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Title:
Interview with John (Jack) C. Haney, March 25, 2008
Date:
March 25, 2008
Description:
Interview with retired Chaplain Jack Haney.
Phys. Desc:

Interviewee:  Haney, Jack Interviewer:  Zarbock, Paul Date of Interview:  3/25/2008 Series:  Military Chaplains Length  60 minutes

 

Zarbock: My name is Paul Zarbock. I'm a staff person with the University of North Carolina at Wilmington's Randall Library. Today's the 25th of March, 2008, and we're in Jacksonville, Florida. This is part of the Military Chaplains Oral History Project. Our interviewee this afternoon is Retired Chaplain Jack Haney. We had lunch together, and he is a wonderful, wonderful storyteller. This is Chaplain Jack Haney. Good afternoon, Sir.

Haney: Good afternoon, Paul.

Zarbock: Chaplain, how did you, or what influences or individual led you into the selection of the ministry as your occupational category?

Haney: Yes, sir. Well, I was influenced, first of all, by my family and my church. I grew up-- as a child, one of my first memories of going into a church was this huge church and it smelled great, because we were going down steps into the fellowship hall. And I figured as a little child, maybe 4 or 5 years old, churches aren't that bad, because they surely smell good. And everybody was there at the table having a good time. And I remember going up into the sanctuary, and I would run back and forth in the pews up in the balcony. And I don't know what the Reverend Duncan ever thought about that, but my mother would say to my dad, "Get that kid out from underneath those pews!" So Dad would get me, and I'd sit there and I'd look at this great big painting of Jesus and the rich young ruler, where the ruler turns and has to decide what he's going to do, follow Jesus or not. So anyway, time went on and I grew up in the church, Sunday school, had some very fine lay people, and finally, the time came when I was about ready to graduate from high school. And Dad said, "Well, you gonna go to college? What are you gonna do?" And I said, "Well, I hope to go to college." And he said, "Well, have you thought about the ministry?" And I said, "Yeah, but I like to dance." I was a poor dancer anyway. "I like to chase girls." I never did catch one except the one I married, and I just don't think I would be suitable for that. But Dad says, "Well let's talk to some people."

So I remember I was at a church camp as one of the counselors, and I asked one of the ministers if he'd take a walk with me along the fence line where Lake Erie is. And I said, "I don't know, I'm kind of torn. I think maybe I would like to go in the ministry, but I don't think I'm that good enough and, you know, I'm not that saintly. And I don't feel I want to do that." And he said, "Well, I'll tell you, Jack," he said. "Secret is, you look at the world or what's going on, and if you think that you have any kind of talent that might help solve some of those problems, that's where your call is."

Zarbock: How old were you at that time?

Haney: At that point, I was just about 17. I was going into my last year or so of high school. And so I put in my papers for seminary college, got approval and so forth and so on. So that was one influence. But the love of my life, more than even the parish, was the Navy Chaplain Corps, and I have to tell you about that, because at age 7, at age 7, I saw a film with James Cagney. It means nothing to you. Pat O'Brien means nothing to you. But the battleship USS Arizona, which was sunk at Pearl Harbor, haunted me, and for many years before Pearl Harbor, remember I was age 7, but what got me, was these huge battleships all in line, steaming together. And I saw these things, these monsters, come out of the water and then they'd go down and the water would spill up over the gunwales and so forth, and I thought, "Now, that is something." And I had a kind of-- after I went in the ministry, I had this kind of thought, you know, "I wish I could be out there and work with people who are at sea." I mean, it must be a wonderful thing. But of course, I kind of got rid of that. But when I was in high school, I thought maybe I could go to the Naval academy, become a Naval officer, but my vision wasn't all that good. And the math teacher was willing, but she said, "Now, anybody that wants to go to the military academies, you be here every morning at 7 o'clock, and I'm going to teach you how to pass your mathematics test." Well, I like math, but math didn't like me. And she said, "I have never had a failure, and if anybody here in this classroom thinks that they might not pass my course at 7 o'clock in the morning every day for 6 months, I'd suggest that you don't try it." So that was the end of that. So then as time went on, I went into the civilian ministry and always felt something's missing.

Zarbock: Where did you go to seminary, Sir?

Haney: Boston University School of Theology. I'm glad you asked, because that was another indication of God's guidance. I went to the University on accelerated program, so I was accepted into the School of Theology at the same time my wife to be went to a junior college for one year. Now hear me, one year. If she'd gone a year earlier or later, I never would've met her. We both came into Boston University band in 1947 and that's where we met, in the university band. She played French horn and I played trumpet. If-- and the next year, I took church so I would not have been in the band. And she-- just everything, like that. So you're shaking your head, you must have questions.

Zarbock: No, it's just one of those wonderful stories.

Haney: Yes, Sir.

Zarbock: I once heard that accidental activities are the result of God choosing to be anonymous.

Haney: That's not bad. Because now as I look back on it, that film and what I did later, then I thought to myself, "You know, I'd like to get a copy of that film, because I can remember certain scenes in there," like the battleships, the explosion in the gun turret, which is another whole story, because one of our own ships, USS Iowa, had a turret explosion. And the video of this film depicts how they passed the munitions, and you could see with the rammer and so forth, how an accident could occur. So what I'm getting at, is that that film made a profound influence on me at age 7. Now you think of what the kids today at age 7 are seeing, and they're not all headed for ministry, I guarantee you. So it's interesting. So anyway, to finish that story, I went to work and I put in a letter to a worldwide search company of movies, and I said, "By any chance, is there a film that's in existence on tape with James Cagney and Pat O'Brian called 'Here Comes the Navy?'" And by chance or divine providence, yes, the film popped up. And I said, "I want to get that copy." And I have that, and I look at that and I say that really influenced me. I mean and it wasn't so much the fire power. They didn't have- see, today's movies are different. These were very idealistic. The petty officers, the Chief Petty Officers, you get the feeling these people are motivated, they're know where they're going, they're patriotic. I like that. And they were top notch, you know, as actors. That's what they were doing. But one film after another, a Marine Corps film, a Navy film, all the time I was growing up.

At the same time that I was doing all the church work, I was president of the youth group and all those kinds of things, and we had a loyal temperance legion whereby people in the church, the young people, signed a pledge never to smoke, to drink or to have sex before marriage. And all these influences kept kind of pushing me further into-- So, when my Dad says, "Well, you have anything against the church?" I said, "I don't have anything against the church." "Well, you like people don't you?" "Yeah, most of them." He said, "And you like to speak." "Yeah, I like to speak." "Well, you could see yourself as a preacher." "Well, maybe, yeah, but--" And he said, "Well, why don't you give it a try? You can drive by the college or drive by the seminary. If it doesn't work, you know, you can always do something else." Okay. So as I say, I went to Boston University, into the band, met my wife-to-be, the rest is history. So, you must have another question.

Zarbock: Well, you are now, you've graduated from the seminary.

Haney: Yes sir.

Zarbock: And you're ordained.

Haney: Yes, sir.

Zarbock: And where did you go to serve?

Haney: Well the first thing I was-- got into- again, the irony of it is I wanted a church, and I wanted to finish my doctoral program, my Doctor of Theology Degree, because I wanted more about church history, I wanted more New Testament, more Old Testament, more counseling skills and so forth. So that adds up to extra years in there. So we decided we were going to get married, but then, okay, so I'm ordained, I'm a graduate of the seminary, how do I find a church? Well, I could go back to the bishop; the bishop is expecting me in Ohio. I said, "Well, I request permission to stay in school another year." And that was an interesting thing, because when he found out that I had my degree and I'd been out of the conference for five years, he said, "Haney, how did you do that? That program you're excused to, it's a kind of college at a school that's not for a doctoral program; that's just for your seminary program." And I said, "Well, Bishop Syrah, I kept sending in the request and you signed it, gave me approval." "Well, you have to come back, now." Well, by that time, I was ready to write my dissertation, so that wasn't a problem, but here's the irony. A church is open in Salem, New Hampshire. I'd been serving a little church in Massachusetts on weekends, and some of those parishioners are from Salem. They had relatives. And they said, "You know, there's a church, a congregational church, in Salem, New Hampshire, right across the border. They haven't had a pastor for months, and they're looking for a pastor. And they have a parsonage and it might be, you know, if you go up and meet with them and preach as a candidate for that, maybe you could go there. Because you're in school anyway, you're not on the Bishop's church appointment, so that's okay."

