Ronald Jackson Hays (born August 19, 1928) is a retired United States Navy four star admiral who served as Vice Chief of Naval Operations (VCNO) from 1983 to 1985; and as Commander in Chief, United States Pacific Command (USCINCPAC) from 1985 to 1988.
Admiral Hays grew up in Urania, Louisiana, a sawmill town which was owned "lock, stock, and barrel" by the Q.T. Hardtner family. In high school, "Happy" Hays worked as the butcher's assistant in the company store. There, Mr. Hardtner took notice and succeeded in gaining a U.S Naval Academy congressional appointment for "Happy."
Hays graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1950 and served on a destroyer for one year prior to commencing flight training. After a series of operational aviation assignments, including a tour as an experimental test pilot and two combat tours in Vietnam flying the all-weather attack A-6A Intruder, he was ordered in 1969 to the Pentagon, Washington, D.C., for duty on the staff of the Chief of Naval Operations.
Between 1969 and 1988 his career path was divided between fleet aviation assignments and resource management positions in the Pentagon. During this period significant assignments included:Commanding Officer, Roosevelt Roads Naval Station, Puerto Rico
Director, Navy Program Planning
Commander, Carrier Group Four
Director, Office of Program Appraisal
Deputy Commander in Chief, Atlantic Forces
Commander in Chief, U.S. Naval Forces Europe
Vice Chief of Naval Operations
Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Forces
As Commander in Chief Pacific Forces, Admiral Hays commanded all U.S. military forces in the Pacific Theater. He retired from military service in October 1988 and entered the commercial world as a director on several boards, including civic and non-profit organizations. He also served as a consultant for the Parsons Corporation, a global engineering firm.
Admiral Hays is a graduate of the Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island; Test Pilot School, Patuxent River, Maryland; Federal Executive Institute, University of Virginia; and Flight Safety School, University of California.
A Doctorate of Humanities title was awarded him by Northwestern State University, Natchitoches, Louisiana. In 2005, he was honored as a Distinguished Graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. He was recognized as a Distinguished Eagle Scout.
Recognition for his military service includes the Navy Distinguished Service Medal (3 awards), Silver Star (3 awards), Distinguished Flying Cross (6 awards), Bronze Star with Valor device; Air Medal with Strike/Flight numerals, and the Navy Commendation Medal with Valor device.
He also received personal awards from the heads of government of Korea, Japan, Thailand, and the Philippines and the Gray Eagle Award.
His current work is the development of the Pacific Aviation Museum in historic Pearl Harbor, of which he is Chairman of the Board.