More detail on this person: LTJG Kevin F.Delaney served in HA(L)-3 with Detachment 8, Callsign
"Seawolf 82" from 12/12/1969 to 12/7/1970 flying 686 UH-1B combat missions. At the time of his
retirement, Admiral Delaney was the most highly decorated officer in the U.S. Navy receiving the
Navy Distinguished Service Medal, Silver Star, 4 Legion of Merit Medals, Distinguished Flying Cross,
11 Single Action Air Medals, 26 Strike/Flight Air Medals with Combat V, 6 Navy Commendation Medals
(4 with Combat V), Navy Achievement Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, Presidential Unit Citation, 6
Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Crosses, Meritorious Service Medal and many others.
Obituary: Florida Times-Union On-Line April 8, 2015
Jacksonville civic leader, warrior and family man: Rear Adm. Kevin Delaney, Sept. 23, 1946 to April 7, 2015
By Clifford Davis
Rear Adm. Kevin Delaney who flew 686 combat missions in Vietnam and went on to serve as commanding officer of Navy Region Southeast, passed away Tuesday from lung cancer caused by toxic herbicide Agent Orange, according to his family. He was 68.
Though Delaney retired as the most decorated officer in the U.S. Navy and went on to an astounding career after the service, people who knew him remember him for his seemingly endless heart for others.
His daughter Kelly Delaney remembers him as Daddy. He was the kind of dad who, on Christmas Eve, would stay up until 3 a.m. to put together the Barbie Dreamhouse, Kelly Delaney said. He'd get all the bicycles together and then we'd all wake up at 5 a.m. He was just that kind of a dad.
Delaney was born Sept. 23, 1946, in Torrington, Conn., to Mildred Keyo and John V. Delaney. His Navy career began at the U.S. Naval Academy where he graduated in 1968 _ leaving quickly for Vietnam. He'd never even been on an airplane before leaving for the academy.
As about the only two officers who raised their hand when asked, Who wants to go Helos? Kevin and I met on the first day of Flight School, Capt. J.A. Curtis posted on their unit's website. We both wanted Helos [helicopters] and we both wanted to go to HA(L)-3.¥ It didn't take long for Delaney to get his wish to join the vaunted Seawolves.
While most of our pilots were being sent through Huey training at Fort Benning and Fort Rucker, there were a few of us lucky ones, who, for fiscal reasons, were sent directly to Vietnam where our first rockets and bullets were fired as on the job training, Delaney said at the unit's 1994 reunion. Soon many of us learned that chewing gum or grease pencil marks, placed on the cockpit windshield, made far less cumbersome and far more accurate gun and rocket sights than those provided by the rocket scientists and bureaucrats in Washington.
Helicopter Attack Squadron 3 _ better known as the Seawolves _ was a la land-based, Navy helicopter unit charged with helping naval riverine forces to block North Vietnamese Army and Viet Cong infiltration and use of the rivers, canals and jungle that made up the Mekong Delta. But over time, that mission expanded to include many other tasks.
Rarely did a cry for help come from a voice which we didn't recognize,¥ Delaney said. And it soon became a rather personal war for each of us the first time we medevaced a seriously wounded friend, or carried a body bag containing the remains of a classmate, friend, or comrade. After Vietnam, Delaney stayed in the Navy moving on to command assignments including Jacksonville Naval Air Station.
As commanding officer of Jacksonville Naval Air Station for less than two years, he already has drawn more acclaim to the base than it has ever received, and put Jacksonville firmly on the Navy's map this month when the base was named the Navy's best in the world,¥ the Times-Union wrote in 1991. Fellow sailors, base employees and community leaders describe him as a dynamo, a miracle worker, who's in his office at 5 a.m. and one of the last ones to go home.
He also instituted a recycling and cleanliness program that lives on today with new base initiatives that carry on that legacy. Reaching the rank of rear admiral, Delaney was again stationed at the air base as the commander of Navy Region Southeast, where he retired in 1998. It wasn't so much a retirement for Delaney as a re-arming.
He went on to serve on the boards of 19 local nonprofits including Wounded Warrior Project, Jacksonville University and Ronald McDonald House. Delaney also made regular visits to Mayport to speak with officers and enlisted sailors transitioning out of the military, according to retired Capt. Aaron Bowman who was the base's commanding officer at the time.
Here's a guy who was a Naval Academy graduate and had almost 700 combat missions in Vietnam, Bowman said. He was one of the most gregarious and friendly guys youd ever meet. We all have role models and we ask ourselves who we would really want to be like _ that's the guy for me.
Even on non-profits where he didn't serve officially, Delaney served as an adviser and mentor. Jacksonville lost a very special man,¥ said Shari Duval, president of K9s for Warriors, which provides service dogs for veterans. He was my hero and I don't know how to describe him other than amazing. He's an amazing man. He did so much for so many people, and humble.
Right up until the end of his life, Delaney remained concerned about others. While in the final months of his life, Delaney wrote recommendations to colleges for one staff member at Naval Hospital Jacksonville and another at Mayo Clinic.
That's just who my dad was,âÇ¥ Kelly Delaney said. For Kelly, this is one more temporary separation from her father. When I was 6, my sisters were five years younger and in a double stroller as we stood on the docks at Norfolk in 1976, she said. Dad's ship, the USS Pharris, was pulling out on deployment and I broke loose from my mother running in my dress screaming, Daddy, don't leave me at the top of my lungs. Dad said everyone was standing at attention wiping their eyes and asking Who's kid is that?
He said, I could hear you clear as day.¥
Delaney is survived by his wife of 47 years, Pat, and three daughters, Kelly, Diana and Seana, as well as five grandsons. Services are tentatively scheduled for April 20 at Jacksonville Naval Air Station. When plans are finalized the Times-Union will publish the information.
Times-Union reporter Andrew Pantazi contributed to this story
This information was last updated 05/18/2016
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