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|“||Five years ago, I lost 30,000 men in the blink of an eye. And the world just f-ckin' watched. Tomorrow, there will be no shortage of volunteers, no shortage of patriots. I know that you understand.||„|
|~ Shepherd revealing his reasons while preparing to kill Soap - and also his final words before his death as well as his most famous line.|
Lieutenant General Hershel von Shepherd III, also simply known as General Shepherd, was the main antagonist of the 2009 video game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and a posthumous antagonist in the 2011 sequel, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. He was also a minor character in both the 2011 live-action short film Find Makarov: Operation Kingfish and the 2009 comic book Modern Warfare 2: Ghost.
He was a corrupt U.S. Army officer in charge of Task Force 141, who secretly sought to restore his country's reputation as the world's greatest military force and become recognized as a war hero, while betraying and killing anybody who stood in his way.
In the game, he was voiced by Lance Henriksen, who also voiced Lockdown in Transformers: Animated and Karl Bishop Weyland in the 2010 Alien vs Predator video game; while in the short film, he was both portrayed by David Brandon George and voiced by Don Berns.
Second Russian Civil War
During the events of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, Shepherd commanded 30,000 U.S. Marines and the military invasion force in the Middle East on 2011 in response to the live execution of President Yasir Al-Fulani by OpFor leader, Khaled Al-Asad. Unfortunately, he was helpless to assist his men when Vladimir Makarov detonated the nuclear device in the capital city, wiping out his fellow Marines and most of his invasion force involved in the battle.
Losing 30,000 troops under his command affected Shepherd greatly, causing him to develop a sour view of the world and international politics. Some time following his invasion of the Persian Gulf, Shepherd sought new ways to restore the United States' reputation as the global military power. The others were unaware that he secretly attempted to restore his own reputation as a military commander.
Sometime between 2011 and 2013, Shepherd founded a new unit called Task Force 141 with the help of John "Soap" MacTavish from Special Air Service. 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 SAS trooper, Simon "Ghost" Riley.
In 2013, Shepherd commanded the 141 in a mission code-named "Operation Kingfish" which he sent Captain John Price, Captain John "Soap" MacTavish, Lieutenant Simon "Ghost" Riley, Sergeant Gary "Roach" Sanderson and the Delta Force operators, Sandman and Derek "Frost" Westbrook to an Ultranationalist compound in Ukraine on a capture/kill mission to apprehend an individual code-named "Kingfish" who was later revealed to be Vladimir Makarov. The mission ended in 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, an elite military force that was fiercely loyal to Shepherd, which he used to his own ends.
Planning a Full-Scale War
In the battle for occupying Afghanistan in 2016, Shepherd needed an enemy as part of his plan to increase the U.S. military. After hearing Makarov's increased terrorist attacks throughout Europe, Shepherd believed that the former's presence would be a mark to indirectly help and bring his desire changes. Now he had Task Force 141, Shepherd sent former Ranger-turned CIA operative, Private First Class Joseph Allen, undercover in Moscow under an alias, "Alexei Borodin," to infiltrate Makarov's Inner Circle as they planned to attack Zakhaev International Airport.
Unfortunately, Makarov knew of Allen's undercover status (which Shepherd probably deliberately leaked to him) and he killed him in order to place the blame solely on America for the massacre, much to Shepherd's delight. As a result of the sudden Russian invasion on the U.S. mainland, the government appointed Shepherd to lead the defense of his country, setting the stage for his revenge on the Ultranationalists.
Betraying Task Force 141
Sometime after the rescue of Captain John Price, Shepherd planned a personal war against the Ultranationalists and anyone who knew of Joseph Allen. Shepherd sent Roach and Ghost to collect any intelligence related to Makarov before mercilessly executing them and giving them a sadistic funeral pyre as his (Shepherd's) elite private army soaked them in gas and he lit them on fire with his cigar. Then, his men began their plan to kill Makarov's men and the rest of Task Force 141 in order to tie up loose ends regarding what he did. At the vehicle boneyard in Afghanistan, Makarov revealed Shepherd's command base "Site Hotel Bravo" to Price before he and Soap escaped in Nikolai's C-130 Hercules.
Final Fight and Death
After the rescue, Price and Soap had no allies they could trust and decided to go on a suicide mission to kill Shepherd for betraying Task Force 141. With his command collapsed, Shepherd tried to escape in a Pave Low helicopter, but it was shot down by Price as he got in. Shepherd escaped the crash site and pinned MacTavish down after stabbing him in his chest. The renegade General then revealed Soap of the events in the past before attempting to execute him. Price saved Soap, and the two fought. Just when Shepherd was about to beat Price to death, Soap pulled the knife out of his chest and threw it directly into Shepard's left eye, killing him and avenging the deaths of the 141 members, as well as the innocent people at the airport he deliberately allowed to get killed.
Shepherd was later buried at the Arlington National Cemetery and he was called a "War Hero" by many people at that time and, unfortunately, Soap and Price were declared war criminals. However, their names were cleared when Price and Yuri (Soap wasn't there because he was killed) conducted a joint operation with their U.S. Delta Force counterparts to rescue the President of Russia, Boris Vorshevsky, and his daughter Alena from a diamond mine in Siberia, restoring the President's goal of developing peace and friendship between the United States, Russia and NATO.
General Shepherd was mentioned at the end of the 2019 reboot Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. After General Barkov's death and Viktor Zakhaev's prompt to take his place, Shepherd had Kate Laswell fulfill Captain Price's request for a list of candidates for Task Force 141 to deal with him, which included "Soap" MacTavish, Kyle "Gaz" Garrick and Simon "Ghost" Riley.
- Robert Bowling gave Shepherd's 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's last name as "Sheperd".
- Makarov is the Big Bad in the Modern Warfare series due to being the cause of the events of the series; however, General Shepherd takes the role of the main antagonist in Modern Warfare 2 because he had bigger plans than anyone else.
- Shepherd is the first villain to be American in Call of Duty series, the others being Gabriel T. Rorke in Call of Duty: Ghosts and Jonathan Irons in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare.
- However, unlike the other two, Shepherd was the only one who wasn't waging war against the country.
- His betrayal in "Loose Ends" is regarded as one of the most shocking moments in Call of Duty history, especially due to killing off two fan-favorite characters (Ghost and Roach).
- Shepherd shows himself to be a smoker, as he is seen smoking cigars. Notably, he throws his cigar on Ghost and Roach's corpses in "Loose Ends".