Adm. Cecil D. Haney shows where technology can lead
Haney uses his background to encourage today's high school students to pursue demanding math and science courses. Last June, he was the commencement speaker for Hyman G. Rickover Naval Academy's third graduation ceremony in Chicago.
Haney came to Chicago as part of the Navy's diversity outreach efforts to encourage youth from diverse backgrounds to pursue careers in the Navy's officer corps and to pursue college degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).Then deputy commander of the U.S. Strategic Command, he also visited with cadets at Chicago's Air Force Academy High School and met with civic leaders over lunch at the Pritzker Military Library.
Speaking to cadets in a Junior ROTC class, Haney, a 1974 graduate of the District of Columbia Public Schools, readily admitted to cadets that he had problems with reading as a student and he wasn't particularly interested in English or history when he was their age.
"I sat in your chair many moons ago, except at Eastern High School, where I went to school in Washington, D.C., I can tell you that it wasn't as high quality as your school here. The facilities were old. Quite frankly I'll tell you I was surrounded by a bunch of knuckle heads. I might have been considered a knuckle head as well," said Haney.
Haney posed the following questions to the cadets: "So how can I be standing in front of you as three-star admiral? Do you think I left high school thinking I'd be an admiral?"
Pointing to the one attribute he thought was key to his success, Haney said, "If there is one thing I'd like you take away from my time here, it would be this; please develop a passion for learning, a passion for learning new things, a passion for learning new things you might not be very good at."
Haney continued, "When I sat in your chair oh so long ago, I wasn't too excited about history and I was less excited about English. But I worked on it over time. Now I have a deep respect, and can't get enough of reading history. You need to explore the full range of academic classes here, because you never know what your true passion or gifts in life are. But if you limit yourself now to only certain experiences, you might find yourself limited later when there's something you really want to do but can't, because you didn't bother to learn something earlier in life."
His sense of history understands that his headquarters in Honolulu is not far from where Dorie Miller won the Navy Cross during the Pearl Harbor attack while serving as a messman, just 70 years ago.
Haney completed operational assignments in USS John C. Calhoun (SSBN 630) in various division officer assignments and in USS Frank Cable (AS 40), where he completed surface warfare qualifications while serving as radiological controls officer. He served as engineer in USS Hyman G. Rickover (SSN 709), executive officer in USS Asheville (SSN 758), and assistant squadron deputy at Submarine Squadron Eight before taking command of USS Honolulu (SSN 718) in June 1996. Haney commanded Submarine Squadron One from June 2002 to July 2004, and Submarine Group Two from October 2006 to March 2008.
Haney’s shore duty tours include administrative assistant for enlisted affairs at Naval Reactors, and congressional appropriations liaison officer for the Office of the Secretary of Defense (Comptroller); Deputy Chief of Staff of Plans, Policies and Requirements, U.S. Pacific Fleet (N5N8); and director, Submarine Warfare Division (N87); director, Naval Warfare Integration Group (N00X) and deputy commander, U.S. Strategic Command, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb.
Haney’s decorations include the Navy Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal (two awards), Legion of Merit (four awards), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (three awards), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (two awards), and various campaign and unit awards. In addition, he was the 1998 Vice Admiral James Bond Stockdale Leadership Award recipient.
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