McRaven Assumes Command of SOCOM

Adm. Bill McRaven is the new boss of US Special Operations Command. He took the reins of command from Adm. Eric Olson Monday in a somber ceremony at MacDill AFB, Fla. The change of command came two days after tragedy rocked the special operations community with the loss of 30 US military personnel, including 25 special operators, in the crash of an Army Chinook helicopter shot down by insurgents in eastern Afghanistan. It was the single-deadliest incident for US forces in Afghanistan since the war began there. “We will honor the fallen by showing the world our unyielding determination to press ahead,” said Defense Secretary Leon Panetta during the ceremony. “As heavy a loss as this was, it would even be more tragic if we allowed it to derail this country from our efforts to defeat Al Qaeda and deny them a safe haven in Afghanistan.” McRaven, a Navy SEAL who led Joint Special Operations Command since June 2008, masterminded the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. Olson, who commanded SOCOM since July 2007, is retiring. He was the first-ever four-star Navy SEAL. (Panetta speech) (AFPS report by Jim Garamone and second Garamone report)