U.S. Special Ops Forces Unmatched in World, McRaven Says

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) 

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