So we were there, five years. Here comes the kicker. There was a Methodist church right around the town square. You could walk from the Congregational Church right down and around the corner. And this was all a rural area, beautiful trees, you know, and right around the corner a Methodist Church. So the Methodist Church can't get a preacher through the Bishop, and so they say, "We don't have any available." So they call a Congregational minister to serve the Methodist church, and I'm a Methodist right out of seminary and I'm serving the Congregational Church. So if you don't think we had a lot of laughter about that. And the townspeople would say, "Well, you're a Methodist, what are you doing in a Congregational church?" Because they called me. Well, you're a Congregational minister, what are you doing in a Methodist church? They didn't have enough ministers. So, came to me and asked me if I'd serve. So here we are. So we were five years that way.

Zarbock: Have you remained friends?

Haney: No, when we came back to Ohio, he was very elderly, and in fact I think he was about ready to retire. That was gonna be his last year. So I lost-- we moved out, and I lost track of him.

Zarbock: Although it is paradoxical, isn't it?

Haney: Well, God does some strange things. I really think he has a wonderful sense of humor. I really do. Because when I look back on some of the things, I said, "Lord, you did it again," you know. And it's been a wonderful ministry. I mean, I enjoy the civilian parish; it has its place, that's great. But I said to my wife, Pat, you know, "I don't know if you want to stay in the Northeast Ohio area all the rest of our lives."

Zarbock: How would you describe Northeastern Ohio at the time you were there?

Haney: Basically, it was very prosperous. It was a steel mill of Cleveland. I mean, the steel mills were all over. What they would do, is bring down the ore from up in the Northern part of Lake Superior, and so would Lake Michigan. They'd bring the oil down to Cleveland, and then the Pennsylvania trains would bring in the coal. So you had the coal and the iron ore coming together in Cleveland. Then, south of Cleveland, we had Akron, which was the tire center of the world. They manufactured all kinds of tires. So it was very, very heavily industrialized. And the community of Cleveland and Lakewood where I grew up, were residential. It wasn't farmland, but many of the people who were in Cleveland worked in the mills.

Zarbock: And prosperous.

Haney: And prosperous, yes. Now, question is okay, do you want to spend the, and they didn't tell me this when I signed up for Methodist ministry, necessarily, do you want to spend the rest of your life within the confines of a Northeast Ohio corner, because that's where our conference is? The boundaries are the East Ohio corner. I said to Pat, "You know, I think there's more to the world than Northeast Ohio, and I would surely like to see some of that and see what's going on around us." And she said, "I agree." She said, "I grew up in a little town in New Hampshire, Rochester, New Hampshire, a little town named Gonic. My forefathers are there and that's fine, but my aunts married somebody and they settled down and they have-- that's how they spend their life, and my mom and dad did the same thing. They got married and they settled there. And I, you know, it's all right to be in a little country church, but I'd surely like to see what's going on in the rest of the world." And so, we said, "Okay." So I put in my papers, and--

Zarbock: When you say, "put in my papers," what does that mean?

Haney: It means a request. You have to go through a Recruiting Officer, and you have to have a physical exam and a security check and all that kind of thing, plus, you have to have the endorsement of the Bishop. And he said, "Well, yeah, okay," you know. It's one less, he didn't say this, but the one less deployment to worry about. "We've got all these Methodist ministers, and they all want the same large churches, and so okay, you want to go out there and sail for a while, go." So I went.

Zarbock: Why did you pick the Navy? There's the Air Force, there's the Army.

Haney: All they do is, the Air Force flies, and I talked to so many people after I was a Navy Chaplain, they said, you know, the Air Force has chap-- Now, there's nothing wrong with the military service, and I'm not saying that. But they say we go from one Air Force base to another Air Force base, to another Air Force base, and they're all about the same. I said, "In the Navy, you can serve Marines, you can serve Coast Guard, you can serve Naval Air, you can serve surface ships, you can serve submarines." Now, that is a broad spectrum. And I said to a number of people who were considering the Navy Chaplain Corps, I said, "The Navy chaplain Corps will take every bit of skill and knowledge that you can possibly muster, and demand that you produce on all these different areas." I said, "Army, yeah, but you're getting into tanks or you're getting infantry, and it kind of-- that's it." Not in the Navy. You can be sent anywhere in any kind of duty and you're going to enjoy it. By the way, anybody I can sign up for the Navy Chaplain Corps while we're talking? If there's anybody out there interested, I'll be glad to talk to you about it. It's a wonderful way of life. But in any case, some of the chaplains wanted to stay with the Marines all the time and the Navy-- so the Chief of Chaplains said no, you can't do that. You've had three tours with the Marines already, and there's more to the Navy Chaplain Corps than Marines.

Zarbock: Let me probe a little bit. I heard this from other chaplains and one of the high points of the Navy chaplaincy, one of the high points of their military career was serving with the Marines. What makes the Marines such an object of attraction?

Haney: Well, there are two things. Here's one of them. It's the tradition of the Marine Corps. Marines look out for one another. Of course, you can say, "Well, they do in the Army, too." I'll grant that, but this, to me, depicts the spirit of the Marine Corps. I'm not a Marine, but I had privilege of serving with Marines. Not in combat. I'm not saying I was decorated or anything like that, but right now, at Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps, we have a cadre of Marines, active duty, who are going to go on and get a commission. So the thing about the Marines, is they're very disciplined. If you don't like discipline, go to boot camp, and when you come out, you'll be well disciplined. They have a very specific way of their uniforms. They take pride in uniforms. Here it is, generations of valor. That's their heritage. That's their tradition.

I have a photo, simply, of also the Navy, where the white hat-- fellow with the white hat and the bell bottom trousers standing with his little boy, and they're looking at the USS Constitution. Now you may think that the USS Constitution is a historic ship, but I'll tell you why it's historic. We had our first date on that ship. Yes, we did. First afternoon together, we went there and then we went to church at night. Now, you know, they say, "Hey, you're kind of playing games with that girl you were dating." Yeah, I was. I was out to get her and I did, but the USS Constitution, I told our children and our grandchildren, that ship that's in the pictures, not this one, but we had our first date on the decks of that ship. So that ship has very special meaning. We have pictures, paintings of Constitution, all over the house. So the tradition, the tradition.

You talk about people, they don't have any roots, they don't have anything to cling to. Well, you go in the Navy, in the Marine Corps, those were the earliest services that we had, plus the Army, of course, Continental Army, but there's so much tradition and valor and self-sacrifice. In fact, probably some of you won't like what I'm going to say, but I can honestly say I've seen more Christian behavior or religious behavior in the military-- whatever branch, whatever your denomination-- I have seen more genuine behavior along religious lines in the military than I have seen in some churches, and I served local churches for quite a while. And I know what I'm speaking about. But these people, these people lay their life on the line for their shipmates. And right now, even over in Iraq, it's still going on. We've had people blown apart by throwing themselves on grenades to save their shipmates. We call them shipmates, even though they're Marines. And the Navy too, and the Coast Guard. I mean, you can go on and on and on, but this is the thing that's back with me, now. When you get with the Marines, they love their Corpsmen, because their Corpsmen will save their lives in battle, and many Corpsmen have given their lives in battle. And they love their chaplains.

