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William H. McRaven
Birth name William Harry McRaven
Nickname "Bill"
Born November 6, 1955(1955-11-06) (age 65)
Place of birth Pinehurst, North Carolina, U.S.[1]
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Navy
Years of service 1977–present
Rank US-O10 insignia.svg Admiral
Commands held U.S. Special Operations Command
Joint Special Operations Command
Special Operations Command Europe
Naval Special Warfare Group 1
SEAL Team 3

Persian Gulf War

Operation Enduring Freedom

Iraq War

Death of Osama bin Laden

Awards Defense Distinguished Service Medal
Defense Superior Service Medal (2)
Legion of Merit (2)
Bronze Star Medal (2)

William Harry "Bill" McRaven (born November 6, 1955) is a United States Navy admiral, and Commander, U.S. Special Operations Command, since August 8, 2011. He previously served from June 13, 2008 to August 2011 as Commander, Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC)[2] and from June 2006 to March 2008 as Commander, Special Operations Command Europe (SOCEUR).[2] 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.

Early life and education[edit | edit source]

McRaven was born in Pinehurst, North Carolina, and spent most of his formative years in San Antonio, Texas, where he graduated from Roosevelt High School.[3] He is the son of the late Col. Claude "Mac" McRaven, World War II pilot who played briefly in the NFL.[4] 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.[5] 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.

Career[edit | edit source]

Special operations[edit | edit source]

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 SEAL platoon commander at Underwater Demolition Team 21/SEAL Team 4.

McRaven's thesis at the Naval Postgraduate School was titled "The Theory of Special Operations".

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,[6] 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."[7] 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[8] 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."[4]

Operation Neptune Spear[edit | edit source]

McRaven is credited for organizing and executing Operation Neptune Spear,[9] 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 counterterrorism operations and strategy since 2001.[9]

According to the New York Times, "In February, Mr. Panetta called 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."[10] The day before the assault, "Mr. Obama took a break from rehearsing for the White House Correspondents Dinner that night to call Admiral McRaven, to wish him luck."[10] In December 2011, Time profiled McRaven as runner-up for Time Person of the Year for his role in the operation.[11]

Personal life[edit | edit source]

McRaven attended the 2012 White House Correspondents' Association Dinner as the guest of his fifth grade classmate, Karen Tumulty.[12]

Awards and decorations[edit | edit source]

US Navy SEALs insignia.png Special Warfare insignia
United States Navy Parachutist Badge.png Naval Parachutist insignia (not worn)
US - Presidential Service Badge.png Presidential Service Badge
United States Special Operations Command Insignia.svg United States Special Operations Command Badge
Defense Distinguished Service Medal
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Defense Superior Service Medal with oak leaf cluster
Gold star
Legion of Merit with one gold award star
Gold star
Bronze Star Medal with gold award star
Defense Meritorious Service Medal
Gold star
Gold star
Gold star
Meritorious Service Medal with three gold award stars
Joint Service Commendation Medal
Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal
Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal
Combat Action Ribbon
Bronze star
Bronze star
Navy Unit Commendation with two bronze service stars
Navy "E" Ribbon
Bronze star
National Defense Service Medal with bronze service star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Southwest Asia Service Medal with three bronze service stars
Afghanistan Campaign ribbon.svg Afghanistan Campaign Medal
Iraq Campaign ribbon.svg Iraq Campaign Medal
Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary ribbon.svg Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
Global War on Terrorism Service ribbon.svg Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Navy Sea Service Deployment Ribbon
Navy and Marine Corps Overseas Service Ribbon
Us sa-kwlib rib.png Kuwait Liberation Medal (Saudi Arabia)
Us kw-kwlib rib.png Kuwait Liberation Medal (Kuwait)
USN Expert Rifle Ribbon.png Navy Expert Rifleman Medal
USN Expert Pistol Shot Ribbon.png Navy Expert Pistol Shot Medal

Bibliography[edit | edit source]

  • Spec Ops: Case Studies in Special Operations Warfare Theory and Practice. Presidio Press. 1995. ISBN 978-0-89141-544-2.  (Paperback: ISBN 978-0-89141-600-5)

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "Nominations Before the Senate Armed Services Committee, First Session, 112th Congress". Committee on Armed Services. http://www.fas.org/irp/congress/2011_hr/sasc-nom.pdf#page=477. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Joint Special Operations Command Change of Command". USSOCOM. June 13, 2008. http://www.socom.mil/Releases/2008/PR-JSOCCOC.htm. Retrieved March 10, 2009. [dead link]
  3. Heath, Christopher (May 3, 2011). "Navy SEAL behind bin Laden mission hails from San Antonio". KENS. http://www.kens5.com/home/Navy-SEAL-behind-bin-Laden-mission-hails-from-San-Antonio-121187434.html. Retrieved May 4, 2011. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 Levesque, William R., "SOCom gets new commander in ceremony at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa", St. Petersburg Times, August 9, 2011. Retrieved 2011-08-09.
  5. Christian, Carol (May 3, 2011). "Head of unit that killed bin Laden has Texas ties". http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/headline/metro/7548950.html. Retrieved May 4, 2011. 
  6. "Flag Officer Announcements". Defense.gov. Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs). April 6, 2011. http://www.defense.gov/releases/release.aspx?releaseid=14389. Retrieved May 4, 2011. 
  7. Turse, Nick, "A Secret War in 120 Countries: The Pentagon's New Power Elite", CounterPunch, August 4, 2011. Retrieved 2011-08-05.
  8. Ahearn, Dave, "Editor's Perspective", Special Operations Technology, July (9: 5). Retrieved 2011-08-05.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Craig Whitlock (May 4, 2011). "Osama bin Laden dead: Hamas condemns killing of bin Laden". The Washington Post. London. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/pakistan/8488479/Osama-bin-Laden-dead-Hamas-condemns-killing-of-bin-Laden.html. Retrieved May 4, 2011. 
  10. 10.0 10.1 Mazzetti, Mark; Cooper, Helene; Baker, Peter (May 2, 2011). "Clues Gradually Led to the Location of Osama bin Laden p. 2,3". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/03/world/asia/03intel.html?pagewanted=2&hp. 
  11. Barton Gellman (December 14, 2011). "William McRaven: The Admiral". Time Magazine. http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,2101745_2102133_2102330,00.html. 
  12. Parker, Kathleen (May 1, 2012). "The unknown celebrity". http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/an-unknown-but-important-man-among-celebrities/2012/05/01/gIQARrO7uT_story.html. Retrieved 2012-05-03. 

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