Coronado Public Library, Coronado Cultural Arts and Bay Books present An Evening with Admiral William H. McRaven, USN (Ret.) on Thursday, August 3 at 7 p.m. at the Coronado Performing Arts Center.

This event at 650 D Ave. in the Coronado School for the Arts is free and seating is general admission. 

There will be no book sales at the event, but McRaven will sign books owned by attendees from 6:15-6:45 p.m. McRaven’s books are available for purchase prior to the event at Bay Books.

McRaven is the author of “Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life …” and “Maybe the World,” “The Wisdom of the Bullfrog: Leadership Made Simple (But not Easy),” The Hero Code: Lessons Learned From Lives Well Lived, Sea Stories: My Life in Special Operations,” and the children’s book “Make Your Bed with Skipper and Seal.”

McRaven’s new book, “The Wisdom of the Bullfrog: Leadership Made Simple (But Not Easy)” is his treatise on the leadership qualities that separate the good from the truly great.

The title “Bullfrog” is given to the Navy SEAL who has served the longest on active duty.

McRaven was honored to receive this honor in 2011 when he took charge of the United States Special Operations Command.

Illustrious accomplishments

Among McRaven’s illustrious accomplishments are: On entering active service in the Navy, McRaven sought and achieved admission to the training program of the Sea, Air, Land Teams (SEALs), the Navy’s elite special operations force.

After completing Basic Underwater Demolition SEAL Training, McRaven was assigned to the newly formed SEAL Team Six.

The young lieutenant was given a squad to command, but soon ran afoul of the team’s controversial commander, Richard Marcinko. Their leadership styles clashed and McRaven was relieved of his first command.

Faced with this setback, the young lieutenant was determined to prove himself.

SEAL Team Four

He was assigned to SEAL Team Four, where he was given command of an entire platoon.

During the Persian Gulf War of 1990-91, McRaven served as a task unit commander in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

McRaven earned his master’s degree at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey.

He helped create the school’s Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict curriculum and became the program’s first graduate.

Master’s thesis

His master’s thesis, The Theory of Special Operations, was published in 1996 as Spec Ops: Case Studies in Special Operations Warfare: Theory and Practice.

It has been reprinted numerous times, has been translated into several languages, and it has been studied around the world.

McRaven was at home recovering from a parachuting accident on September 11, 2001, when he saw the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City. 

When he had recovered sufficiently to report for duty, he returned to Washington to serve as Deputy National Security Advisor and director for strategic planning in the National Security Council Staff’s Office of Combating Terrorism.

Counterterrorism operations

The remaining 10 years of his military career would focus almost entirely on counterterrorism operations and strategy.

He was the principal author of the government’s 2006 National Strategy for Combating Terrorism.

In the first months of 2011, CIA Director Leon Panetta summoned McRaven to a meeting at CIA headquarters to describe the compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan that Panetta believed might be harboring Osama bin Laden.

Panetta asked McRaven to prepare plans for an attack on the compound.

The effort was dubbed Operation Neptune Spear.

Eliminate Bin Laden

President Obama promoted McRaven to four-star admiral and nominated him to serve as the ninth commander of the USSOC, with responsibility of the entire special operations community.

While the Senate considered the appointment, McRaven quietly proceeded with plans for the operation to eliminate Bin Laden.

On the night of May 1, 2011, helicopters carried Seal Team Six from their base in Afghanistan into Pakistani air space.

McRaven, linked by secure video from Jalalabad to the White House, briefed the president in real time as the operation progressed.

Within 15 minutes of the SEALs’ arrival in Abbottabad, all resistance had been overcome and Bin Laden was dead. 

Retirement from Navy

In 2014, McRaven announced his retirement from the United States Navy after 37 years of service.

In May of that year, he delivered a commencement address at his alma mater, the University of Texas at Austin.

When posted on the Internet, the address drew millions of viewers in a matter of weeks.

McRaven was invited to apply for the position of chancellor of the entire University of Texas system, a position to which he was appointed.

McRaven expanded on the themes of his celebrated commencement address in his 2017 book, “Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life… and Maybe the World.”

In this book, McRaven applied the lessons of his career as a Navy SEAL to the challenges of everyday life and work.

Submitted by Ivy Weston.

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