Bob Shumaker was born in New Castle, Pennsylvania in 1933. His father was a lawyer and his mother a writer. After graduating from public schools he attended Northwestern University for a year and then the United States Naval Academy where he was a boxer, a cross-country runner and a scholar. After flight training he joined VF-32, a fighter squadron in Jacksonville, Florida flying F8 Crusaders. He was a finalist in the Apollo astronaut selection, but a temporary physical ailment prevented his selection. In 1964 he earned a masters degree in aeronautical engineering and then joined VF-154 in San Diego, California. About this time he married Lorraine Shaw of Montreal. In February 1965 he was shot down on a mission over North Vietnam and spent the next eight years as a POW. After eight years of imprisonment and having suffered multiple tortures and solitary confinement, he was repatriated and returned to school to earn a doctorate degree in electrical engineering. As a Captain he was the government project manager for tactical missiles such as HARM, HELLFIRE and MAVERICK. In 1983 he was promoted to the rank of Commodore and became the head of the Naval Postgraduate School. At the Pentagon, as a Real Admiral, he was responsible for coordinating the research efforts of the Navy’s air, surface, electronics and space activities. He retired from the Navy in 1989 and became an assistant dean at the George Washington University and later served as an associate dean at the University of North Dakota. He retired in 1991 and then built an experimental aircraft which he’s flown to Alaska and other exotic locations.
Admiral Shumaker’s military awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, two Silver Stars, four Legions of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross, a Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts. In 2011 he was honored with the Distinguished Graduate Award from the United States Naval Academy. In 2016 he was awarded the Lone Sailor Award along with Senator John Glenn. His POW experience has been documented in a book entitled “Defiant” by Alvin Townley. He and his wife Lorraine live in Fairfax Station, Virginia where his hobbies are golfing and flying.