WASHINGTON, Aug. 8, 2011 — U.S. special operations forces are unmatched by any country in the world, said Navy Adm. William H. McRaven, who assumed command of the Tampa, Fla.,-based U.S. Special Operations Command today.
McRaven took the reins from Navy Adm. Eric T. Olson during a ceremony presided over by Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta. The video of the ceremony streamed to special operations teams around the world.
McRaven had been the commander of Joint Special Operations Command and worked with then-CIA Director Panetta to find and kill Osama bin Laden. The admiral told Panetta he looks forward to working with him in his new position.
“Today’s [U.S.] special operations forces are the finest the world has ever seen,” McRaven said. “As demonstrated time and again, their courage, their experience, their dedication to the mission and their sense of patriotism is unparalleled in the annals of history.”
McRaven, who was promoted to four-star rank earlier, also praised families of special operations personnel. “Behind every SOF warrior stands a family of equal strength and commitment,” he said. “As a nation, we are blessed to have such magnificent patriots.”
McRaven spoke directly to special operations personnel during his short statement upon taking command. “I look forward to serving with you,” he said. “The world today is as unpredictable as ever. As such, the American people will expect us to … answer every call to arms, to venture where other forces cannot and to win every fight no matter how tough or how long. They will expect it because we are the nation’s special operations force, and I guarantee you we will not let them down.”
McRaven, a Navy SEAL, has commanded at every level from SEAL platoon leader to his current position. He served during Desert Storm and was commander of Special Operations Command Europe where he also served as the first director of the NATO Special Operations Coordination Center.
U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)