To me, the American Dream is the opportunity for me to be able to be in the right place at the right time and then do the right thing. I just kind of went — my event horizon was, “What am I going to do today? Actually, my mother kind of moved me towards the military. Their marriage has lasted through a 37-year military career requiring constant relocation and deployments around the world. It was post-Vietnam, so there was this belief that maybe we didn’t need special operations anymore, so the amount of funding and available training opportunities for the SEALs went down dramatically until about the mid-1980s. The Webster Group was thrilled to produce the Honorable William H. Webster Distinguished Service Awards Dinner where the International Spy Museum honored Admiral William H. McRaven for his exemplary service to the intelligence community. Even though you know you’re going to be miserable during the rehearsal. In my remarks earlier this week at the Academy I talked about the movie. That’s how kids my age grew up, particularly in Texas. But I remember as I was interviewing Herr Witzig, who was a German officer, about the raid on Eben-Emael, which was a very famous German raid into Belgium that secured a very difficult fort with a small number of folks. In 2006, he was tapped to lead the Special Operations Command Europe (SOCEUR), based in Stuttgart, Germany. He says, “But you don’t understand, George. You were cold, you were wet, you were miserable, and you still had to perform at a certain level. And then you have to be right on target with the talented people you bring. William McRaven: No, I was actually born — my father was stationed at Pope Air Force Base and I was born in North Carolina. But when you sit down to do a mission, you have got to do the detail planning. So when we would go out on operations, your weapon — and in the case when I first started, we carried an M-16 — and you would go out and you would be on an operation all night long. SPEC OPS continues to be one of the most widely read books on special operations in the military. Of course James Bond came into vogue in the early ’60s so I saw every James Bond movie. When I hit the parachute I was dazed a little bit, so I really didn’t know what altitude I was at. Spec Ops book. Writing came fairly naturally to me. He would later return to the SEALs as commander of SEAL Team Three. So now we are working to help the families and to make them resilient, to talk to the wives and the husbands and say, “You need to exercise as well. I was absolutely a huge James Bond fan. I learned that early on. Frankly, most of the public had never heard of Navy SEALs. In fact, I would tell you that it was — I mean, it had a political aspect of it and an angst aspect of it that was higher than the rest of the missions we do — but from a standpoint of a pure military operation it was pretty straightforward. I was not stable as I was tumbling because I am not a great freefaller. Although we do not offer direct services, there are many resources available on campus, in the Austin area, and nationally. Even though intuitively we knew these guys had been at war at that point in time for ten, 11 years and the strain on the families and the soldiers was huge. The good news was that it opened; the bad news was when it opened it essentially broke me in two. You have to be creative. The problem was that was a long rehearsal and they didn’t want to do the full rehearsal. They would say, “Okay, we are going to have a four-mile run on the beach.” And as you were closing in on that last couple of hundred meters, they would go, “Oh no, this isn’t the finish line. He had served in Vietnam as an enlisted man — became a mustang, as we say — he was later commissioned. But what’s important is you have to stop and clean your weapon first. You couldn’t be an admiral. William McRaven: We were trying to keep it as close to hold as possible, and fortunately we were successful in doing that. But the good news was I did get to the ground, and they came and picked me up in an ambulance and took me to the hospital and plated me and pinned me and got me back together again. What is the creative solution to this problem, and how can I apply what skill set we have differently than the infantry battalion or the air strike?” So you absolutely have to be creative, but I think you have to be creative within a framework. 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. I’m in special operations.” She said, “Well, what’s the difference?” Okay, so when she found out I was in special operations, I think that created a level of anxiety that I didn’t anticipate. And then after that I went back to an operational unit and kept moving. So having an opportunity to sit down with these phenomenal officers and enlisted who had been part of some of the great operations in special operations history was just incredibly educational for me. What It Takes is an audio podcast produced by the American Academy of Achievement featuring intimate, revealing conversations with influential leaders in the diverse fields of endeavor: public service, science and exploration, sports, technology, business, arts and humanities, and justice. I could be doing something else.” Where did you get the strength of character to pursue something so difficult? And I do that today. I’ve got to prove that I’m as good an officer as I think I am. And that is not what you want. So it was a little bit of a conflict of personality and a conflict of how business gets done on the SEAL teams. Stunned, he opened his own chute as well, but the lines wrapped his legs separately, wrenching his legs in opposite directions. Student Inquiries The following year, he published a memoir, Sea Stories: My Life in Special Operations. And then I went to accounting, did even worse in accounting. So I have been very fortunate. So I absolutely looked at the point of vulnerability, relative superiority, keeping the plan simple. There were three men in the mini-sub, and they were going after the German ship, the Tirpitz. As I said, I struggled early on with pre-med and with accounting, so my GPA before my final two years was pretty low. You have to have a swagger, you have to be confident. In this book, McRaven applied the lessons of his career as a Navy SEAL to the challenges of everyday life and work. William McRaven: Just like every other American, I was stunned, watching the people of New York and later the Pentagon. Then he was down in Sicily and Salerno. The family — including his two older sisters — moved to Texas while William was in elementary school and settled in San Antonio. And oh, by the way, we’re going to set up mechanisms where you will know what is happening with your husband. So as he opened his parachute, I kind of hit his parachute. I knew right then and there that the world was about to change. She was looking for a way to get me through college. McRaven is a powerful advocate for American values. You can see it when you are underwater. I rolled off his parachute and was a little stunned. People always ask me, “Was it of any value to you?” And I said absolutely. William McRaven: This is kind of what we did in Afghanistan. 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