Team Leader, Naval Special Warfare Development Group
Rob O’Neill is one of the most highly-decorated combat veterans of our time. He was a team leader with the Naval Special Warfare Development Group. He has deployed more than a dozen times, and he held combat leadership roles in more than 400 combat missions in four different theaters of war. A highly-trained Navy SEAL, he led the military’s most elite and was involved in our nation’s most important campaigns. With most of his career shrouded in a classified cloak, O’Neill was the man on the ground we have never heard of but know exists. He was one of the quiet professionals performing the most difficult tasks in the most difficult circumstances, serving his remarkable career in the shadows and keeping America safe in the process.
In his line of work, instant, critical decision-making is an absolute necessity for success, and he has proven experience in exceptionally high-risk and fluid environments. Having trained more than 800 special operations and tactical operators, O’Neill brings this unique expertise to organizations and translates his elite SEAL team training into high-impact, actionable insights on leadership, decision-making, operating in uncertain environments, and how to become the ‘best of the best.’ His mantra is “never quit,” and O’Neill believes this is the single most important factor in determining success. A family man, O’Neill reminds us that the servicemen doing the dirtiest work are often making the hardest sacrifices.
Decorations. One of the nation’s most decorated veterans, O’Neill has been decorated more than 52 times with honors, including two Silver Stars, four Bronze Stars with Valor, a Joint Service Commendation Medal with Valor, three Presidential Unit citations, and a Navy Commendation Medal with Valor. Silver Stars, the military’s third highest honor, are awarded for extraordinary gallantry in action against an enemy of the United States. Bronze Stars with Valor are awarded for merit, with Valor signifying a heroic act and direct participation in combat operations. It is the fourth-highest combat award of the U.S. Armed Forces and the ninth highest military award overall. Joint Service Commendation Medals are given for senior service on a joint military staff and is the most senior of the commendation medals.
Military History. O’Neill rose to the rank of senior chief petty officer in the United States Navy and served as a team leader at DEVGRU, positions not come by easily. O’Neill has a laundry list of certifications, including instructor, physical trainer, master training specialist, special warfare sniper and breacher, diving supervisor, and survival expert. He was also an officer in charge of small arms, demolition, close quarters combat, explosives breaching, fire and maneuvers, and laser systems safety. His military air operations qualifications include high-altitude and high-opening free fall jump master, tandem and bundle master, parachute rigger, master naval parachutist, drop zone safety officer, and air operations trainer/examiner and quality assurance inspector. He has completed more than 1000 jumps.
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Download Speech Topics: Robert O'Neill's Topics
Never Quit: The Story of a Life Built on Successful Missions. Rob O’Neill has served America as a SEAL, team leader, and senior chief petty officer at Naval Special Development Group in some of the most challenging, storied, clandestine military roles of our time. In his speech, O’Neill shares what he learned during his more than 400 combat missions across four theaters of war. Through his moving and emotional stories drawn from lessons learned during some of the country’s most headline-stealing conflicts, O’Neill shows his audience how the best of the military’s best approach strategic planning when mission failure is not an option. Audiences come to appreciate the people who are asked to do the hardest jobs – the warriors, husbands, and family men who they know exist but have never met, who are focused solely on making their missions successful. Join one of the legends of our nation’s military as he shares his views on the ingredients to a successful mission: the right people, preparedness, decision making under pressure, and, above all, a commitment to never quit.
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“I wanted to let you know what a tremendous job Rob O'Neill did for all of us at Big Hearts Under the Big Sky. Rob spoke with enthusiasm, energy and heart. The audience was captivated by his message and his ability to give the message in such a powerful way. I told Rob prior to the event that I don’t care what he talks about as long as his message is brought back to our mission of helping children, women and soldiers. Rob took our mission and goals and amazingly sent a very powerful message that circled around and ended up right in line with why we were all in the room for Big Hearts Under the Big Sky.”
“After watching and lessening to Rob I believe he is the type of speaker that does his homework, speaks from the heart and can send a very meaningful message. I am glad we gave him the freedom to come up with his own dialogue; he did a better job than we would have. My advice to others who would hire Rob is “Trust him he will hit it out of the park for you.”
“We are very grateful for what Rob has done for Big Hearts and would be happy to be a reference for Rob. Any business or organization would benefit by hiring Rob. He can assimilate and incorporate the message that is needed to be expressed to each individual situation. A very gifted speaker!”
“PS: I have to tell you the bar sales went way down when Rob spoke – no one wanted to leave their seat, he had them mesmerized..”
Big Hearts Under the Big Sky
“I am the son of a career Naval Officer and I am also a former U.S Navy Corpsman. I have been associated with many U.S. Military individuals through our work here in Montana and the Big Hearts program. I have been fortunate to have heard many decorated men and women share their experiences since 9/11. Rob O’Neill is one of a kind.”
“His comfort with his story is remarkable. He is clearly one of the bravest, most accomplished, but humble warriors I have ever been around. He talks about the “teams” tasks and successes avoiding the pure GUTS necessary to even think about the missions that he has participated in. He lit up the room at our event on April 20, 2013. Even in the humorous light that a great Marine used to introduce Rob. This man is a true American Hero with a common mans sense of humor. I am proud to have been in his company even for a small amount of time.”
Big Hearts Under the Big Sky
“At the ALPA Board of Directors meeting this year, we were honored to have former Navy SEAL and special operator Rob O’Neill speak to our pilots. He left us with an inspiring message about setting goals, brotherhood, humility, and courage. He was really a highlight of the meeting.”
“He obviously hooked our audience from the beginning because of his unconventional job, but he was also able to engage us in an incredible human story that included everything from his SEAL training to combat to fatherhood to his missions around the world. His accounts bring you through a range of emotions—you’re shocked, you’re sad, you’re laughing, and you’re motivated.”
“His delivery makes you feel like you’re getting a one-on-one, personal glimpse into the clandestine world of a SEAL. But what you walk away with are his life lessons: never quit, take care of your people, communicate effectively, set clear goals, and then execute your plan.”
"It’s what has made him successful in every mission and what has ultimately allowed him to survive. He also does his homework on the audience and was able to weave in issues that matter to pilots. His story is extraordinary, but his message connected to everyone in the room. He exceeded my expectations. It was an honor to have Rob address our members.”
Airline Pilots Association International
“Today Robert delivered his speech and it was absolutely outstanding, inspiring, and captivating. I have hardly seen my guys in procurement so quiet and concentrated while Rob was speaking. He is a great individual and his stories need to be told to learn from them in one way or another.”
International Atomic Energy Agency
Rob O’Neill was a pleasure to work with prior to the event, and he provided the IWCE 2013 audience with an inspirational presentation. He was received by a packed house who gave him a standing ovation both before and after his speech. Afterwards, several audience members queued up to thank him personally for his service to our country, and he took the time to speak with each one on an individual level. He provided the perfect opening act for the entire event…
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