I'll tell you one incident. We were in Vietnam. I'm not the chaplain, but this chaplain told us at a chaplain's meeting. This young First Lieutenant Marine came in, and he said, "Chaplain, I want to see you." He was in the pup tent. He said, "I need to talk to you." Chaplain said, "Well, sit down, son, what's up?" He said, "Did you ever kill a man?" Chaplain says, "No." He said, "Well, I just came off patrol and I killed my first human being. It was a Vietcong, and he was coming at me, and," he said, "I pulled out my 45 and I shot him right in the head." And he said, "That really crushed me. I mean here I am, I'm a human being, he's a human being, he wears a different uniform, I wear a different uniform. We just have different beliefs and so forth. He was gonna kill me. He was coming at me. And so I shot and killed him." And then he broke down and cried. He said, "Chaplain, there's nobody I can tell this story to." He said, "I certainly can't tell it to my young Marines, that I shot a man and I'm all broken up about this." He said, "I can't very well tell my company commander, because he'll say 'Okay, son, you know, you're going to sick bay because we can't have this.' Or I can't tell the Commanding General, you know, that was a hard thing for me to do. I'm a Marine. I know that. But nevertheless, that was a very traumatic thing. So there's really nobody else I can talk to about this, except the chaplain. I want you to talk to me about life and death, what we're doing here and what we're supposed to be doing. Why we're fighting this war and so forth and so on."

So, the Marines have a great deal of respect for their chaplains and their Corpsmen, and believe me, the Corpsmen and the chaplains have a great deal of respect for Marines on what they stand for, and they've proven it, time and time again. No question. Always faithful, semper fidelis. You give them a mountain to take; they'll take it. They may come back in shreds, but they'll take the mountain.

And so there's a close bond, to the point where there was a chaplain who was killed in Vietnam; they named the destroyer after him, and we took the chaplains up to Boston to see it commissioned, and that was a very moving experience. And he gave his life. What was happening was that they were ambushed in Vietnam, and one of the men was wounded. So a Corpsman went out to try to bind up his wounds, and of course the Corpsman was caught in a crossfire and he was badly injured trying to minister to this Marine. So thereupon, their Catholic chaplain, one of the only ones they had with them, went out, also because it was very important to him as a Catholic, that these two people have, the last rites, they used to call them, now they call it sacrament of the sick. So he went out and he was caught in the crossfire and just cut to ribbons. So that was a very moving in our history, as we don't have that many chaplains that are killed. But the Marines know, wherever the Marines are, there's gonna be a chaplain very close to them, somewhere. And that's part of the heritage, lends into the tradition of the United States Marine Corps.

Zarbock: But you have to live up to that heritage. You, the Navy Chaplain.

Haney: Yes, Sir.

Zarbock: Couldn't soften the requirements that the Marines placed upon themselves. You had to get to those requirements that a Marine places upon himself.

Haney: Yes.

Zarbock: So if it's a 25-mile march, you go.

Haney: And the general, we're in the Vietnam area. Where I was down in Shu Lei, they issued an order that chaplains will not go on patrol for anything less than a battalion evolution, you know, eight men patrol or 12 men going out and the chaplain goes along. They said, "The chaplains are not expendable, so we don't want you to do that." Well, every once in awhile, you'd find the chaplain out there. "Chaplain, you're not supposed to be here. I know it and you know it, now let's get on with it." And so the order came up, and now it's gonna-- Right, I understand that, okay.

Zarbock: Within the context, the question I'm going to ask you, I characteristically ask during the second part, but I want to get to it now, because you're really into the concept of command and the responsibilities that goes with the command and the requirements to follow orders. As a Navy chaplain serving a variety of parts, were you ever ordered, were you ever broadly hinted, or even to the point of a nudge and a wink, asked to do something that you felt was in violation of your religious and military values?

Haney: No, sir. I was never asked, I was never told to do anything like that. What was humorous was, I had, when we were at Officer Candidate School, Jesus Christ Superstar, the Broadway production, had come out, with all the music and so forth. So this one Sunday I thought, "Well, this will be good. We're gonna have some of the music from that show, Jesus Christ Superstar. So it went well, and the young officer candidates enjoyed it and so forth. Well, Monday morning, my supervisor chaplain got a call, and I said, "What's up?" He says, "Oh, the head shed wants to see me about that service yesterday that you did." And I said, "Well, what about it?" And he said, "Well, he didn't like it very much." And I said, "Well now, wait a minute." I said, "It was my service. I designed it, I was there, I lead that service, I'm proud of that service; how come you get to go up and talk with him?" "I'm your supervisor," he said. "Don't worry about it, I'll talk him down." So he went up and he talked and came back, and I said, "How did it go?" "Okay; he didn't change my mind at all. I supported you, because I believe in what you did. Well, he just didn't care for it." Well, the next day Newsweek magazine came out with the Jesus Christ Superstar thing for the young at heart. So here we are. And that was the closest I ever came to anybody every telling me, "No, you can't do that," or "No, you cannot say that."

Zarbock: Chaplain, you sent me a document, and on page 14, I'm going to read paragraph 2; you're the author of this document. I'm going to read the whole thing. "The Navy Chaplain's Corps' historic motto, 'Cooperation Without Compromise.' It's more relevant today than ever before. Today's Navy has gone far beyond grandfather's or even father's Navy, not only in technology and weapons systems, but in human relations as well. Many in the Naval Services are of the Islamic faith, the Buddhist faith or other faith groups. In fact, the very time-honored Navy Chaplain Corps seal has been redesigned to reflect this more diverse, yet inclusive trend." So would you comment on cooperation without compromise? Number two: What was the original seal and what is it now?

Haney: Okay. I'm running out of breath. Could you secure this for a moment, and we'll get back to...?

Zarbock: Chaplain, I asked you to comment on the phrase, "Cooperation Without Compromise."

Haney: Yes, sir. Well, the legend has it that some chaplains were in a meeting, trying to decide cooperatively how they were gonna handle a problem. And one of the chaplains just happened to make a remark, "Well, we'll cooperate, but we won't compromise." And that was kind of picked up. The other chaplains said, you know, "That's kind of an interesting phrase." And so gradually, over a period of time, that became the Navy Chaplain Corps motto, "Cooperation Without Compromise." And the seal, this one doesn't have it, but some of the seals would have that printed. Cooperation, yes, we do corporate ministry. And one of the privileges I had, which I never would have had in a civilian parish, was to be able to talk to this Southern Baptist, this Roman Catholic priest, this Greek Orthodox priest, this Jewish priest, and they're right down the hall in some of the stations. On a ship, you might have a Roman Catholic as your boss, you might have a Baptist as your boss, but that's not the issue. The issue is, how can we do ministry to our people? How can we do it effectively? How can we do it, cooperating as much as we can, without sacrificing our principles, our doctrine, our dogma?

Zarbock: Now I see there's a Navy anchor.

Haney: Yes sir, symbol of hope.

Zarbock: To the left and right.

Haney: Yes. Left is the cross, Latin cross, representing the Protestants or the Christian. Over here is the Jewish Tablets with the Star of David. And these two are the symbols of the early days of the Chaplain Corps. You were Christian or Jewish or other.

Zarbock: Would you pick up the school plaque?

Haney: School plaque, yes. Chaplain School had its own seal, and you'll notice, here, there's very historic interest. Here is the upraised palm in benediction of the Protestant Christian. Here is the Jewish sign of peace, "Go in peace." And here is the Roman Catholic priest with the host and the cross, the Latin cross, here. So Protestant, Catholic, Jewish or Jewish, Protestant, Catholic, or Catholic, whatever you want to do. But these were the three faiths. So this was the seal of the chaplain school. And the chaplain school seal says, "Chaplain's School, Cooperation Without Compromise." That was what we were taught. You people who are chaplains, you have a responsibility to all of your people, whether they're atheists or whether they're Catholic or Protestant or Jewish or whatever; we are responsible to see that those people can practice their faith. Well, I'm Protestant. I am not Catholic. That doesn't relieve you from your responsibility. You have to provide Catholic service for those people. "How am I gonna do that?" Well, Catholic lay people are trained by the priest. They are given the host and consecrated elements to take with them on shipboard. Your responsibility's to make sure that that ship has a Catholic lay leader with the equipment that he needs, okay? Now, there are no priests around? As soon as you're in company with other ships, you send a message. "Are there any Catholic chaplains on board? We have Catholic personnel here who would like to have mass said by a Catholic priest." Maybe not. You get into port, you send messages, they send messages back and forth, okay. "We need a Protestant, we need a Catholic, we need a Jewish. Are any of these present on any of these ships?"

