By Grant Morris
Honor, Valor, Bravery and Morality. These were just a few of the topics that retired four-star admiral and University of Texas System Chancellor William McRaven spoke on in Texas State’s Evans Auditorium this Tuesday to hundreds of students. As part of this year’s common experience theme of “a century conflict”, Chancellor McRaven tied many of his experiences as a commander on the field of battle to Karl Malentes’ What It’s Like to Go to War.
Starting in the early 2000s, McRaven’s more than two decades of experience led to his command of a wide variety of troops in Iraq. He headed countless special operations including Operation Neptune Spear which led to the death of Osama Bin Laden.
The Admiral and UT graduate’s speech was comprised of deeply personal stories, each ending with a meaningful tie in to Maleantes’ work. After the speech was a question and answer session, where members of the audience, many of whom were veterans themselves, posed direct inquiries to Mr. McRaven.
Many times in his speech, McRaven made clear the lasting affect his encounters with heroic men and women have had. This heroism, he says, is something that many who serve admittedly strive towards. At the same time however, it is something that should not be valued ahead of accomplishing the mission at hand. Soldiers will be lost but a goal must be achieved. This, as the former four-star admiral explains, is crucial to success.
With his speech, McRaven crafted a thoughtful and well-rehearsed tribute to the men and women who serve this country in uniform. At the same time, he was able to paint a portrait I can only assume is wholly accurate on what it means to take part in this century of conflict.
Featured image by Shalnora Worlds