Jewish captain guides USS Truman aircraft carrier
By Jonathan Tobin, the Jewish Exponent
One thing is constant about life on an aircraft carrier: the noise.
The roar of jet aircraft engines on the deck is complemented by other sounds heard throughout the ship and below deck: the explosive booms coming from the catapults launching planes and the reverberations of the restraining wires on the steel deck that enables others to land.
Yet the sound that seems to garner the most attention on board the USS Harry S. Truman is, ironically, among the softest they will hear: the even tones of Capt. Herman “Herm” Shelanski.
“I’ve never heard him even raise his voice,” says one of Shelanski’s officers, who admits that this low-key style is hardly typical of naval behavior when it comes to the person in charge. “But he’s always in command of the situation. He’s the sort of a person who makes you want to meet or exceed his expectations.”
Another officer, referring to the captain’s average height of approximately 5 feet, 7 inches, says Shelanski’s “physical stature isn’t so big, but his presence is huge. Everyone on board feels it.”
Shelanski, a native of Wynnewood, Pa., is a 27-year Navy veteran who has risen from a young aviator piloting E-2 Hawkeyes to being the commanding officer of one of the Navy’s elite weapon systems.