He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology from the University of Colorado, and earned a Master of Science degree in Electrical 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, as well as the Naval War College.
At sea, he served as the assistant navigator in the USS Independence (CV 62), 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 this tour, he was selected as the Hawkeye community’s 1985 Hawkeye of the Year. He commanded VAW-121, the Bluetails on the USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) and was again awarded the CNO Battle E Award, Safety Award and the AEW Excellence Award. He commanded, then decommissioned the U.S. 6th Fleet’s fighting command ship, USS La Salle (AGF 3), and served as the first executive officer aboard USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) before commanding USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) including a seven-month deployment to the Arabian Gulf in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and maritime security operations. Truman was awarded the 2008 CNO Safety Award, Battle E Award and the Secretary of Defense Large Category Maintenance Award. He most recently finished command of Carrier Strike Group 10, consisting of Truman and CVW 3 Team comprised of 15 ships (Cruisers, Destroyers and Frigates) and over 8,000 Sailors including command of 3 international fleet exercises at sea.
Ashore, he served as a NFO flight instructor; as an action officer on the Joint Staff, J6 Directorate for Command, Control, Communications, and Computers in Washington, D.C.; and, as the air operations officer for the commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/5th Fleet in Bahrain. He served as the executive assistant (EA) to the deputy commander at U.S. Joint Forces Command (USJFCOM) and to the commander USJFCOM/NATO Supreme Allied Commander for Transformation. He also served on the OPNAV staff as director of the Navy’s Environmental Readiness division, and on the Survey and Engagement Team for the Comprehensive Review Working Group to study the effect on the military of the repeal of, "Don’t Ask Don’t Tell."
Shelanski’s personal decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit (5), the Defense Meritorious Service Medal and additional individual, campaign, and unit awards.