Rear Admiral Shelanski, from Wynnewood, Penn., was commissioned an ensign in July 1980 at Aviation Officer Candidate School and earned his Naval Flight Officer (NFO) Wings in the E-2C Hawkeye in 1982.
Shelanski served several tours and completed several deployments in the E-2C Hawkeye. His first squadron, Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 117, won two consecutive Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Battle E Awards, Safety Awards and the Airborne Early Warning (AEW) Excellence Award. During his tour he was selected as the Hawkeye community's 1985 Hawkeye of the Year.
He was the assistant navigator in the USS Independence (CV 62) and a Naval Flight Officer flight instructor in the E-2C Training Command, VAW-110. He served as action officer on the Joint Chiefs of Staff, J6 Directorate for Command, Control, Communications, and Computers in Washington D.C., and as the air operations officer for commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/5th Fleet in Bahrain. He also served as the first executive officer aboard USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76). He was assigned as the executive assistant (EA) to the deputy commander at U.S. Joint Forces Command (USJFCOM) and then re-assigned as the EA to commander USJFCOM/NATO Supreme Allied Commander for Transformation.
Shelanski has had several commands. He commanded VAW-121, the Bluetails on the USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) maiden deployment around the world and was awarded the CNO Battle E Award, Safety Award and the AEW Excellence Award. He commanded and decommissioned the 6th Fleet's fighting command ship, USS La Salle (AGF 3). He commanded USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) for a seven month deployment to the Arabian Gulf in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and maritime security operations. The ship was awarded the 2008 CNO Safety Award, Battle E Award and the Secretary of Defense Large Category Maintenance Award. In June 2009, Shelanski reported to the OPNAV staff as director of the Navy's Environmental Readiness division, N45. Shelanski was then selected to be the deputy, Survey and Engagement Team on Comprehensive Review Working Group to study the effect on the military of the repeal of "Don't Ask Don't Tell."
Shelanski holds a bachelor of arts degree in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology from the University of Colorado. He earned a master of science degree in Electrical Engineering and Space Systems from the Naval Postgraduate School with membership in Eta Kappa Nu, an international honor society for electrical and computer engineers. He has also attended several Executive Level Leadership and Business courses. He is a graduate of the Armed Forces Staff College, the Navy Nuclear Power School and Prototype, the Naval Reactors Commanding Officer Nuclear Engineer course, and the Navy War College CD distance education course.
Shelanski amassed nearly 3,000 hours in the E-2C Hawkeye and over 500 carrier landings during his flying career.