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September 11, 1983 - Image 5

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1983-09-11

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

O C
By LOU FINTOR
A military career spanning 27 years
may seem a bit ironic for the son of an
Episcopal clergyman, but as director of
the University's Air Force Officer
Education Program, Col. Robert
Shellenberger says he's answered the
"calling" of a different kind.
Nestled between the Dental School
and Natural History Museum, it's easy
to overlook aging North Hall - the
OTC building where Shellenberger
as worked for almost a year-and-a-
half.
NUMEROUS MILITARY awards and
citations line the walls surrounding his
neat desk where a small United States
flag is prominently positioned.
At 46, Shellenberger leans back in his
chair to peer out the bay window at
campus streets which little more than
a decade ago were filled with thousands
of angry students protesting the
hilosophy he represents. It is those
urbulent days that Shellenberger
remembers most vividly.
"I remember the first time I came to
PROFILE
orth Hall in 1966 as an Air Force
raduate student," Shellenberger says.
"One of the first things they told us was
not to wear your uniform on campus. In
those days, it didn't pay to wear the
uniform on campus and provoke
anything. People felt that anyone in
uniform was just chomping at the bit,
ready to go to war."
NOWADAYS, HE LOOKS at campus
protests of ROTC activities with
disdain. "I am very disturbed when
~ omene who should know better says
Fwe are on campus teaching maiming
and killing," Shellenberger says.
"What we are doing is teaching young
folks who want to be officers how to be
professionals."
Since the Vietnam era, anti-ROTC
sentiment on campus has decreased
considerably, and Shellenberger is now
optimistic for the program's future as.
cadet applications continue on the rise.
There has been only two anti-ROTC
*demonstrations in front of his office
oduring the past two years - both staged
by the Latin American Solidarity
Committee protesting U.S. involvement
in Central America.
in contrast, during the early 1970s,
there were several attempts to burn
and bomb the building. Despite this
violent resentment, the protests never-
theless are defensible as "one of the
privileges of living in a free society,"
Shellenberger says.
"TIME IS certainly a factor - Viet-
nam is behind us by 10 years."
Shellenberger attributes what

head

The Michigan Daily - Sunday, September 11, 1983- Page 5
ights anti-army sentiment

"I can remember the air raid drills
and the blackouts during evenings at
home," Shellenberger says. "I remem-
ber clearly the day the war ended. We
could hear fire sirens and church bells
ringing. More importantly, I remember
the things we were fighting against."
His boyhood experiences and
patriotism during the war combined
with almost no money to pay for a
college education provided the impetus
for Shellenberger to devote a lifetime to
military service. "I still get chills up
and down my spine when I see the
flag," he says.
GRADUATING from West Point in 1958,
Shellenberger immediately entered
duty training as a student pilot at bases
in Texas, Mississippi, Georgia,
Nevada, California, and Kansas.
"Life at West Point was very
regimented. You're in a military at-
mosphere 24 hours a day," he says.
"West Point has tough standards of
discipline. It was a tough physical grind
and a tough mental grind.
"We got up at 10 minutes to six every
morning except Sunday and fell out for
reveille. It was mandatory at that time
to attend chapel and then we would eat
in a dining hall where they could feed
THE DAILY
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2400 of us in 30 minutes," he added with
a chuckle.
DURING THE Vietnam war,
Shellenberger flew C-130 troop tran-
sports to Southeast Asia. His cargo at
various times included support sup-
plies, ammunition, troops, prisoners,
and occasionally the bodies of dead
soldiers.
"The old cliche of 'war is hell' was
true and it's still true. It wasn't a nice
feeling, but the job had to be done," he
said. Thirteen years later and thousan-
ds of miles from Vietnam, Shellen-
berger now draws from a lifetime of
experience to prepare 125 University
ROTC cadets with skills he hopes they

will never have to use.
As program director, Shellenberger
designs and develops a curriculum that
includes Air Force organization,
strategic air command, an overview of
Soviet military organization, and ethics
relative to military duty.
"I enjoy teaching basically because I
very much enjoy working with young
people," he says. "I know I'll never
make a big splash in the history books,
but maybe, just maybe, a piece of me
will go with them."
This story was reprinted from the summer
edition of the Daily. Starting today, Profile
will be a regular feature of Sunday's Daily.

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_

Daily Photo by DEBORAH LEWIS
Aw Force ROTC Program Director Robert Shellenberger has seen both bad
and good times for the military on campus.

remains of anti-ROTC sentiment to a
lack of understanding by most students.
The University unit, he says, is in-
volved in several community service
organizations and helps plan events
such as local observance of Memorial
Day.
There was a time when the military
won the respect and admiration of an
American public who, feeling drained

but victorious following a depression
and tremendous personal sacrifices for
the war effort, was grateful that
freedom had been guaranteed.
BORN IN New York City, Shellen-
berger remembers the strong sense of
patriotism and love of freedom his
parents helped instill in him. His father
had served as a Civil Defense chaplain
during World War II.

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Pope draws huge crowd in Vienna

VIENNA, Austria (AP) - Pope John
Paul II, speaking from the square
where Adolph Hitler harangued a huge
crowd 45 years ago, issued an appeal
yesterday for human rights, peace and
tolerance to Austria "and its neighbors
to the north, east, south and west."
The pope, clad in white and gold
vestments, spoke from a podium in
front of the former imperial palace
shortly after arriving for a four-day
visit to this neutral country, a

traditional refuge for thousands fleeing
the Soviet bloc.
In a suburb, about 500 people
protesting the papal visit - the first in'
201 years - attended an "alternative"
rally where they derided the pope as
"John Paul Superstar."
The 63-year-old pontiff appeared
slightly flushed under a burning sun as
he recalled dark days in European
history and alluded to a troubled
present.
It was the largest assembly in

Heldenplatz, or Heroes Square, since
Hitler appeared on a balcony of the
former palace to declare Austria a
part of the Third Reich.
About 400,000 people crowded into
the square and neighboring streets af-
ter Hitler occupied Austria in 1938.
Nurses in light blue uniforms wan-
dered among the crowds with large
jugs' of water, or fashioned paper hats
to protect the elderly people in the
audience from the brilliant sun.

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