Rear Admiral Jacob L. Shuford was commissioned in 1974 from the NROTC program at the University of South Carolina. He began his career at sea aboard USS Blakely (FF 1072) with follow-on assignments as Operations Officer in USS Deyo (DD 989) and USS Mahan (DDG 42). He commanded the missile hydrofoil ship USS Aries (PHM 5) operating extensively throughout the Caribbean, and USS Rodney M. Davis (FFG 60), Battle “E” winner as part of the USS Independence Battle Group operating in the western Pacific and Persian Gulf.
In January 1998, Rear Adm. Shuford assumed command of USS Gettysburg, deploying to 5th and 6th Fleet operating areas with the USS Enterprise Battle Group. Gettysburg played a prominent role in operations in the Adriatic during the Kosovo crisis and in the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Fox, acting as Air Warfare Commander for dual carrier battle group operations (Carl Vinson and Enterprise Battle Group) and successfully firing 100% of the 69 Tomahawk missiles tasked during strike operations. The ship was awarded the Battle Efficiency "E" for Cruiser Destroyer Group 12.
His first shore tour was as the Operations and Plans Officer for Commander, Naval Forces Korea. In Washington, he served on the Staff of the Chief of Naval Operations in N86 (directing the Surface Combatant Force Level Study) and in N3/N5 (as Chief of Staff for the Navy's Roles and Missions Organization). He also served as speechwriter and Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Navy. On the Joint Staff, he led a Division in J8, the Force Structure, Resources and Assessments Directorate.
From 1999 to 2001 he coordinated the Navy’s legislative efforts in the U.S. Senate, and was selected to flag rank in this assignment. His first flag tour was as the Navy’s “Head Detailer,” responsible for career development and assignment for the 370,000 men and women of the Navy.
Rear Adm. Shuford was selected as an Olmsted Scholar in 1979, studying two years in France at the Paris Institute of Political Science. He holds masters' degrees in public administration (Finance) from Harvard and in national security studies and strategy from the Naval War College, where he graduated in 1991 with highest distinction.
He was installed as the 51st President of the Naval War College in Newport, R.I. on 12 August 2004.
Rear Adm. Shuford’s personal awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit (five awards), the Bronze Star, the Meritorious Service Medal (three awards), the Navy Commendation Medal (three awards), and the Navy Achievement Medal.