he ever had. He was more than an engineer, he was a teacher. I am grateful that you and I became friends over these last several years. You took such good care to be sure he was safe and comfortable. Love to you and know that I will always remember him.