Admiral William McRaven is, by anyone’s definition, a true warrior. A 36-year veteran of the US Navy, he earned his Special Operations credentials the hard way, first by completing the grueling selection and training program required of all men who aspire to become a Navy SEAL. He then went on to serve on the storied SEAL Team 6, and to
command SEAL Team 3 before his appointment as commander of Special Operations Command Europe.
More recently, ADM McRaven commanded the Joint Special Operations Command, the most elite and complex SOF formation in the world. It was in this capacity that he became a household name as the commander of the raid that finally got Osama Bin Laden. Currently, Admiral McRaven directs all US Special Operations Forces as the commander of US Special Operations Command (SOCOM).
ADM McRaven had the opportunity to work with the Army on many occasions over the course of his career, and these interactions were the subject of the speech he delivered when he travelled to the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York in January to be the Guest of Honor for an event known as “500th Night.” 500th Night marks
an important milestone for the junior class of cadets: 500 days left until graduation and commissioning into the US Army.
ADM McRaven’s 500th Night speech, titled A Sailor’s Perspective on the United States Army, was transcribed and released by West Point. We [editors at Hit The Woodline] edited West Point’s transcript slightly for purposes of readability and have provided it for you below. It is a lengthy read, but I assure you it is well worth it. The last five or so paragraphs are the most poignant. ….
Related: Admiral McRaven at his Alma Mater, The University of Texas at Austin, 17 May 2014: