UT alumnus commanded unit that killed mastermind of 9/11

Audrey White

Vice Adm. William H. McRaven, a 1977 UT journalism alumnus, commands the unit that planned and executed the raid that led to the killing of Osama bin Laden on Sunday.

McRaven took over leadership of the more than 60,000 troops in the Joint Special Operations Command in 2008. McRaven is a highly decorated Navy SEAL who participated in the Naval ROTC program while at UT. Awards during his 35-year career include the Bronze Star, Legion of Merit and Defense Superior Service Medal. McRaven is the highest-ranking active duty UT Naval ROTC graduate, according to a University press release from November.

“I was fascinated that somebody with a journalism degree had gone to special forces and been a SEAL,” said retired Adm. Bobby Inman, a professor at the LBJ School of Public Affairs. “He has demonstrated that he is truly a distinguished graduate of the University.”

Inman met McRaven when the vice admiral was honored at the UT-Oklahoma State University game in November as part of the 75th anniversary celebration of ROTC. The two men shared what life is like both in the Navy and as a veteran and discussed McRaven’s career opportunities. Inman said McRaven spoke highly of his experience at UT.

McRaven’s success as the commander of JSOC reflects the leadership and intelligence that Longhorn and ROTC graduates are known for, Inman said.

“They’re leaders. They’re quick on their feet, logical in their thinking, able to interact with people effectively so they can be first rate leaders,” he said. “It was such an easy flowing conversation, talking about activities and events around the world. It is clear he is a very, very bright guy.”

McRaven will take over as Special Operations Command Chief from Adm. Eric Olson. Olson was the first Navy SEAL to hold the post, and McRaven will be the second, Inman said. SOCOM oversees all of the U.S. military’s special operations units, including JSOC.