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Col Robert Shelton

Deputy Commandant of Cadets

Colonel Robert A. Shelton (U.S. Air Force, retired) is deputy commandant of cadets for 3rd Battalion.

Col Shelton, a native of Roanoke, Virginia, graduated in 1996 from Virginia Tech and the Corps of Cadets and commissioned through Air Force ROTC Detachment 875.

After commissioning, he attended Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training at Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi. As a line officer, he held various squadron-, group-, and wing-level positions and graduated from Air Mobility Command’s highly selective Phoenix Horizon leader development program.

As an aviator, he progressed to the level of evaluator pilot in the KC-135R/T and instructor pilot in the C-5A/B aircraft. He also earned designation as a joint qualified officer and served in myriad staff roles at the wing, major command, and combatant command levels.

Col Shelton commanded the 99th Air Refueling Squadron, embedded within the 117th Air Refueling Wing, Birmingham Alabama, Alabama Air National Guard. In his second command, he joined the legendary “Bloody Hundredth” as commander of the 100th Operations Group and 401st Air Expeditionary Group, 100th Air Refueling Wing, Royal Air Force Mildenhall, United Kingdom.

Col Shelton was a command pilot with over 2,900 flight hours in the KC-135R/T, C-5A/B, RC-135V, T-1A, T-37, and T-3 aircraft. He deployed extensively in support of operations in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and the Horn of Africa to include Operations Joint Forge, Allied Force, Northern and Southern Watch, Noble Eagle, Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, Inherent Resolve, Freedom’s Sentinel, and Resolute Support.

He retired in 2021 with over 25 years of service.

His decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit with one oak leaf cluster, the Meritorious Service Medal with five oak leaf clusters, the Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters, the Aerial Achievement Medal, the Air Force Commendation Medal, and the Air Force Achievement medal with one oak leaf cluster.

He received a master’s degree in aeronautical science from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in 2004 and a Master of Military Science in operational planning and strategy from National Defense University, Joint Advanced Warfighting School.

Col Shelton is married to the former Jill Hayden, a 1995 Corps graduate. They have five children: Sarah Grace, Sophia, Daniel, Andrew, and Hazel.