Herman Shelanski, Vice Admiral, USN Retired

by | Jan 18, 2024 | Other News

Jewish News: Where were you educated?
Herman Shelanski, Vice Admiral, USN Retired: I have a Bachelor of Arts in Molecular, Cellular and Development Biology from University of Colorado at Boulder. I also have a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering and Space Systems 774 from Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif. I earned a Doctorate in General Science from University of Colorado at Boulder.

JN: What was your work history?
HS: I served 38 1/2 years in the United States Navy and retired as a three-star Vice Admiral. Then I worked two years at Newport News Shipbuilding as vice president of Strategy and Business Development.

JN: When did you retire?
HS: I retired in 2018 from the Navy and 2021 from Newport News Shipbuilding. I still do some consulting and leadership presentations with my own limited liability corporation.

JN: What convinced you to take the leap?
HS: For the Navy, I had basically reached the age limit and limit for promotion. For Newport News Shipbuilding, I wanted to retire more fully.

JN: Did you have a plan for what you would do with your time?
HS: Volunteer work and write a book on being a captain of an aircraft carrier.

JN: Where do you volunteer besides Beth El?
HS: I am an advisor to the City of Norfolk, I serve on Military Economic Advisory Council, and I am on the board of United Jewish Federation of Tidewater.

I am chairman of the board of directors for the Trans Atlantic Council of the Boy Scouts of America.

I serve on the board of directors of the VAW/VRC Foundation, which coordinates with the Hawkeye (the aircraft I flew) community and raises money to make sure all children of fallen aviators have college scholarships.

JN: Do you use your professional skills in some of your volunteer work?
HS: Yes, leadership, strategy, and mentorship.

JN: Do you have any days just to relax? If so, what do you do?
HS: We recently bought a cabin in Dugspur, Va., near Floyd and about an hour east of Galax. It’s on a native trout stream for me to fly fish, though I need to commit to doing more of it! We love going up there to just relax, hike, visit the wineries, and the city of Floyd.

I am on a journey to achieve excellence with my pizza dough and oven! I am happy with where

I am but am always looking for new ideas and recipes. My next step is to get more into wood-fired, cooked, home-made bread.

I am also an avid bike rider.

JN: What about travel?
HS: In 2023, we went to Scotland, mainland Italy, and Sicily. We are planning to go to Normandy, France and Barcelona this year.

JN: In general, are you glad you retired? Do you ever miss working?
HS: I am glad I retired. I do miss the Navy, the camaraderie, the mission, and the excitement.

JN: Do you feel any healthier? Less stressed?
HS: Definitely less stressed! The life of the Navy took a lot out of me, so I am living with a lot of aches and pains, particularly my back. But in general, I am in very good health.

JN: Do you have any advice for someone considering retirement?
HS: Yes. It needs some planning. Lots of good books to read. For those with intense jobs like mine, it is good to fill part of the day with something meaningful and, of course, get quality family time. It is also the time to travel and do the things that were always put off because of work.

JN: Last comments?
HS: Patty and I had a choice of where to go after retirement. We had family still in Philadelphia and houses both in San Diego and Norfolk. But our deciding factor was to go back to Norfolk. For most of our career, it was our home, where we still had the majority of our friends, and our Jewish community at Beth El was so important to us.