SHS Alumni Association honoring U.S. Navy Captain Tim Harrington

An active duty naval officer has been selected by the Salem High School Alumni Association as its 2013 Honored Alumnus.

This year’s honoree is U.S. Navy Captain Tim Harrington, a 1984 Salem High School (SHS) graduate, who currently serves as the Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics, Fleet Supply and Ordnance for the Commander, United States Pacific Fleet in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

His duties as the deputy to the senior Naval Logistician and Staff in the Pacific Theater, are to train and equip operational forces. He plans, coordinates, integrates, and synchronizes logistics and sustainment efforts, and assures expeditionary war fighting readiness for Naval, Joint, Combined, and Coalition operations in the Pacific Fleet’s theater of operations.

Additionally, Harrington provides oversight to the coordinated end-to-end supply chain management of ordnance, repair parts, and other items for U.S. Navy sailors aboard ships and naval forces in the vast region from the U.S. West Coast to the entrance to the Persian Gulf.

“There are a lot of moving parts and a lot of things that break,” Harrington said of the repair parts for ships and associated aircraft that must be maintained at sea.

His previous assignments included two years serving on the 40-member personal staff for General John Shalikashvili when he was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the mid-1990s.

Harrington’s sea duties have included serving as the disbursing and ward room officer on the aircraft carrier USS Forrestal; supply officer on the frigate USS Reid during Operation Desert Storm; readiness officer on the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln; and supply officer on the aircraft carriers USS Kitty Hawk and USS George Washington, both forward deployed in Japan.

Harrington will be the featured speaker at the alumni association’s 132nd reunion and banquet that begins at 6 p.m., Saturday, May 25 in the Salem High School cafeteria. Scholarships for graduating seniors and alumni enrolled in college or other post secondary educational programs will be announced that night as well.

Shelley Miller Wilson, second vice president of the Salem High School Alumni Association, explained that the alumni relations committee chose Harrington because of his dedication and service to our country. “His accomplishments are impressive, and his hard work and dedication are things we could not overlook. He is willing to give back to his country, and for this we are grateful,” she said.

Harrington said he is “truly humbled” to join the association’s roster of honored alumni.

He credits his family’s support, particularly during deployments, with his success in the Navy. He and his wife, Laura Newton Harrington, a 1987 SHS graduate, have two children, Tyler, 16, and MacKenzie, 12. His parents, Paul and Carolyn Harrington, 1953 SHS graduates, and his three siblings-Barb, Julie, and Jim-all reside with their families in the Chicago metropolitan area.

Harrington said he believes the toughest part for anyone serving in the military is the time he or she is away along with the sacrifices family members make while their spouse, son, or daughter is away. Every sailor depends on the support of relatives, he explained during a telephone interview from his office in Hawaii. “Those are the unsung heroes of the military-the people back home,” he said.

Harrington joined the Navy after earning his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Youngstown State University and working briefly in the Chicago office of a national brokerage firm. The leader of the office was a Navy veteran who encouraged Harrington’s interest in the Navy as a way to see the world.

Harrington took an exam for admission to the U.S. Navy Officer Candidate School in Newport, Rhode Island. He gained his commission there in 1989. His other academic credentials include a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Georgia and completion of the Advanced Management Program at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business.

Harrington chose to stay in the Navy after the USS Reid intercepted and eventually took control of a ship that was “trying to smuggle things.” That experience impressed him with the importance of the Navy’s maritime security mission. “I don’t want to be corny about it, but you do it for love of country. You do it really so people can rest easy at night because they know we are out there,” he said.

While his experiences at Salem High School did not directly lead to his decision to join the Navy, Harrington said several SHS teachers “laid the groundwork” for his naval career.

He particularly remembers German teacher Traudi Reed, eighth grade science teacher and football coach Bill Miller, and high school basketball coaches Jerry Allen, George Spack, and Jim Shivers. “They gave me that spark,” he said.

The basketball coaches “taught me about loyalty. They taught me about confidence, and they taught me about self-control. They probably all thought that I was quite a challenge,” he said, laughing. Even if it did not seem as though he mastered their lessons as a teen, Harrington said he has applied them in combination with UCLA Coach John Wooden’s “Pyramid of Success” philosophy to the teamwork approach he has strived to develop among his Navy colleagues.

Harrington’s personal awards include the Legion of Merit, the Defense of Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal (three awards), the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (eight awards), and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal. He also has multiple unit and service awards.

– Material courtesy of the Salem High School Alumni Association.