Jewish Military Leadership Award to Be Presented at Biennial

New York, NY–JCC Association is proud to announce that it will present the Jewish Military Leadership Award to Rear Admiral Herman A. Shelanski, Commander, Carrier Strike Group 10, at the JCCs of North America Biennial in New Orleans on May 7, 2012. “Admiral Shelanski personifies the highest qualities of a Jewish military leader,” said Rabbi Harold Robinson, director of JWB Jewish Chaplains Council. A retired admiral himself, Robinson added, “He has shown consistent concern for the ability of Jews in the Navy to fully express their Jewish identity while they serve their country.”

Rear Admiral Shelanski began his Navy career when he was commissioned an ensign in July 1980 at Aviation Officer Candidate School and earned his Naval Flight Officer (NFO) Wings in the E2-C Hawkeye in 1982.

Shelanski holds a B.A. in molecular, cellular and developmental biology from the University of Colorado. He earned an M.S. in electrical engineering and space systems engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School. 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 commanded VAW-121, the Bluetails on the USS John C. Stennis’s 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. 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, As commander of the Truman, Shelanski installed an ark and Torah on the ship, and he has led the effort to supply all aircraft carriers with Torah scrolls.

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 the Comprehensive Review Working Group to study the effect on the military of the repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.” He sensitively worked to transition the Navy through repeal of this policy and to a full acceptance of gay sailors.

The Jewish Military Leadership Award is given in recognition of devotion to Jewish life and peoplehood in addition to high military achievement. A committed Conservative Jew and active member of his Norfolk, Virginia congregation, Shelanski has been an avid supporter of Torah for Our Troops, JWB Jewish Chaplains Council initiative to commission special lightweight Torahs for chaplains to use in the field and as they move from ship to ship. “We’re proud and happy to present him with this award,” Robinson said.

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