Archive for August 12, 2018

Smooth sailing: Rear Admiral McAneny’s amazing Navy journey

August 12, 2018 Leave a comment

UPDATE: In 2013 HDR named the subject of this story, then-Rear Admiral Douglas J. McAneny, the company’s Federal Business Group Director based in Washington D.C.

Smooth sailing: Rear Admiral McAneny’s amazing Navy journey

©by Leo Adam Biga

Originally appeared in 2011 issue of Omaha Magazine


The military brought Rear Admiral Douglas McAneny here in 1967 at age 12 when his Air Force father was stationed at Offutt Air Force Base. As a University of Nebraska-Lincoln engineering student, McAneny attracted the Navy’s attention. After joining the nuclear propulsion program in 1978, the service swept him away.

A steady rise through the ranks brought McAneny back in 1998 when assigned to U.S. Strategic Command at Offutt. He left again in 2000 for new posts, including executive assistant and senior Naval aide to the commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

Now, the service is returning him again, as special guest for the September 6-11 Omaha Navy Week celebration. This marks his third time home for the event, which features demonstrations, concerts and community service projects. 

“It’s something we’re asked to do — to go back to the state where we’re from, and it’s something I very much enjoy doing,” he said by phone from his Commandant office at the National War College in Washington, D.C.

“It’s all about putting a face on the contribution our Navy is making in support of the nation’s defense, but it’s also about thanking the great state of Nebraska for its young men and women serving today in our Navy and military.” 

Much of McAneny’s 33 year career has been in submarines.

“I was trained as a submarine force officer. I’ve been afforded the opportunity to command at many different levels in the Navy in support of submarines and the contribution they make to our maritime strategy. I’ve worked alongside the submarine force as well.”


File:US Navy 100625-N-3090M-130 Rear Adm. Douglas McAneny, commander of Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, salutes for the Admiral's March and 13-gun salute.jpg


He’s done it all in a much-decorated career, even working on the Joint Chiefs staff. But nothing quite matches commanding a vessel at sea.

“One of the great highlights of my career was commanding a ship at sea,” says McAneny, who helmed the attack submarine USS Philadelphia after years honing his craft.

“I enjoyed my time at sea, but it’s a young man’s game. I had my opportunity. It was very fruitful and rewarding, but I don’t begrudge the fact we all have to move on and do other things.” 

He assumed his current post at the National War College, a part of the National Defense University, in January.

“Timing being everything, it was my time to rotate back to Washington, D.C., and this billet was available. It suits my background and experience as both a Naval officer and a member of the Joint world, and so when offered the position as commandant, I was excited and happy to take it.

“We not only educate uniformed military members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard, but also our interagency partners — the Departments of State, Treasury, Homeland Security. I have a great opportunity to shape the curriculum we offer. I also take an active role in teaching. I’m working with the best and brightest students our military and government have to offer. They really are tomorrow’s leaders.”

A life in the service has brought immense satisfaction.

“I’ve enjoyed every minute of my time in the Navy,” he says. “It’s been much more than I ever could have imagined. I’m so gung-ho I even got my son to join. As a Navy family, my wife and three children have had the challenge of moving over 20 times, but they all took to that like ducks to water.” 

There’s no telling when his ship may sail again, but he’ll go wherever duty calls.

For Navy Week details visit

%d bloggers like this: