It’s a special thing when someone like Vice Admiral Mike Haskins, who has already given so much to the military and to this country, gives even more with a gift for the Society.
That’s why we sat down with him and his wife, Joanne, to talk about the Navy, the Society, service, and sacrifice.
NMCRS: Admiral, tell us why you support the Society.
VADM Haskins: My wife and I have always supported the Navy- Marine Corps Relief Society. I was in the Navy for 37 years, and I saw the Society in action many, many times helping my Sailors and Marines.
I’ve been associated with the Society for many years and so has my wife, Joanne. We’ve seen firsthand what the Society does. When we say “we take care of our own,” the Society means it.
NMCRS: Joanne, what’s your connection with the Society?
Joanne: I was honored to serve with the Society as a member of the Relief Committee. We were specifically focused on helping Sea Service widows who weren’t able to make ends meet. It gave me some insight into the good work of the Society, and I became aware of what a good organization it is to support.
Military people are the finest people in the world, and whenever we can help them, we should.
NMCRS: It’s clear that you both care deeply about Sea Service members. Admiral, you chose a special way to continue your support for the Society. Could you tell us a bit about your charitable IRA gift?
VADM Haskins: We used the Required Minimum Distribution from a retirement account to make a gift directly to the Society, rather than taking it as income. So, there was a tax benefit for us as well. It was really a very simple gift to give. I admire the Society so much because I know that the money goes to the Sailors and Marines who need it. I want to support the Society for the long term, and with this gift, the distributions from my IRA will continue to go the Society to help Sea Service members and their families year after year. I feel very good about that.
NMCRS: Did you have intentions for your gift to go to a specific purpose?
VADM Haskins: No, it’s to be used wherever needed. I trust the Society completely. I know the money will be used effectively. Sailors and Marines work so hard and get paid relatively little. When I was commanding aviation squadrons, I saw so many Sailors living paycheck to paycheck, and an unexpected expense was devastating.
NMCRS: Can you tell us about a time when one of your Sailors needed help?
VADM Haskins: One incident I recall was while I was serving in Hawaii, and a hurricane hit. One of my Sailor’s home was damaged. In fact, the roof was completely torn off. He came to me, saying, “Skipper, here’s what happened, and I can’t afford repairs.” I called the Society office while this Sailor was there with me. I asked: “Can you help?” And the answer came back immediately: “Yes, we can.” The Society representative gave the Sailor her office number and home number. She said, “We’ll take care of this.”
NMCRS: With the distinguished career you’ve had, can you tell us a little about your service.
VADM Haskins: After graduating from the Academy, I went to Argentina on a Fulbright scholarship, then aviation training, and squadrons. I was commandant of midshipmen at the Naval Academy. I was a wing commander in Japan. I commanded U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force, and Allied Forces in Iceland, along with the Patrol Wings in the Atlantic and Naval Forces Japan. I was Deputy Commander in Chief U.S. Naval Forces Europe, and later Naval Inspector General. I always felt very fortunate in the assignments I received. People ask me if I miss flying. I do a little, but what I miss most are the people. I worked with the best young men and women I could ever hope for. And we always realized that their families serve, too.
Joanne: We’ve been married 52 years. We’ve lived everywhere around the world, and I loved every minute of it as a Navy spouse. Of course, there are challenges and sacrifices, but Navy life is incredible.
NMCRS: Obviously, the Navy and the Society are a tradition in your family.
VADM Haskins: Yes, our daughter graduated from the Academy. She served on active duty for seven years, then transferred to the reserves. Later, she returned to active duty. And just recently, she’s been selected for promotion to rear admiral.
NMCRS: Thank you, Admiral, and thank you, Joanne, for your service and your support for the Society. We’re inspired by your example, your generosity, and your commitment to Sea Service members serving around the globe.