It doesn't mean that the Catholic chaplain cannot help a Protestant, nor a Jewish chaplain is relieved from helping a Catholic. That's not the point. That is what attracted me to the Navy Chaplain Corps. The person, the man, the woman there, the whitehead, the enlisted, senior officers, doctors, all do respect our faith, our heritage, but the person, the person made in the image of God, deserves, according to our nation's policy, to be able to practice their faith as much as possible.

Now, of course we have some problems with dietary things. People understand that. You're not supposed to work on the Sabbath; we can care for that. You work on this day, which is so and so's Sabbath. He works on your day so you have Sabbath off. That's cooperation. That's not compromise. That's cooperation. That's one of the things I liked about the Chaplain Corps. Now I've been in a civilian parish. I know, very parochial. You go to this church, you try to get members into this church. Where is the spirit of oneness in Christ, or if you're not Christian, Jewish, well we all came from the same roots, Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim, Father Abraham, Ishmael. Okay, so we're all in this, together.

Now, it's my task as a Navy chaplain to see to it that you have every opportunity to practice your faith, and if you don't want to practice your faith, we'll try and get you, but we're not out there to proselytize or convert. I had one young sailor who said, "By the time this cruise is over, every person on this ship will be converted to Christianity." I said, "No, it doesn't work that way." I said, "You're free to practice your own faith, but you're not free to take some of these people, lock them in a compartment with you, and pray all night long until they really say 'Okay, I believe in Christ.' That's not the way we do it." That's not the way we do it. We're to cooperate with each other without compromise. And that's one of the things that I enjoyed very much about being privileged to serve as a Navy Chaplain in your country's navy.

Zarbock: Chaplain, I told you off-camera, you're the 70th chaplain who I've interviewed.

Haney: Yes, Sir.

Zarbock: Of that universe of interviewees, a small sample population have indicated their deep concern about the proliferation of religious groups. You have the Wiccans, the Symons, and on and on and on. It would appear, these are my words, Chaplain, not yours, my words. It would appear if you could get a few people together and say we've invented a new religion, that the Chaplain Corps would have to make some sort of provision for that. Would you comment about the proliferation?

Haney: Well, there is no doubt a proliferation, but again let me cite what I said earlier. I had a young man when I was on the carrier USS Franklin D. Roosevelt. He came to see me. He said, "Chaplain, I'd like to talk with you," and I said, "Sure." He said, "Well, I'm a witch, and I feel uncomfortable trying to practice my religion as a witch in the living spaces." He said, "I don't have any privacy," and he said, "I know that people'd kind of make fun of me if I were to tell them I'm a witch. And so what I'd like, Chaplain, is to have a space where I could go in private and practice my religion. Can you do that?" And I said, "Well, let me talk with the Captain of the ship and see what we can work out." So the Captain said to me, "Okay, do you think that he's going to start any fires or try to blow up the ship because he's a witch?" And I said, "No, sir. He asked simply for a compartment that he could be by himself, anchor locker somewhere where he could be for his devotions." And he said, "Well, sounds okay to me if you keep in touch with him, and if he shows any odd behavior, you let me know." I said, "No, this man is sincere, I believe in what he says. I don't believe in his beliefs, no, and I'm not compromising my beliefs," but I said, "He is a sincere young man who is saying, 'I would like to practice my religion in private. Ccan you help me get a space?'" So I went back to him and I said, "Captain says okay, you can have a space. We'll find one for you and you can go in there, be by yourself, that'll be your space." So it's possible to cooperate without compromise, and so I was very sorry when, of necessity, they dropped that motto, because they just didn't feel it was no longer any value. But to me it is. It's a great value. And I hate to see it pass out of our heritage. This is part of our heritage here. I told you about the Constitution, and that's where we had our first date, my wife and I. But you can see what the message is. Here's a young sailor, and he knows he has to be on sea duty, but that was true in the sailing days. That's what it's all about, country's flag, little boy standing in awe about that ship, maybe 5 or 6 or 7 years old, maybe. I don't know, but that's the impressionable age when I saw those battleships in line, the USS Arizona in that film, which, of course, the Arizona was later blown up at Pearl Harbor. But that's the heritage. That is our heritage. And as Navy chaplains, we have the heritage to protect it, to perpetuate. So that's why we join the Navy Chaplain Corps.

Zarbock: Chaplain, I should put this into context. The chaplain and I had lunch before this interview and he is a wonderful, wonderful storyteller and I'm looking for some stories. So I'm going to shift the focus from intensely important to intensely important in a different realm. Recall, if you can, a few of the humorous things that took place during your service.

Haney: Okay. Well, one of the most humorous was when I was with the Seabees. I'd gone down to Guantanamo Bay and they were deployed, and I joined them close to the end of their deployment. But at that time, Castro was holding a stranglehold on the water that was going out to the Naval Base. And he could shut the water down any time he pleased. So the order was, they sent over to California and they transported desalinization plant and arrived in Gitmo, Guantanamo Bay. And our Seabees worked day and night, 7 days a week and so forth to get that thing together. But they did such a good job, the Marines came over one time and they said, "I wish you Seabees would do something about this," they said. The Cubans on the other side have these huge spotlights, and every night they turn these things on right into the eyes of our guards, our Marine Corps guards. United States Marines are on the other side of this fence. You've heard about the fence line. "And so," they said, "it's just irritating and it's blinding our Marines, and it's really irking us. They're not shooting at us. No, no, no. They simply turn on their searchlights full blast and aim them right at the eyes of our Marine sentries." Seabee said, "Sure, we can do that. Can do."

So what they did, they went out and they built this huge concrete anchor and symbol, the eagle, the globe and the anchor. They built that out of cement, huge thing, right in the line of the flood light, so that every time the Cubans turned on the floodlight, they were illuminating the United States Marine Corps symbol. Well, that lasted a couple of nights and then the lights went off and they never turned them on again. Because every time they did, that they showed the United States Marine Corps, all on duty, 24 hours a day, always there. You want to challenge us? No. Shut the lights off. So that was one thing that happened. Humorous stories give me a hint. Let's see. Tell you one that wasn't so funny. You want that one?

Zarbock: Yeah.

Haney: Frank Morton was my Senior Chaplain at Camp Lejeune, and this was during the Vietnam era. And he said, "Haney, I want you to go with me. It's midnight, but we have to make a death notification." And he said, "I want some company, 'cause I don't know where this place is. It's out in the boonies somewhere. So we're gonna go out." And I said, "Okay, midnight, yes." Marine Corps commandant says, "I want you to make the death notification, and notify us immediately when you've completed that task." Okay. So we went out, and of course it's out in nowhere. There were no lights, dirt roads and everything. So, here we are, two of us, and I said, "Oh, maybe we should do this in the morning." "No, you can't do that in the morning. You have to go out now. We got the message, and your orders are deliver this and notify us, so that we can then send the casualty assistance officer to the family and express our sympathy, but also make arrangements and talk about the death gratuity and so forth." Okay.

So we finally find this trailer in a end of a field with a dirt road. And so Chaplain Morton goes up, knocks on the door. Nobody answers. Nobody answers. Finally the door opens a crack, like this, and this woman peeks around the door and says, "Yes?" He said, "Ma'am, I'm Chaplain Frank Morton from the Marine Corps Base, Camp Lejeune. I need to talk with you a little bit." "Well, can't it wait 'til morning?" "No, Ma'am, I'm afraid it cannot wait 'til morning." "Well, what's it about?" And he said, "Well, Ma'am, if you can just let me come in with my assistant here, we'll talk about it." She said, "Well, okay, but just don't come in the house, just-- I'll open the door a little bit." So he said, "Yes, Ma'am. Well, I'm here to tell you regretfully, that your husband was killed in action in Vietnam." "Okay. How did it happen?" "Well, we're not sure about that. The details haven't come in yet." "Well, there is a death gratuity, isn't there?" "Yes, Ma'am, there is a death gratuity." "Well how much is it?" "Well, that's why I'm here, to prepare you so the casualty assistance officer can assist you and do the paperwork and so forth." So she opened the door just a little crack more, and right around the corner there was a gentleman in a bathrobe peeking around the corner to hear what the conversation was.

