William H. McRaven
|Birth name||William Harry McRaven|
November 6, 1955 |
Pinehurst, North Carolina, U.S.
|Service/branch||United States Navy|
|Years of service||1977–2014|
|Commands held||U.S. Special Operations Command
Joint Special Operations Command
Special Operations Command Europe
Naval Special Warfare Group 1
SEAL Team 3
|Battles/wars||Persian Gulf War
• Operation Desert Shield
• Operation Desert Storm
Operation Enduring Freedom
• War in Afghanistan
Operation Neptune Spear
|Awards||Defense Distinguished Service Medal (3)
Defense Superior Service Medal (2)
Legion of Merit (2)
Bronze Star Medal (2)
William Harry McRaven (born November 6, 1955) is a former United States Navy admiral who last served as the ninth commander of the United States Special Operations Command from August 8, 2011, to August 28, 2014. He previously served from June 13, 2008, to August 2011 as Commander, Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) and from June 2006 to March 2008 as Commander, Special Operations Command Europe (SOCEUR). In addition to his duties as COMSOCEUR, he was designated as the first director of the NATO Special Operations Forces Coordination Centre (NSCC), where he was charged with enhancing the capabilities and inter-operability of all NATO Special Operations Forces.
McRaven is a 1977 graduate of The University of Texas at Austin. He is the son of Anna Elizabeth (Long) and Col. Claude C. "Mac" McRaven, a Spitfire fighter pilot in World War II who played briefly in the NFL. McRaven attended the University of Texas at Austin on a track scholarship, and was a member of the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps. He graduated in 1977 with a bachelor's degree in journalism. Additionally, McRaven holds a master’s degree from the Naval Postgraduate School, where he helped establish and was the first graduate from the Special operations/Low intensity conflict curriculum.
As a junior officer McRaven was assigned to SEAL Team 6 under the command of Richard Marcinko but was pushed out due to McRaven's concerns about a culture of recklessness, complaining of difficulties in keeping his sailors in line. McRaven has commanded at every level within the special operations community, including assignments as deputy commander for operations at JSOC, Commodore of Naval Special Warfare Group 1, Commander of SEAL Team 3, task group commander in the CENTCOM area of responsibility, task unit commander during the Persian Gulf War, squadron commander at Naval Special Warfare Development Group, and platoon commander at Underwater Demolition Team 21/SEAL Team 4.
McRaven's 1993 thesis at the Naval Postgraduate School was titled "The Theory of Special Operations" (republished in 1995 as Spec Ops: Case Studies in Special Operations Warfare: Theory and Practice).
McRaven has also served as a staff officer with an interagency coordination focus, including as the director for Strategic Planning in the Office of Combating Terrorism on the National Security Council Staff, assessment director at U.S. Special Operations Command, on the Staff of the Chief of Naval Operations and the chief of staff at Naval Special Warfare Group 1.
On April 6, 2011, McRaven was nominated by President Barack Obama for appointment to the rank of admiral and as the ninth Commander of USSOCOM, of which JSOC is a component. In his confirmation hearings, McRaven "endorsed a steady manpower growth rate of 3% to 5% a year" and favored more resources for USSOCOM, including "additional drones and the construction of new special operations facilities." After the Armed Services committee hearings, in late June, McRaven was confirmed unanimously by the Senate for his promotion to four-star admiral and as commander of USSOCOM and took command August 8. The transfer ceremony was led by Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta in Tampa, with Admiral Olson also in attendance, two days after the Wardak Province helicopter crash which cost 30 Americans, including 22 SEALs, their lives. With several hundred in attendance, Panetta spoke of sending "a strong message of American resolve [and] ... carry[ing] on the fight."
Operation Neptune Spear
McRaven is credited for organizing and overseeing the execution of Operation Neptune Spear, the special ops raid that led to the death of Osama bin Laden on May 2, 2011. CIA Director Leon Panetta delegated the raid to McRaven who has worked almost exclusively on counter-terrorism operations and strategy since 2001.
According to the New York Times, "In February, Mr. Panetta called then-Vice Adm. William H. McRaven, commander of the Pentagon's Joint Special Operations Command, to CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, to give him details about the compound and to begin planning a military strike. Admiral McRaven, a veteran of the covert world who had written a book on American Special Operations, spent weeks working with the CIA on the operation, and came up with three options: a helicopter assault using U.S. Navy SEALs, a strike with B-2 bombers that would obliterate the compound, or a joint raid with Pakistani intelligence operatives who would be told about the mission hours before the launch." The day before the assault, President Obama "took a break from rehearsing for the White House Correspondents Dinner that night to call Admiral McRaven, to wish him luck." Years later, a June 2013 Freedom of Information request revealed that on May 13, 2011, McRaven sent email titled "OPSEC Guidance / Neptune Spear" that instructed redacted recipients that "all photos [of UBL's remains] should have been turned over to the CIA; if you still have them destroy them immediately" or "get them to" a recipient whose identity was redacted.
Retirement from the military
In June 2014, it was announced that Admiral McRaven had his request for retirement approved after a 37 year career. Admiral McRaven retired from the Navy on 1 September 2014. During the last few years of his career he was also Bull Frog, the longest serving Navy SEAL still on duty, having succeeded his SOCOM predecessor Eric T. Olson in the title.
