A graduate of Auburn University in 1952, Lieutenant Commander Hayes served in the USS John R. Craig (DD-885) from May until December of 1952. He underwent flight training from January 1953 to April 1954 and served in Fighter Squadron 143 from 1954 to 1957. He was a flight instructor at NAS, Pensacola from December 1957 to June 1960. He then attended the U. S. Naval Postgraduate School until June 1961. He was on the Staff of Carrier Air Group One from July 1961 until July 1963, and attended the Naval War College from August 1963 until June 1964.