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Mr. Haney: The Man With the Nuclear Launch Codes

Math Teacher Discusses His 20 Year Career In the US Military

Haney in his naval uniform

Haney in his naval uniform

Photo by Adella Smolsky

Photo by Adella Smolsky

Haney in his naval uniform

Adella Smolsky, Social Media Editor

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Although his Skutt Catholic career has only recently begun, Mr. Pat Haney has become a beloved member of the teacher community. Students love hearing about his stories from when he was in the Navy. Haney attended the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland; he then spent 20 years in the Navy and retired in 2014.

In the Navy, most of his career was spent in aircraft carriers running reactors. In his last four years in the Navy, he was at Offutt Air Force base working on the United States strategic command staff. After finishing his Naval career, Haney took a teaching position at Millard South High School until 2016, when he was hired at Skutt Catholic High School as a Geometry and College Algebra teacher.

What was your job in the navy?

Photo by Adella Smolsky
Mr. Haney showing off his traditional naval sword.

“You start out as a division officer, so my first job I was called a First Lieutenant. I had all the papers and the deck operations. Then I went to nuke school, then I went to my first aircraft carrier where I ran one plant, then I was an operations officer on another destroyer in Japan, third in command. Then I went to enterprise and I owned all the main engines and all the generators of the main proportional system. I had 263 people that worked for me. After that, I was a nuke certifier. So I went out to aircraft carriers and I certified how they operated their reactors and wrote the reports. You either shut them down or they kept critically. Then I went to US strategic command where I planned nukes, where we would figure out what to destroy. Then I was in command in Diego Garcia basically over nine merchant marine vessels. When I came back I was the strike advisor to the president, so when he wants to nuke the world, he calls Omaha, and we have the code, and we send off the message.”

When did you realize you wanted to become a teacher?
“I have wanted to be a teacher my whole life. My parents were both educators, my brother’s an educator, uncle, sister-in-law, so I’ve known the life. I’ve always wanted to be a football coach, so I’m living the dream.”

Which schools did you work at before coming to Skutt Catholic? How do they differ from Skutt Catholic?
“Before working at Skutt I taught at Millard South. The real difference between Skutt and Millard South is attendance. You kids come to school. It was very rare at Millard South where I had a full classroom. The other difference is parent involvement is much more positive than it was at Millard South. It was almost a, ‘You’re a bad teacher because my student failed.’ Here it’s, ‘What can I do to help my student do better?’ Not every parent was like that at Millard South, but the majority.”

What is your favorite class to teach?
“What I really enjoy [teaching] is higher level math, but I don’t teach that. I like classes where students are engaged and want to learn.”

What is your favorite part of teaching?
“Students are my favorite part of teaching. I truly believe teenagers tell teachers things that they will never tell their parents, and there’s that true mentorship. Because in my opinion, teachers, we don’t judge you. So when a student comes and says, ‘Hey I made a mistake,’ you’re allowed to not judge them and give them advice. They usually walk away happy.

Do you have children or pets?
“I have two boys, a seventh grader, and a fifth grader. I’ve got a bulldog named Spartacus, a black lab named Loma, and a Himalayan cat named Chewbacca.”

Mr. Haney continues to make his classroom a safe and fun place for students to learn. Haney uses unique teaching methods and tries to relate things back to the students’ lives. His dedication to his students’ continued growth in the learning process sets him apart from the rest and is one of the many reasons his students love having him as their teacher.

Adella Smolsky

Adella joined the Flightline in January of 2018. She is a senior this year, involved in show choir, theatre and student council. Outside of school she is involved in Omaha Fashion Week. You can contact her at [email protected]


3 Responses to “Mr. Haney: The Man With the Nuclear Launch Codes”

  1. Landon Healy on January 31st, 2018 10:24 pm

    I never knew he used to be in charge of nuclear bombs! Fascinating

  2. Drake Hobson on February 1st, 2018 11:46 am


  3. Chey Miller on February 5th, 2018 11:08 pm

    Great article about another great teacher at Skutt Catholic

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.

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Mr. Haney: The Man With the Nuclear Launch Codes