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Albert Sehlstedt

Reporter, Baltimore Sun

Albert “Al” Sehlstedt Jr. had a unique career. He went to work for the Baltimore Sun in 1947 and even after retirement more than 40 years later he was still contributing special features to the paper.

Born in Baltimore, he made Baltimore his home base throughout his life, but nevertheless saw a lot of the rest of the world.

Like many men his age, his travel started during World War II when he entered the Navy. He served in a number of locations but best remembers the Philippines where he completed his service as a pharmacist mate second class.

Sehlstedt had completed two years of college at Loyola University before enlisting in the Navy. When he was discharged in 1945 he returned to Loyola.

In 1947, with degree in hand, he joined the Baltimore Sun as a general assignment reporter. Although he covered a wide ranging array of subjects, he became more and more interested in the substance and politics of the military.

His precision of language and insight resulted in a transfer to Washington in 1957 and a full-time job covering the Pentagon. It was while at the Pentagon that Sehlstedt began to cover the space program and travel to Cape Canaveral and NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. It started with missile launches as medium and long range weapon systems were developed. As missiles, like the Atlas, were adapted to the civilian space program, he got the assignments to cover the new developments and launches. He quickly became the Sun’s primary space correspondent covering the program from Mercury through Gemini, Apollo and into the space shuttle era. Despite the advances and diversity, Sehlstedt still considers John Glenn’s first flight the most memorable.

Sehlstedt returned to the Sun’s headquarters in Baltimore prior to his retirement in 1987 at the age of 65 and says he has been enjoying a life of leisure with his wife Mary Ann in a suburb of Baltimore.