Adm. Leon Edney, USN (ret.), a native of Dedham, Massachusetts, was commissioned an Ensign in 1957 following his graduation from the U.S. Naval Academy. He earned a master's degree in public administration from Harvard University in 1963.
Designated a Naval Aviator in 1958, Admiral Edney's first operational flying tours were with Air Antisubmarine Squadrons 27 and 24. Following his graduate studies at Harvard, he served a two-year tour in Washington, D.C., as a Special Assistant to the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Research and Development. In 1965, Admiral Edney transitioned to light attack jet aircraft and was assigned to Attack Squadron 164. In 1970, Admiral Edney was assigned to the Staff of the Chief of Naval Operations as the Western Hemisphere Plans Officer in the Political-Military Plans Division. He was selected White House Fellow in 1970 and served as a Special Assistant Secretary of Transportation. In 1971, Admiral Edney was named Executive Officer of Attack Squadron 27 and assumed command of the squadron the following year.
Admiral Edney assumed command of Carrier Air Wing TWO embarked in the aircraft carrier USS RANGER (CV 61) in 1974. He then became the commanding officer of the fleet oiler USS PONCHATOULA (AO 148) two years later. He then served as Chief of Staff for Commander, Cruiser Destroyer Group FIVE before assuming command of the aircraft carrier USS CONSTELLATION (CV 64) in January 1980. Under his command, CONSTELLATION participated in RIMPAC '80 exercise with navies from the Pacific basin before deploying to the Western Pacific in April 1980. During this deployment, CONSTELLATION remained on station in the Indian Ocean for 110 straight days in support of U.S. foreign policy.
In June 1981 Admiral Edney was designated a Commodore and became the sixty-ninth Commander of Midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy. In March 1984, he became Commander, Carrier Group ONE and made another deployment to the Western Pacific embarked in CONSTELLATION the following year.
Following his assignment as Commander, Carrier Group ONE, Admiral Edney served as the Assistant Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Air Warfare; Director, Aviation Plans and Requirements Division; and later Director, Office of Program Appraisal for the Secretary of the Navy. In 1987, he became the Chief of Naval Personnel, and the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Manpower, Personnel, and Training. He assumed the duties of Vice Chief of Naval Operations in August 1988, and as such was directly responsible to the Chief of Naval Operations for the command of the Navy's operating forces and the administration of its shore establishment.
In May 1990, Admiral Edney assumed his duties as NATO's Supreme Allied Commander, Atlantic, and Commander in Chief, U.S. Atlantic Command.
Admiral Edney's personal awards and decorations include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the Navy Distinguished Service Medal with gold star, the Legion of Merit with two gold stars, Distinguished Flying Cross with four gold stars, Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with gold star, Air Medal with gold numeral 8 and bronze numeral 30, Navy Commendation Medal with Combat V, and the Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with gold star, as well as various campaign and unit awards. During his career he accumulated more than 5,600 flight hours, flown 340 combat sorties, and made more than 1,000 carrier landings.