John "Jack" Shanahan Jr.

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Vice Admiral John "Jack" Shanahan, Jr., 90, who retired as Commander of the U.S. Navy's Second Fleet
and Commander of NATO's Striking Fleet, Atlantic, died September 10, 2013 in Ormond Beach, FL. Jack Shanahan enlisted in the U.S. Navy prior to the outbreak of World War II and retired in 1977 as a Vice Admiral. During his 35 years of active service he served in the Pacific in World War II, in Korea off the coast, and in Vietnam where he served a number of tours in the Tonkin Gulf as well as a year in country as Commander of the Coastal Surveillance and Interdiction Force headquarters in Cam Rahn Bay. In an interview in July 1976, the Admiral's sister, Mrs. Colin (Betty) VanAlstine of Buffalo, said that when Jack was a young man he had a great desire to join the Navy. Although skeptical about his ambition for a Naval career, his mother gave the necessary parental consent required by the recruiting office and he enlisted in the Navy just prior to Pearl Harbor at the age of 17. During his time as Commander, Second Fleet, Admiral Shanahan was in charge of the International Naval Review in the New York Harbor on July 4 as part of the Bicentennial celebration which began 180 miles southeast of New York in Norfolk, VA. The Admiral directed the fleet into the New York Harbor, where the ships joined the tall sailing vessels of Operation Sail. The event was spectacularly presented on TV as the war ships in the harbor fired a 21 gun salute in honor of the United States and a 50 gun salute to the 50 United States of America. After the Admiral's retirement in 1977, he remained active in national security issues. He testified before the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission in June 1991. He was also a member of a special commission which, in September 1994, conducted an independent nuclear posture review sponsored by the Committee for National Security/Lawyers Alliance for World Security. In addition, the Admiral authored the study on "Peace Keeping and Peace Enforcement: The Role of the UN and the US." In 1979 he joined the District's Robert Ellsworth, Inc. focusing on international strategic issues, then joined the Center for Defense Information, a D.C. based nonprofit research institute specializing in defense and foreign policy issues. He became its director in 1996. Most recently, Admiral Shanahan worked with Ben Cohen, co-founder of Ben and Jerry's ice cream, at the Business Leaders for Sensible Priorities. As a member of the Military Advisory Committee, Jack Shanahan worked with other members and former members including, Paul Newman, Adlai E. Stevenson III, Ted Turner, Admiral Stansfield Turner (former CIA director) and Dr. Lawrence Korb. John Joseph Shanahan, Jr. was born in Buffalo, NY on February 3, 1923 and enlisted in the U.S. Navy on 3 November, 1941. After special operations in the South Pacific, he was then enrolled in Cornell University, Dennison University, and the University of New Mexico under the V-12 Program until graduation and commissioning as an Ensign, USNR, on 1 June 1946. His early assignments entailed a variety of at-sea duties culminating in command of the Destroyer Escort, USS EVANS in May 1962 and the guided missile Destroyer, USS COCHRANE in July 1965. He also attended the Naval Intelligence and the language school and was assigned as an Intelligence Officer on the staff of Commander Naval Forces Germany in Berlin. Prior to his assignment to the Vietnam conflict in 1969, the Admiral completed a BA in Political Science at the University of Hawaii. In 1969 he was assigned as Assistant Chief of Staff for Operations on Staff, Commander of the Naval Forces, Vietnam under the Command of Vice-Admiral Elmo Zumwalt and subsequently was appointed as Commander Coastal Surveillance Force and Commander Coastal Flotilla One during the Vietnam conflict. Upon his selection to Flag rank, Rear Admiral Shanahan was assigned in June 1970 to become the Commander Amphibious Training Command, a U.S. Pacific Fleet, followed by an overseas tour to Brussels, Belgium as the Senior Military Advisor to the U.S. Permanent Representative to the North Atlantic Council, NATO. In retirement, Jack Shanahan was concerned about the scale of U.S. military spending and its effect on funding needed for schools, highways, the infrastructure and the environment. "It is not unpatriotic to question defense spending," he said. "It's simply the right thing to do." He served as Past President of the Navy League, Past President of the Retired Officers' Association and Past President of the Ormond Beach Republican Club. He was a member of the Halifax River Yacht Club. His first wife Alice Jane Bodine died in 1983. Survivors include his wife of 30 years, Karen Shanahan; five children from his first marriage: Gay (Kevin) Dameron of Triangle, VA, son David (Trish) of McLean, VA, Julie (Mel) Ugaitafa of Palm Coast, son Timothy, and Moira (Vasilis) Andreou of Virginia Beach, VA; and seven grandchildren. Family welcomes friends to a Memorial Service in his honor Saturday, September 14, 2013 at 11:00am at Lohman Funeral Home Ormond. In lieu of flowers, please send a donation in the Admiral's name to the Children's Advocacy Center, 1011 W. International Speedway Boulevard, Daytona Beach, FL 32114. Condolences may be shared with the family at


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Lohman Funeral Homes - Ormond Beach
733 W. Granada Blvd.
Ormond Beach, FL 32174
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Published in Daytona Beach News-Journal on Sept. 12, 2013
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