Admiral William Harry McRaven is a retired United States Navy admiral who has served as the ninth commander of the United States Special Operations Command, as Commander, Joint Special Operations Command and as Commander, Special Operations Command Europe. He was designated as the first director of the NATO Special Operations Forces Coordination Center, where he was charged with enhancing the capabilities and interoperability of all NATO Special Operations Forces.
McRaven is the son of Anna Elizabeth Long and Col. Claude C. “Mac” McRaven who was a Spitfire fighter pilot in World War II, he also briefly played in the NFL. Admiral McRaven attended the University of Texas at Austin on a track scholarship, he graduated in 1977 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he also holds a master’s degree from the Naval Postgraduate School, where he helped establish the Special operations/Low intensity conflict curriculum. McRaven is married to Georgeann Brady McRaven and they have three children.
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.
In December 2011, McRaven was runner-up for Time Person of the Year for his role in the operation.
Admiral McRaven retired from the Navy on 1 September 2014, after more than 37 years of service. He is now the Chancellor of the University of Texas System.
On May 17, 2014 Admiral McRaven addressed the University of Texas at Austin Class of 2014 and urged the graduates to change the world. His speech was based on The University’s slogan, “What starts here changes the world.” He combined 10 lessons he learned from basic SEAL training with examples of how the graduates could utilize these lessons in their own lives and become leaders who instill and encourage a change in the world.
Take a moment to watch Admiral McRavens speech for yourself, you will walk away with invaluable lessons that will encourage you to reach for your highest goals, fight for what you believe in, and of course the ultimate key of success – to “Never to ring the bell.”