So after Chaplain Morton finished and expressed his sympathy on behalf of the United States government and the Marine Corps, he excused himself and we turned around and left. He got into that car and slammed the door and he was just furious, just furious. He was just-- he said, "To think that the only thing that that young woman was concerned about was how much money she would get from her husband being killed. And at the time I was talking about her husband being killed for his country, this guy in the bathrobe comes out and peeks." He said, "I just cannot handle that." But he said, "We're due back at the base, because I have to go back and send a message immediately that this message was delivered." And the Marine Corps takes it from there. So that taught me a lot. I mean, he wasn't insulting, he didn't lose his cool. He just handled the situation. And I was just watching and listening and saying, "Okay, Chaplain Morgan, what are you gonna do next?" And he handled it beautifully.

(Tape Change)

Zarbock: Chaplain Jack Haney, tape number two. Military Chaplain's Oral History Project. Jacksonville, Florida. The 25th of March, 2008. Tape 2.

Haney: Well, it was rather interesting when I reported on board of the Roosevelt, Rusty Rosey, you've seen that before. But they said, "Hey, Chaplain." They said, "You walked down the passageway yet?" And I said, "Yes." He said, "You notice what we call the Rusty Rosey Shuffle?" I said, "Oh, what's that?" He said, "Well, you see the sailors doing this when they're walking down the passageway." I said, "Yes, I've noticed that. What is that?" He said, "That's the Rusty Rosey Shuffle. What that means is, they're dancing over the cockroaches, they're stomping on cockroaches as they walk down the passageway, and we call that the Rusty Rosey Shuffle." So I took that on board, and I'm thinking about it, and we went into the boardroom for lunch and all of the sudden, there was a cockroach that fell from the overhead into a young Lieutenant's soup. And he said, "Good grief! There's a cockroach in my soup." And I said, "Yeah, well, it happens." So this ship is so old, World War II vintage. And they've tried everything to exterminate these cockroaches, but over the years, they've just built an immunity to everything that the Navy had. However, before the ship was actually decommissioned, they had solved that problem. But they were very diligent about it and everybody at this table laughed when they saw this cockroach descend, "swish," right into the bowl of soup.

Another thing that happened was, I was on the bridge of Roosevelt, no, Roosevelt's Forestall, and we were doing a battle exercise with Roosevelt, and one of the young officers said, "Now, Chaplain, you see that carrier over there?" And I said "Yes, sir." "Well, that's the USS Franklin Roosevelt." "Yes, sir." "Well, you see how it goes like a greyhound, like this, through the waves like this?" "Yes, sir." "That's a ship you never want to be on, because it's terrible." I said, "Oh, okay."

Well, guess what? I had three years, a little bit later, on the USS Franklin D. Roosevelt, and she did go like this. But, it was a good ship and we had a good crew. As a matter of fact, we did battle scenario with the John F. K. when it was brand new and their air-wing was fabulous, you know, and the ship was beautiful, blah, blah, blah. So our air-wing says, "Okay." So the air-wing did their mock attacks and so forth, and they could never find our people. Some reason, they could not find them, but we could always find-- well, we, I didn't fly, but, I mean, our pilots, our aircrews, they found the JFK, time and time again. And so, she lost the war game that were out there. Beaten by old Rusty Rosey. So it was that I came down from the bridge when we had evening prayer; we always had evening prayer about 10 o'clock at night. Chaplain would go up, I would share with my Roman Catholic Padre; we'd alternate.

And so anyway, I'd come down the ladder and I went into the bakery and, nosing around, visiting with the troops, you know, and I said, "What are you doing with all these stacks of large trays?" And they said, "Oh, well, those are the trays that we bake the brownies in." I said, "Okay; what are you going to do with them?" "Oh, going to throw all the brownies over the side." I said, "That's crazy. There's nothing wrong with-- " "Oh, Chaplain," they said, "nobody's going to eat the edges around the pan; that's all crusty." I said, "Yeah, it is crusty." "Well, we always cut about an inch-and-a-half away from that, see, so all this perimeter of brownies is left, there." I said, "Yeah, you're going to throw it away anyway, huh?" And they said, "Yeah, you want some?" "Oh, yeah!" I said. So every night after I would have evening prayer, I'd beat it down there if they were baking brownies, and that was stack after stack of these things that they were going to throw overboard. So, I would indulge. I figure, well, I go up and down ladders every day, I'm not going to get too fat anyway. But they were delicious brownies. And they were just nice and crisp around that edge, so I enjoyed that very much. That was one of the benefits of being at sea.

Oh, this happened. We were coming back on Rusty Rosey and we ran into a severe storm, and I mean by that, that the wind and the waves were tremendous. And so we were starting to take water over the bow. And the Captain said to me, "Chaplain, you better get down to the hanger bay and see what's going on for me, please." So I went down to the hangar bay, and our people were standing knee-deep, knee-deep in water, trying to push the water out from the hangar bay. And the aircraft were down there chained, somewhere in their place. But you could look up and you could see, on either side, port of starboard, the ladders that go up to the catwalk that goes out the bow. And it's wide open. And the water is cascading down, like Niagara Falls, both sides. And they said, "Chaplain, this is not good." And I said, "Well, why are there no doors?" "Oh, while we were in the yard in Philadelphia; somebody decided we didn't need water-tight doors on the catwalk." I said "What?" I said, "Don't they know the catwalk is where you go when you service the planes and them you come down here and that's an open space? And they don't need water-tight doors?" "Well, that's what the told us, Chaplain," so here we are, trying to get rid of the water that comes down here and we try to get rid of it. "Of course," they said, "everything is shorted out. We couldn't launch an aircraft if we had to, we can't fire any of our weapons because everything is shorted out." So I went up to the Captain, and he said, "Yeah, I heard about that already, Chaplain, but," he said, "we've already sent a message requesting permission to change our speed and our course to get out of the storm." They wrote back and said, "Continue course and speed."

Okay, so we're in this thing, and the waves are coming along the thing. So he sends a second message and he says, "Request permission to change course and speed." "Request denied. Continue course and speed." He says, "The lifeboats, not that we're going to need them, but I mean, everything is wiped out all along the catwalks. Everything is being wiped over the side, and I keep telling them we're in a desperate situation now, with the boats hanging by the davits, so would, can we please change course and speed?" "Continue course and speed." Well, we had one fatality, and that was sad, but it goes to show you how deep the friendship is. Chief Petty Officer had come into the Chief Petty Officer's mess and he was taking off his raingear and so-forth, from the hangar bay, which was flooded. And his buddy said, "Come on with me," he said. "I need to check my aircraft." He said, "I was just up there, I just checked mine, they're fine." "No, I want you to come with me, because I want you to help me check these things." "Okay." So he puts his raingear back on, he goes up the ladder, okay. They're checking this other fellow's planes, chief's planes all secure, he did that. All of the sudden, this huge wave hits us broadside and the whole hangar bay door is ripped off the rollers and pinned him down beneath the tail assembly of a plane. Now, these are heavy hangar bay doors, so the chances of his survival are zero. But anyway, the medics, the doctor, everybody worked very, very hard. They couldn't save his life, so that was our only fatality as a result of that storm, and the water was cascading down in, as I said a moment ago.

Okay, so we get back to port, and the Captain came into a staff meeting one day, after we arrived, and he said, "Well, gentlemen," he said, "they acknowledged that yes, we were in a terrible situation, but on the other hand, they didn't think it was that bad. So, just continue as you were." So we tried to explain to them the precariousness of our situation, and they said, "Well, you know, you could handle that, so we just messaged, 'Continue, continue.'" I have the clipping of the newspaper that shows the ship coming into port, with the boats dangling and so forth. So we get into port and tie up, you know, the guy got a mess hall down there. So I'm in the chow line, and there's a four-striper, that's a Captain; I wasn't a Captain at that point. And so he said, "Chaplain," he said, "I am part of the inspecting party." He said, "I understand you had some severe damage." "Yes, sir, we surely did." "Tell me about that." And I said, "Well, some idiots in Philadelphia decided we did not need watertight doors on the catwalks; now, anything more stupid that that, you can't imagine. This guy must have really been a case." "Well, Chaplain, I was the one that made that decision." "Oh, okay." And I got my chow [laughs] and exited as soon as I could, but I don't think he was pleased with me and I certainly wasn't pleased with him. I didn't know who he was.

