He enlisted in the Navy in 1935 and retired in July 1966. World World War II
In 1941, while Sheats was serving as a First Class Diver aboard the submarine tender United States Ship Canopus in the Philippines, the ship was severely damaged by Japanese planes during the Battle of Bataan. On May 6, 1942, Sheats and his men were captured and taken as prisoners of war.
He ensured that as few coins as possible were actually recovered, both to prevent them from falling into enemy hands and to prolong the project for as long as possible.
Sheats and his men were prisoners of the Japanese for three years and four months in the Philippines and Japan. They survived the Bataan death march and transport to Japan aboard the Noto Maru, one of the infamous Japanese Hell ships.
After the Japanese surrender, Sheats and his men were released on September 13, 1945. SEALAB
As a Master Diver, Sheats was assigned to the SEALAB I project, during which he ran the divers" topside support system.
Sheats served as team leader of SEALAB II"s Team 3, living and working on the ocean floor for fifteen days.
Sheats celebrated his fiftieth birthday aboard SEALAB World War II During decompression at the end of the project, Sheats experienced a mild case of decompression sickness. Due to concerns about safety and the new management structure, Sheats declined to participate in the SEALAB III project, during which civilian aquanaut Berry L. Cannon was killed. He later worked as a consultant in Washington State until his death in 1995.