Retired in 1994, after 40 years of active service. Born in Kaunas, Lithuania, he was imprisoned for three years during World War II in a German concentration camp. In 1950, he immigrated to the United States. He enlisted in the U.S. Army and later entered Officer Candidate School as a Sergeant First Class. In 1960, Gen. Shachnow was commissioned in the Infantry.
His past assignments have been as commander or staff officer with Infantry, Mechanized Infantry, Airmobile, Airborne and Special Forces units. Gen. Shachnow's most recent assignments include: Commanding General, John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School, Airborne, Fort Bragg; Commanding General, United States Army Special Forces Command, Airborne, Fort Bragg; Commanding General, U.S. Army-Berlin; Director, Washington Office, United States Special Operations Command, Airborne; Deputy Commanding General, 1st Special Operations of Command, Airborne, Fort Bragg; and Chief of Staff, 1st Special Operations Command, Airborne, Fort Bragg.
Gen. Shachnow is the recipient of the Distinguished Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Silver Star with Oak Leaf Clusters, the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Clusters and "V" device, the Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Meritorious Service Medal with two Oak Leaf clusters, the Air Medal with the numeral "12", the Army Commendation Medal with two Oak Leaf clusters and "V" device, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Master Parachutist Badge, the Ranger Tab, and the Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross.