Joseph F. Short

  • Colonel
  • Vietnam


Joseph F. Short is a native of Pawtucket, Rhode Island. He was born on 16 July 1934 to William and Anna Short. Joe is a graduate of Pawtucket West High School, where he was president of the dramatic society, editor of the school newspaper, captain of the track team and a member of the cross country and swim teams. Joe entered the University of Rhode Island on a track athletic scholarship with the class of 1956. He is a member of Phi Sigma Kappa Fraternity, and he participated in the Army ROTC program for 4 years. Joe earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting in 1956 and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant, Quartermaster Corps.

His initial company grade assignments were at Quartermaster Basic Course, Fort Lee, VA. He was assigned to the U.S. Army Security Agency Far East (USASAFE), Japan as the Commander of the Personnel Processing Detachment. 1LT Short transferred to the Army Security Branch in May 1958.

Captain Short returned home to attend the Advanced Cryptologic Course at the National Security Agency with a follow-on assignment to the Republic of South Korea as the Signals Intelligence Officer in the 508 Army Security Agency Group. CPT Short was assigned as the Commander of the 165th Company. The unit was engaged in sensitive intelligence operations in support of all Army units in Korea, as well as national and strategic requirements. Major Short was then assigned as an instructor and eventually Division Chief at the U.S. Army Security Agency Training Center and School, Fort Devens, Massachusetts.

He deployed to Vietnam in 1969 and was assigned as the Operations Officer to the 8th Radio Research Station, Phu Bai, Vietnam, which provided direct support to the 101st Airborne Division, 5th Mechanized Division, III Marine Amphibious Force and Military Assistance Command Vietnam (MACV). He later severed as the Executive Officer and subsequently selected to command the RRFS. As Commander, he provided quality and timely intelligence products to all combat elements within his area of operations. During this period, Major Shot was awarded the Bronze Star Medal.

After Vietnam, he was assigned to the International/Military Staff, NATO, Brussels, Belgium as Deputy Chairman/Secretary of the Allied Communications Security Agency. During this tour, he played a major role in initiating and coordinating a number of field tests (air/sea/land) for a variety of cryptographic and communications security systems and equipment. At this time LTC Short was integrated into the Regular Army.

After a tour as the Secretary of the General Staff, Headquarters, U.S. Army Security Agency, LTC Short was selected as the Commanding Officer, Vint Hills Station, Warrenton, Virginia. He transformed the post from mediocrity to one of the best in the Army. LTC Short created a command climate which resulted in major improvements of all aspects of post support. On a visit with the Under-Secretary of Army, General Kerwin, Chief of Staff of the Army, stated how thoroughly impressed he was with the professionalism of all personnel during his visit. LTC Short was awarded the Legion of Merit for his performance as Commanding Officer.

After an outstanding command tour, LTC Short had a key staff assignment with the Joint Staff, J5, Joint Chiefs of Staff as a staff planner. After graduating from the U.S. Army War College, LTC Short was selected to attend the British Royal College of Defense Studies in London. He was next assigned to Headquarters, U.S. Army Intelligence Command (INSCOM), as Project Officer for Field Station, Hawaii. He was responsible for the 1700 man tri-service intelligence gathering unit with the most technically advanced equipment in the world.

Colonel Short was selected to command the U.S. Intelligence School at Fort Devens, Massachusetts, in October 1981. Colonel Short commanded the school for four years and left an indelible mark on military intelligence. Major General Julius Parker stated at Colonel Short’s retirement ceremony, “He came at a time of great need…revitalizing a U.S. Army training institution from one of inferiority to one of prominence.”

Colonel Joseph F. Short retired from the Army in October 1985, after more than 30 years of service and was awarded the Legion of Merit with Oak Leaf Cluster for his service to our country. His other awards include the Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Cluster, Meritorious Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster and two awards from the Republic of Vietnam.

Colonel Joe Short is a life member of the URI Alumni Association. He resides in Herndon, Virginia. Colonel Short has spent his entire life serving his community and nation during peace and war. His exemplary devotion to duty, personal bravery and outstanding leadership are in the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, the United States Army, and the University of Rhode Island.