Zarbock: And that leads us directly into another topic again. I'm going to read part of the document that you sent. I won't read it all. I want you to finish it up. Okay, here we go. "Another chaplain failed selection for promotion. His church required that he refrain from conducting divine services with female ordinance. Refusing to violate his church's polity, despite the goading of his superior chaplain, he was subsequently marked 'very poor judgment' on this officer's fitness report, with a vague reference being uncooperative and stubborn." So, officer's fitness report. Having made that remark, start off with your remark and then transfer into a broader-- Have you made a remark like that to a four-striper who said, "I'm the one that gave the order?" Could that have shown up on your fitness report?

Haney: No, at first point, he wouldn't have dared. Because he knew that that was a boldfaced mistake. And if he tried to do anything, the crew probably would have risen up in arms and said, "You're responsible, at least for one death, that chief." Because without the proper security, the water was down there and creating-- and the planes that were moving around. And the other part of that story, which is probably not-- I shouldn't say it, but I walked in the chief engineer's office in port one day, after the storm was over, and I said, "What are these little round balls in your basket?" And he said, "You don't want to know." I said, "Yeah, I'd like to know what they are." And he said, "No, you don't want to know." I said, "Yes, I do want to know." He said "Okay, I'll tell you want they are." He said, "These are the ball bearings that were on that were on that roller when that hangar door collapsed and killed that Chief Petty Officer." And he said, "They did not meet our specifications. We sent in specifications for much larger and heavier roller bearings, and this is what they installed." So he said, "Now you understand why they're in my basket. We're going to send them in, and explain what happened in the death of this Chief Petty Officer. But," he says, "you'll never read about this. This will never get through to any press. They wouldn't dare release this. But to save a few bucks, somebody said, "Well, they don't need heavy bearings like that. After all, it's an old ship, why should we waste the money? Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah." That's what happened. But getting back to this particular case, when you write a fitness report for anybody, there are ways of writing fitness reports that send a message. Now, this was a Senior Chaplain who was writing a performance report on a Junior Chaplain, knowing that his promotion for the next grade would depend upon these kinds of fitness reports. It was getting into that point. And so he very subtly put the-- because I read the fitness report. This young man worked with me and he said, "You know, if I fail selection this time, my career is over. Because the board is already rejected me once." So I said, "Well, I tell you what. If you wouldn't mind, if you would let me read your report, maybe we can go back over it and explain, you know, appeal this decision, based on what you tell me." So he said, "No, I don't have any objections." So I read it; it was very well written, but very subtle in the fact that this chaplain obeyed his church's teaching, which was not to have females, you know, "We don't believe in that up in the pulpit area doing the sacraments, we don't do that." And his chaplain said he was uncooperative; he showed poor judgment, not specifics, not specifics, no, no, no. But this was what the line was. And so, being uncooperative and being unsupportive and being somewhat stubborn and not recommended for a promotion. Well, when a Captain writes that about a chaplain, the Board's going to say, "Okay, who's the next guy?" Because he's not going to make promotion.

So, here's the good part. Admiral Hall, Admiral of the Atlantic Fleet Submarine Force, Third Division, I think it was, but anyway, in those days, we had what they call a fleet religious support activity, which was an attempt to save billets. And what they did, they said, "Okay, since the government is cutting back on billets, we'll pool our chaplains to save billets, because they'll all be assigned to one unit." And then with a Supervisory Chaplain they can filter out, you go on this ship, you go on this ship, you go on this ship, when you come back we'll rotate and so on and so forth.

Okay, so this young chaplain was working for the Admiral, Submarine Division, very unusual for chaplains to be assigned to submarines, anyway. But this was Submarine Division. So, the Admiral says, "You know, I'm getting tired of having my chaplains rotated like this." He says, "Just when I get used to them, then you move them out." And I said, "Well, their tour is only supposed to be six months." And he said, "Well, I want 12 months out of my chaplains." And I said, "Well, sir, put that in writing." He said, "I'll put it in writing." And he did, so word came down: "Do not transfer these chaplains." Six-month period to the Submarine Division; that is a 12-month tour. Fine. So it came time for this chaplain to go before the Performance Review Board selection the last time. So the Admiral said to me, "This chaplain's coming up for promotion, right?" And I said, "Yes, sir. And he's failed selection once. Yes, sir." "What's the story on that?" I said, "Well, sir, you can read it yourself here. Apparently, the Senior Chaplain didn't agree with this gentleman's policy and was interfering with his doctrine that the church says, 'You can't do this.'" The senior officer says, "Well, you're not cooperating. I want you to do this." "Oh, okay."

So the Admiral wrote his own endorsement and attached it to the fitness report. He was selected for a promotion next time around. He said, "That is intolerable," the Admiral, this is a line officer, submarine, nothing to do with the boss, you know. This is incorrect, you should not have to do this for a young man who is standing by his beliefs. "I agree." He sent it, I sent a copy endorsement and he was promoted.

Zarbock: How much of a sword of Damocles is the efficiency report? I'm sorry, what's the technical term?

Haney: Fitness report.

Zarbock: How much of a threat is that?

Haney: It's only a threat to the people who are not willing, for whatever reason, ignorance or they just don't care, to monitor their own performance. You get a copy of your fitness report each time, and as much as I could, as often as I could, I would sit down with the chaplain and I'd say, "Now look, what you need...," and this was a line officer who told me in the very beginning when I was thinking about maybe going into the Navy permanently, putting in for it. And he says, "Well, Chaplain," he said, "the skipper who wrote this is being merciful to you. I mean he's-- you're a good guy, but you're not outstanding, but you're not bad, you're kinda in the middle." I said, "So, what do I do?" He said, "What you do is this: you take your fitness report each time and you look for weaknesses where you didn't get a 4-0. And then you use that for your next fitness report and this is how you do it. You target those areas and you significantly improve. This is your target, this is where you're not strong. So you try to compensate for that by improving your own performance in those areas." So I passed that on to my chaplains whenever I had a chance. I said, "If you want to be promoted, then this is what you have to do. Look for your weaknesses, never mind what they say about the good points, look for your weaknesses. And then as the Selection Board looks at this, they'll say, 'Well, over here-- oh, but look. Look, he's improved, he's improved, he improved. Well, that shows growth, that shows maturity. That shows he knows what he's doing, that shows he actually recognizes his weaknesses and he'll compensate, he'll work on that. Let's promote him. We've got something here we can work with.'

Okay, now, there was a sad case on Okinawa. I was assigned the First Marine Aircraft Wing; I have their plaque here somewhere. But anyway, the chaplain came to me and he said, "I'm the chaplain to the base commander, General So-and-So, and I'm coming up for promotion to Captain." And he said, "I've been passed over once already. If I'm passed over this time, I'm not going to make it." And I said, "Okay, well, what can I do?" And he said, "Well, would you sit down and review my fitness reports with me?" And I said, "Absolutely." So we sat down and I looked at it and it was hospital duty here and hospital duty here, hospital duty here and hospital duty. I said, "Did you ask for all these hospital assignments?" He said, "No, sir." I said, "Well, did you ever question, you know, the Chief of Chaplains, 'Look I've had one hospital tour. Why am I getting a second and a third and a fourth?'" I said, "You haven't been to sea at all on a ship?" He said, "No." "You've never had duty with the Marines, except right here, now, as a base chaplain?" He said, "No, that's right." "You've never had overseas at all?" And he said, "No." I said, "How can you expect to be promoted, when the only thing you've had is hospital duty, right?" He said, "Well, I just carried out my orders." "Well, yes, I understand that, and that's very noteworthy, you carried out your orders. That's what the orders said, but didn't anybody talk with you about-- you know, you don't want to get stereotyped. You know, you only do one thing, that's hospital chaplain, because there are a lot of other things out there that you need to be doing." Well, so I went to the general, I said, "Sir, with all due respect, you realize that your chaplain's coming up to Selection Board for the last time." "Yes, sir, I know that chaplain. Yes, sir." "Well, sir, if he doesn't make it this time, then he's going out." "Chaplain, I know that." And I said, "Well, I simply would like for you to, you know, be aware of this and realize." And he said, "Yes, Chaplain. I understand that, and I am fully aware of that, and I will be as fair as I can, and thank you very much for your interest."

