Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Admiral McRaven at the 2013 Annual OSS Dinner

This is an excerpt from Admiral McRaven's (Commander of US Special Operations Command) speech at the annual Office of Strategic Services (OSS) Society dinner and gives us a sense (or once again confirms) what he thinks the OSS legacy is (as related to US Army Special Forces)......thanks to SF Brother Brent Patron for bringing this to our attention via the source - Washingtonian.com

Picture above is Col. Sully H. de Fontaine, USA (ret), one of the founders of the OSS and the OSS Society.

Excerpt begins

McRaven was the last act after at least nine toasts, as many speeches, and several videos (including one of soldiers singing a spoof of At The Hop), a jazz performance, and repeated standing ovations. It probably helped that waiting for each guest at his or her place, was a gin martini with onions, to be raised in a toast to Ernest Hemingway, who famously liberated the Paris Ritz at the same time as the allies liberated Paris. It’s a ritual of the dinner.

McRaven did not equivocate. “I often hear disillusioned officers and noncommissioned officers ask, ‘Why aren’t we more like the OSS?’ Well, ladies and gentlemen, I am here tonight to tell you that the OSS is back,” he said, emphatically. “Not since World War II has there been such a lethal combination of intelligence officers and special operations warriors. Not since the fight against Hitler have we had such a talented group of government civilians, intellectuals, businessmen, writers, philosophers, engineers, tinkers, tailors, soldiers, and spies.” He took a pause before declaring, “but, still, there will be some who doubt this resurgence. So let me put those doubts to rest.”

McRaven noted that over the past dozen years he has worked side by side “with my intelligence counterparts” all over the world, “in every war zone, declared and undeclared.” He described the modern Navy SEAL arsenal, a kind of fantasy list for spy geeks. That includes craft that move “on the water and under the water. We have big planes and little planes and littler planes. We have submarines and mini-subs. We have scuba rigs and jet boots that propel us under water. We have jet skis and kayaks, we have motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles. We have high-definition sensors that look like rocks. We Tweet and Google and Bing. We are building an Ironman suit that will test the limits of technology and entrepreneurship.”

Lest anyone think SEAL life is all about gadgets, he went on to describe the modern intelligence and special operations recruit. “They come from all walks of life. They are New Yorkers and Texans. Big city and small towns. They are Ivy League and community college. They are bikers, lawyers, poets and musicians, geeks and old school, officers and enlisted, uniformed and suits; they speak Farsi, Pashtu, Somali, Chinese, Arabic, and Hangul.”

His stemwinder built to a rousing finish. “Today we are fighting extremism of another type, a medieval mindset that doesn’t recognize any civility, and it is international and it is a threat to our global humanity.” He said the intelligence and defense communities “stand as vanguards of our security, fighting this barbarism as far away from our shores as we can engage them.” He closed with a presidential, “God bless you and God bless America.” He received the longest and loudest standing ovation of the night.

excerpt ends

Note: McRaven is the Commander of ALL U.S. Special Operations. Why he insists of talking about the SEALS instead of all Special Operations is not understood. Suffice it to say that Army Special Forces remains the "Quiet Professionals".

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