COLUMBUS, Ohio, Sept. 10, 2019 —
Navy Rear Adm. Deborah Haven celebrated 32 years of military service during a retirement ceremony in the Operations Center Auditorium September 6 at the Defense Supply Center Columbus, where she previously completed 29 years of Federal Service as a civilian logistician. In her final assignment, Haven served as the DLA Joint Reserve Force’s Audit Task Force commander.
Haven, a native of Philadelphia, is an alumnus of The University of Maryland and holds a Master of Business Administration from LaSalle University in Philadelphia. Haven stated she joined the Navy after falling in love with logistics in college and wanted to be part of the military’s vast, global mission.
Haven comes from a patriotic family. Her father flew a C-47 during World War II with missions that included dropping paratroopers at the beaches of Normandy on D-Day. Additionally, Haven’s husband of 37 years, Don, retired from the U.S. Navy in 1998 having achieved the rank ofCaptain after 29 years of service, where he too served in the Naval Supply Corps.
DLA Director Army Lt. Gen. Darrell K. Williams presided over the retirement ceremony at the conclusion of a two-day visit to DLA Land and Maritime. Prior to the ceremony, Williams met with various Land and Maritime associates as part of his workforce engagement plan and received directorate specific briefings on their business operations.
Williams began the ceremony by welcoming special guests, including: Land and Maritime Commander Navy Rear Adm. John Palmer, Navy Master Chief Petty Officer Shaun Brahmsteadt, Defense Logistics Agency’s command senior enlisted leader, active and retired flag officers in attendance, and Haven’s family and friends, some of which traveled great lengths to attend the ceremony.
Haven’s daughter Jane, son-in-law Ralph and grandchildren Caroline and Laura, along with Ralph’s parents Malcolm and Jennifer Coffey made the journey from the United Kingdom, where Ralph proudly serves in the British Royal Navy. Additionally, Haven’s youngest daughter Nadia, traveled from San Francisco to be at the ceremony where she had the opportunity to share some remarks with the audience regarding her mother’s career.
“In this transition from the Navy to a new chapter, there’s going to be a fair amount of uncertainty, but those closest to you, know you will be up with the sun, reping out pushups before you apply your war paint and grabbing your coffee charging towards the front lines; you can be assured that as always, we’ll be here cheering for you, praying for you and laughing with you,” Nadia Haven said.
Williams said he’s known Haven for nearly 10 years and referred to her as being a great officer who’s a highly respected leader and colleague amongst her peers. He spoke of her integrity, professionalism and phenomenal achievements throughout her career path from a GS-3 inventory manager to a two-star admiral.
“Thank you for more than 32 years of military service and 29 years of federal service,” Williams said. “I personally would like to congratulate you on the excellence and longevity of your career. Your integrity, dedication and professionalism are the hallmarks of your military and civilian career.”
Williams continued to praise Haven’s various achievements throughout her career, from serving six tours of duty as a commanding officer or director, being mobilized on four occasions and spending more than two years away from home while deployed in combat zones; all while raising a family.
Before presenting Haven with her retirement certificate, Williams concluded his remarks by stating it was an honor to have had the opportunity to serve with her and wished Haven fair winds and following seas as she pursues more time with her family.
During her Naval career, Haven made stops in 28 nations – including Kuwait, Japan, Italy, Iraq, Afghanistan, Jordan and Cuba – described her jobs as impactful. Of all her contributions to DLA, she’s most proud of increasing reservists’ participation in military training exercises that help troops maintain readiness for contingencies and humanitarian relief efforts. Before she arrived in 2016, only a handful of reservists assisted in exercises. In 2018, more than 150 reservists took part in 19 exercises, including Rim of the Pacific and Pacer Goose. Haven also tested the JRF’s expeditionary capability by sending an 11-member support team to Poland in support of Saber Strike in June 2018.
“I was asked to go to Jordan to help with humanitarian efforts there for Syrian refugees,” Haven said. “These assignments went well beyond what I expected as a Navy Supply Corps Officer and they increased my skillset while challenging my capabilities. That’s the experience I wanted for the service members I’ve had the honor to lead.”
Haven’s military decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (two awards), Joint Service Commendation Medal, Navy Commendation Medal (two awards), Joint Service Achievement Medal (two awards), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (three awards), and various campaign, unit and service awards decorations.
The ceremony concluded with one of the oldest traditions of the United States Navy, when Haven was honored with a final salute as she was piped ashore. The piping over the side ceremony is rooted deeply in Naval tradition. Upon completing a career in the sea service, retiring mariners step ashore through the ranks of honorary Side Boys to the sounds of the Boatswains pipe. The service members serving as Side Boys did so voluntarily to show their respect and admiration for Haven.