So I went back to the chaplain and I said, "I don't think you're going to make it, because the General is just-- he doesn't see you as a Marine-- I mean, a chaplain assigned to Marines. He sees you as a hospital chaplain, among his Marines. You've got to change that image." And he failed selection. So, and he was a good chaplain, very compassionate. I mean, there was nothing wrong with him, he was morally straight as could be. Who could ask for a finer gentleman, and so forth. Well, the fitness reports didn't indicate that.

Zarbock:Chaplain, for the purpose of this interview, which I hope has a shelf life of 1,000 years, if you weren't promoted, does that mean you were discharged?

Haney: It means what you have to do is leave active service. Now, if you are non-promotable, then you're going to go back either to a reserve unit if you came out of the reserve unit, or you're going to resign. You can't stay on active duty if you've been passed over twice. That's it, that's the end of the road. You have to go home.

Zarbock: Now, that's passed over without any retirement benefits?

Haney: Now, that I'm not sure of. I don't think they would do that. In other words, if you served 14 years, I don't think they're going to deny you 14 years' of compensation when you retire at age 65 or whatever. But obviously, you're not going to have as significant a package as you were if you had 20 or 30 years in.

Zarbock: And you may be leaving a professional situation that you really enjoyed.

Haney: Yes, but--

Zarbock: Forced to leave. I'm sorry. The word is forced to leave.

Haney: But see, the tragedy of it is, too often nobody would sit down with these gentlemen. That's what we try to teach at chaplain school. If we are fortunate enough to be promoted, we have an obligation to our junior chaplains to say, "Look, this is how the game is played." They say, "Well, you know, Jesus was humble, and I don't want to toot my own horn." "Who's going to toot your horn if you don't? So you need to get close to your Captain and tell him, 'I want you to be honest with me, tell me where my weaknesses are, so that I can correct those.'" And those are the guys that you-- well, that's another story. But anyway, I had the privilege of seeing how this thing worked from both sides. First, that Naval officer way back when I was just starting outn said, "This is what you need to look for. Look for your weaknesses, never mind the flattery; if it's there, that's fine. If it's not there, why isn't it there? Let's look at what the weaknesses are and change those weaknesses to the best of your ability. And that's how you get promoted." And so I would tell our chaplains that; I would say, "Okay, I'm going to write your fitness report and this is your weakness, it's right here. Now, what you do about it, that's up to you. You want to get promoted the next time around; this will be different, it will show improvement." And that's how it goes.

Zarbock: When on ship, you have cognitively led me into another, here. When you're on ship, as I understand in the Navy, my military arm is the Army.

Haney: Well, they do good work, too. Don't get the wrong idea.

Zarbock: As I understand in the Navy, the captain of the ship is responsible for everything, irrespective of what happens. If you run up on a sandbar, it's his fault. Well, of the Navy ships captains under who you served, characteristically, what was their attitude towards the chaplains? Did it vary?

Haney: They couldn't be happier. Because anytime they would say, you know, "We want you to keep your ear to the ground. We don't want a tattletale, but tell me what is happening among our people. I need to know, and if I get these gloomy reports from division officers, I want to know the truth and I expect you, as my chaplain-- not to be a spy, not to be a tattletale, but for heaven sakes, for the sake of our people, tell me what is going on."

Zarbock: Can you remember an incident that you experienced, personally, along this line, of reporting to the ship's captain?

Haney: All the time, this is what's happening. If good morale, or well, "Captain, we have a problem, here." "What's the problem?" "Well, this is the situation, this is the reason for the discontent out there." When I first went on Roosevelt, two weeks into our three-week cruise, we had a bow incident. The famous bow incident. I'd only been on, two weeks, so I didn't even know what we were on. But on this carrier deck, at 12 o'clock noon, these people locked arms, a minority group, and they walked right down to the end of the launch and they sat down. And they said, "We need to talk to Captain. We have some grievances; we need to talk to Captain. And we're not going to move. You're not going to conduct this launch at 12 o'clock, because we're not moving." And so the Captain said, "Well, we have an incident here." And so he radioed for guidance, main side, and some of them said, "Take them and throw them in the brig, every one of them. Disobedience, throw them in the brig." "I'm not going to do that." Some of them said, "Well, why don't you go down and meet them?" Others said, "No, you don't want to go down there, you don't want to show your face down there, that's capitulating. Don't do that." So he went down. The Captain walked down and I was with him. He didn't ask me for any help or anything, but I was with him. And they said, "Captain, we've got grievances and we want to talk to you about them." And he said, "All right." He said, "I tell you what, let's launch the aircraft on time and I'll be more than happy to talk with you and we can resolve this thing." And they said, "Okay." And we found out later that some of the people who were leading, that had been transferred from the West Coast for the very same reason. They had created hate and discontent among the crew, to protest and cause all kinds of problems. So he became Admiral, Admiral Moore at MRI, and he was my Captain at the time. So we got back in port and the chaplain I had relieved, calls me on the phone and says, "Hey. Haney." He said, "What's the matter with you?" I said, "What?" He says, "I was on that ship two years, I never had any bow incident like that. You've been there two weeks and look at what you've done. What've you done to my ship?" "Well, give me some time." He said, "I don't understand you. I've been on there two years and I've never had a problem and you been there two weeks and you got a problem." So anyway, the Captain, the commanding officer, realizes that anything that goes amiss on that ship could end his career. And this is what Captain Moore had to decide, "Okay, do I overreact? Do I ignore them, what do I do?" And he met them, which is what they said, "We want to talk to Captain." And he said, "Look."

Zarbock: Do you remember what were some of the complaints?

Haney: No, something about, I want to say food or--

Zarbock: That's usually it.

Haney: They're just kind of picky things. That's why they got a little suspicious. Well, who were the leaders of this thing? And then they started to track back and they discovered that they had done the same thing on other ships to create hate and discontent, which kind of exonerated Captain Moore. But the point is, he said he would do what he said he would do, and he did what he did. And that took the sting out of it, because they said, "Well, okay, we told the Captain and he corrected it." So, "Well, he shouldn't have done it this way, he should have done it that way." And some of the crewmembers said, "Nah, the Captain's a no good blah, blah, blah, blah." But out of that, there did come a lot of good, and Captain Moore was a very compassionate individual. And he said, "Okay, if we have genuine concerns, I'm going to appoint an investigating committee, you know, we-- and handle it this way. We don't have to disrupt like this and bring them around."

Zarbock: And of course the beauty of it is, you don't know if those are legitimate complaints until you hear what the complaints are, and then measure it against some imaginary yardstick that says the difference between horse manure and reality.

Haney: Now, the beauty of this, at 12 o'clock sharp, the aircraft were launched. So the Captain, now Admiral Retired, but he said-- so when they complained and he said, "Well, sir, maybe I didn't handle it correctly, but the aircraft were launched on time, on time."

Zarbock: And that was the mission.

