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Issue Home January 20, 2004 Site Home

Former Local Man Served His Country

Former Local Man Served His Country

Colonel Stanley M. Sheldon, son of Mr. and Mrs. Harold (Elizabeth) Sheldon, Thompson, PA, retired from the United States Air Force July 31, 1991, in a ceremony held at Bolling AFB, Washington, DC. Stan’s last assignment in his 27-year career with the Air Force was Assistant Director for Countermeasures, Strategic Defense Initiative Organization (SDIO), Office of the Secretary of Defense. In this capacity, Stan was responsible for identifying vulnerabilities an adversary could use to defeat SDIO systems so that proper design changes could be made for systems protection, thus enhancing the prospects for a successful deployment of the Strategic Defense System. His technical knowledge resulted in accomplishing significant experiments at minimum cost, resulting in one of the best cost-to-return ratios in SDIO.

Col. Stanley Sheldon during his commission as 2nd Lieutenant, circa 1964.

Much of Stan’s career was in the field of foreign scientific and technical intelligence. His contributions as Ballistic Missile Systems Engineer, Directorate of Systems, Foreign Technology Division (FTD) Headquarters, were directly used during national level strategic negotiations for the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT). Stan’s contributions while assigned to Headquarters USAF Directorate of Space Systems, as Acquisition Manager for International Programs-Air Surveillance Systems, led to the establishment of new radar surveillance and air control capabilities for the US and its NATO allies. As Weapons/Support Systems Analyst for the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) Strategic Plans and Resource Analysis Agency, Stan was a significant contributor in developing Arms Control Impact Statements for the INF Treaty, where he assessed the arms control effects of weapons systems and briefed the Chairman, JCS.

Among Stan’s other assignments have been Chief of the Space Systems Division at FTD Headquarters; Requirements and Development Planner for the JCS Plans and Policy Directorate; Congressional Activities Specialist, Headquarters USAF Directorate of Program Integration; Program Budget Manager, Headquarters USAF Formulation and Analysis Division; Chief of Missile Programs, Headquarters Fifteenth Air Force; and Reentry/Propulsions Systems Project Officer for Strategic Air Command (SAC) Minuteman III Research and Development Flight Test Program, AF Eastern Test Range.

Stan graduated valedictorian in 1960 from Susquehanna Consolidated High School. He graduated Dickinson College, in 1964 wit a BS in Physics. He graduated with honors, in 1974 from the University of Colorado with a graduate degree in Research and Development Management. He also is a graduate of AF Squadron Officer School (1971), Armed Forces Staff College (1978), and Air War College (1983). His military decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Air Force Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, and the Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster.

Following is a speech to those attending a Dale Carnegie Course, given by Stan, December 15, 1992 which we thought well worth passing on.

"Retirement Day

Full dress uniform at attention in front of family, friends and associates. Strains of the national anthem fading, Old Glory majestically unfurled – a sudden kaleidoscope of memories and emotions flooding in.

I remember the green recruit 27 years ago stumbling through the obstacle course.

I remember the elation and jubilation of commissioning day and the solemnity of the oath of office... ‘to defend the Constitution of the United States... well and faithfully discharge the duties... so help me God.’

I remember the hardships... moves every 18 months for 14 years, family separation for two years, and no time to take a honeymoon.

I remember the excitement and adventure... walking the tundra and flying the majestic coastline of Iceland; and launching missiles from Barking Sands, Hawaii.

I remember the challenges to grow... my first boss in the Pentagon telling me, ‘Stan, there are plenty of officers out there who want your job. You are lucky to be here. Either shape up or ship out!’ I shaped up.

And I remember the honor of serving with men soon to die, Medal of Honor winners, astronauts and especially, POWs. The quiet dignity and courage of these men!

Suddenly the loud speaker intruded, ‘ order of the Secretary of the Air Force, Colonel Stanley M. Sheldon is retired from active duty, effective 1 August, 1991.’ Cold reality shook me. It was over, really over. My career was past. I had passed into the ranks of the old soldiers.

I looked up and Old Glory was still there. The next time you see Old Glory, remember the millions who have served – many paying the highest price of service and be thankful for the precious freedom their lives ransomed."

Stan currently lives with his wife, Jessie in California. Unfortunately, he has been diagnosed with having Parkinson’s Disease and his health is poor.

Those who wish may correspond with him by writing: Stan Sheldon, 48 Stanford Circle, Lompoc, CA 93436.

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