University of Texas Chancellor
McRaven is the son of a career Air Force Officer. McRaven is married to Georgeann Brady McRaven. They have three children. McRaven attended the 2012 White House Correspondents' Association Dinner as the guest of his fifth grade classmate, Karen Tumulty.
Awards and decorations
- McRaven, William H. (1995). Spec Ops: Case Studies in Special Operations Warfare Theory and Practice. Presidio Press. ISBN 978-0-89141-544-2. (Paperback: ISBN 978-0-89141-600-5)
- Dirty Wars, a 2013 American documentary featuring McRaven revisiting the site and survivors of the Khataba raid to apologize.
- His 2014 commencement address for the University of Texas at Austin received over 4,000,000 views on YouTube.
- "Joint Special Operations Command Change of Command" (Press release). USSOCOM. June 13, 2008. Retrieved March 10, 2009.[dead link]
- "Navy SEAL behind bin Laden mission hails from San Antonio". KENS. May 4, 2011. Retrieved May 4, 2011.
- "McRaven confirmed as new UT system chancellor". Army Times. Associated Press. August 21, 2014. Retrieved 2014-08-21.
- "Claude McRaven Obituary - Austin, TX - Austin American-Statesman". Austin American-Statesman.
- Lloyd, Jennifer R. (August 2, 2014). "Adm. McRaven will bring fearlessness, humble nature to UT System". San Antonio Express-News. Retrieved June 19, 2015.
- Levesque, William R. (August 9, 2011). "SOCom gets new commander in ceremony at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved 2011-08-09.
- Christian, Carol (May 3, 2011). "Head of unit that killed bin Laden has Texas ties". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved May 4, 2011.
- "The lowdown on higher education". Austin American-Statesman. Cox Media Group. May 8, 2012. Retrieved 2014-02-12.
- "All Hail the Texas Exes' 2012 Distinguished Alumni". The Alcalde. May 2012. Retrieved 2014-02-12.
- Mazzetti, Mark; Kulish, Nicholas; Drew, Christopher; Kovaleski, Serge F.; Naylor, Sean D.; Ismay, John (June 6, 2015). "SEAL Team 6: A Secret History of Quiet Killings and Blurred Lines". New York Times. Retrieved June 19, 2015.
- "Flag Officer Announcements". Defense.gov (Press release). Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs). April 6, 2011. Retrieved May 4, 2011.
- Turse, Nick (August 4, 2011). "A Secret War in 120 Countries: The Pentagon's New Power Elite". CounterPunch. Retrieved 2011-08-05.
- Ahearn, Dave (July 2011). "Editor's Perspective". Special Operations Technology. 9 (5). Retrieved 2011-08-05.
- Whitlock, Craig (May 4, 2011). "Osama bin Laden dead: Hamas condemns killing of bin Laden". The Washington Post. London. Retrieved 2011-05-04.
- Mazzetti, Mark; Cooper, Helene; Baker, Peter (May 2, 2011). "Clues Gradually Led to the Location of Osama bin Laden". The New York Times. p. 2,3.
- "Judicial Watch v. DoD, 13-cv-1343 (JDB)" (PDF). Judicial Watch. January 31, 2014. Retrieved 2014-02-12.
- McConnell, Dugald (February 11, 2014). "Admiral's e-mail on photos of Osama bin Laden's corpse: 'Destroy them'". CNN. Retrieved 2014-02-12.
- Gellman, Barton (December 14, 2011). "William McRaven: The Admiral". Time Magazine.
- Wright, Austin (July 1, 2014). "McRaven Approved for Retirement". Politico: Morning Defense. Retrieved June 19, 2015.
- "Longest Serving Navy SEAL Passes on Legacy Title". United States Navy. August 26, 2011.
- Caruso, Robert (July 14, 2014). "Opinion: The Legacy of Adm. William McRaven". United States Naval Institute.
- Hamilton, Reeve (July 25, 2014). "UT System Expected to Name New Chancellor on Tuesday". The Texas Tribune. Retrieved June 19, 2015.
- Vertuno, Jim (July 29, 2014). "University of Texas Picking William McRaven As New Chancellor". Retrieved June 19, 2015.
- "UT regents confirm McRaven as next system chancellor - Austin Business Journal". Bizjournals.com. 2014-08-04. Retrieved 2014-08-21.
- "The full interview with the 2011 Texan of the Year, Bill McRaven". Dallas Morning News. 2011-12-24. Retrieved 2014-08-21.
- "The Quiet Professional". The Alcalde. Texas Exes. June 24, 2011. Retrieved August 21, 2014.
- Parker, Kathleen (May 1, 2012). "The unknown celebrity". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2012-05-03.
- William H. McRaven (2014). University of Texas at Austin 2014 Commencement Address. Austin, Texas. Retrieved 2014-05-23.
- William H. McRaven (May 23, 2014). University of Texas at Austin 2014 Commencement Address - Admiral William H. McRaven. Austin, Texas. Retrieved May 27, 2014.
- Paul Caron, ed. (May 26, 2014). "Ten Life Lessons From Navy SEAL Training (transcript)". Retrieved May 27, 2014.
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