Haney: That was the mission. That's correct. Now, going back to Okinawa, here's another little sea story, the same chaplain that had hospital duty. There was some of the Muslim faith. And the Muslims made an appointment with the commanding general. And this chaplain friend of mine sat in on that, and they said, "Well, General, sir, we have some complaints." The general says, "All right. What's your complaint?" "Well, first of all, when we go in for chow, the chow line has things that we can't eat as Muslims; bacon, ham, you boil in pig's fat and so forth and so on. Well, there's not much that we can really eat and be faithful to our faith." "Okay," he said, "I'll get a hold of my food services officer and I'll have him bring out an alternate menu for the whole crew, because, you know, you're eating healthy things, so we can follow that. That's no problem." And that was done. "The second thing," they said, "is a little more complex." They said, "We want a specific place where we can worship." "That's no problem, my chaplain's here, he can arrange a chapel hour for you to go in there, and the schedule, it's..." "No, no, no, no," they said, "you don't understand. See, we have to have a space reserved for our use alone. And we have to have separate shower facilities, men and women, in order to pure ourselves before we go in for prayer, five times a day. And we can't find any building like that." He said, "Well, we'll have to check on that." So he turned to his chaplain and said, "Chaplain, check on that." So, he came to me as a chaplain, said, "What do we do?" And I said, "You don't make policy, this is a policy matter. They're asking for something that is not in the ordinary run of things. Because most people have one chapel on the base, or on the ship, we have different places that we go to. But we don't have that kind of facility. At least we don't have it yet. It's not budgeted, we don't have it." So he said, "Well, what do we do?" I said, "Well, we'll send a message to the Navy Chief of Chaplains, say, "This is the situation. We need your guidance. Please expedite, tell us what we should do." No answer. Sent the second message, no answer. Third message, no answer. Finally, the general said, "Chaplain, how many messages have you sent?" He said, "Well, sir, we've sent three to the Chief of Chaplains asking for guidance." And he said, "Okay, I'll handle it, never mind." So, a divine providence, just about the time he was going to do that, I said, "Oh, boy." But they came and met with the General. And they said, "General, we appreciate you solving the first problem about the dietary requirements, that's fine. Now, we want to tell you, don't worry about the second, because our Imam, our spiritual leader, has made arrangements off the base where we can do this as often as we need to. So that's no longer a problem."

So when I got back to Washington, I banged on the door [knocking], not the chief, but one of the lesser officers. I said, "Didn't you get our message?" "Yes, sir." "First message?" "Yes, sir." "You got the second one?" "Yes, sir." "You got the third?" "Yes, sir." "Why didn't you answer any of them?" "Well, the chief, at that time, said 'No, I think they're capable, they can work it out.'" I said, "But you didn't even tell us that; I mean, I would expect courtesy would say, 'Hey, this is the message, you got the ball.' Because," I said, "we were out there on Okinawa with the commanding general of a base asking us for guidance, and we turned to higher authority, and we don't get it." End of story. You want another story?

Zarbock: Yeah.

Haney: I could go on and on, but anyway. If I were on active duty, I probably [gasp]. But anyway. The beauty that I want to share with you, we are in a NROTC modern facility, taxpayers' money. And it's dedicated to the memory of Tillie Fowler, who was very, very pro-Navy. This is a Navy town in Jacksonville, Florida. We have an air station, a Naval Air Station. We have Naval hospital. We have Mayport. We have ships. We have air. We have patrol. We have helicopters and everything. So she went to bat and got the funding for the building that we now are sitting in. Well, the point of this is, when I retired, I came-- and I'd been in touch with Jacksonville University because I wanted to teach. They said, "Well, we don't have any openings for full-time teachers." I said, "That's okay; let me be an adjunct." "Well, okay, there's one course nobody wants to teach and that's on Eastern Religions." "Okay, I'll teach that." So they said, "Okay, you teach." Well, at the same time, I went to the commanding officer of the unit here, NROTC. And I said, "Sir, I'd like to be your chaplain." And he said, "We don't have chaplains in Naval Officer Reserve Training Command." I said, "Well, that's okay." He said, "There's no billet, there's no organizational structure, there's no amount for you. And there's no money." I said, "Money, I don't care about, I'd still like to be your volunteer chaplain." "Well," he said, "actually, Chaplain," he said, "we have a minority who's our campus minister, and we use her for all of our prayers and counsel, so."

Okay. So that was in September. December, this lady resigns as campus minister because she received a call from the church in New York State. She hadn't candidated for that. As a matter of fact, the Presbytery said, "You have to include, in the packet that's going out to this local church, a female dossier, dossiana, female." And they said, "Well, it won't do you any good because we're not interested in female."

Well, if you can guess what happened, they were much impressed with this young lady and they hired her. The campus administrator came to me and said, "Look, we don't have anybody to do campus ministry until we find a permanent campus minister. Would you be our interim campus minister? It's only going to be about three weeks until we get a search committee, and so maybe a month or so." "Okay." So I'm campus minster, now. So I come back to my commanding officer here, not the present commanding officer, this was 20 years ago. I said, "Okay, I'm your campus minister, and I would like now to be your Navy chaplain. No pay, no orders." "Okay."

So I got the job, and each time a commanding officer has been relieved, they said, "Oh, by the way, this is Chaplain Haney; he's our volunteer chaplain. We don't have any military, but he's here." And so, the day came when I was in my 19th year serving here, and I was on the platform with an admiral and the admiral says, "I didn't know that we had chaplains assigned in NROTC units." I said, "You don't." "But you're-- Oh I get it, you're a volunteer. Nobody knows you don't have any orders." [laughs] "That's right, Admiral; this is my 19th year of doing this." "Oh." That ended the conversation. Now, wait a minute, I'm not saying that to log myself, I'm saying look at how God works; God has a sense of humor. [laughs] I think so. And we're now finishing our 20th year. I've had wonderful commanding officers here, as I did in active duty. I've had wonderful young people to work with, which we had there. I love this job. I wish I could keep it forever, but don't think God's going to see that humor in it. But, in any case, I've done funerals here, as Navy Chaplain. I've done prayers for public occasions, graduations, commissioning services, suicides, you name it. But, why do people need chaplains?

Zarbock: And that segues me into my last question. Chaplain, with all of your education experience, family experience, life experiences, what have you learned? What's your credo?

Haney: I'm not sure, as they say, that you could understand. When George Washington-Carver convinced the southern farmers down here to plant peanuts, because they were planting cotton all the time and soil was being depleted of the valuable nutrients that it needed, and they were just stealing it, so he said, "Plant peanuts." So then they come back to George Washington-Carver, and they say, "We've got more peanuts than Barnum and Bailey can use for generations. What're we going to do with all of these peanuts?" So he said, "I walked into my--" and this is in his own locker, "walked into my laboratory and I shut the door and I put my head down and I said, 'Lord, what is the meaning of the universe?'" And the Lord says, "You couldn't understand the meaning of that; give me a simpler question." "Well, what can I do with the peanut?" And the Lord said to him, "Well, what do you want to do with the peanut?" "Well," he says, "can I make milk from peanut?" "Well, what kind of milk do you want? Do you want Grade-A or do you want boarding house milk?" "Well, no, it make it-- well, could I use it to make something useable?" "Yeah." So he said, "I went to work and I made plastics." And somehow, that began and now everything in the United States, well, sooner or later, is made out of plastic. So, I think God has a sense of humor, you know. You're asking me what the purpose of the universe is, what have I learned? Well, God is good. God is great. We have a Savior and I think both of them have a sense of humor [laughs], because it's been fantastic. Fifty-eight years married to my same wife. I was teaching one of our Bible classes and the students-- we were talking about Old Testament families and marriage and divorce and so on, and they said, "Chaplain, you married?" I said, "Yes, I am." "Hmmm, how long have you been married?" At that time, it was 50 years. I said, "I've been married 50 years." "To the same woman?" I said, "Yeah, of course, to the same woman." "Oh. Well, my uncle been married four times, my aunts twice; my grandparents were divorced three or four times. And you're married to the same woman for all this time." "Yes." And I think-- here it is, always faithful. I'm not taking credit for this, yeah, I can't lift it up. Here it goes. I think that says it, that's what marriage is all about. You're wedded to your wife, or to the service, to your God, however He reveals himself to you. I know we have different beliefs about this. But, that kind of dedication, I think, is what I've learned. And I admire these people. And I'm privileged to have served with them. I don't know whether I'm going to make it to my 21st year or not, but I want to try. [laughs] More questions.

Zarbock: Chaplain, it's been a treat to know you.

Haney: It's a pleasure to know you, Paul.

Zarbock: May the Lord be with you.

Haney: Thank you. I'm sure He is, every day.

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