Robert O'Neill

Former SEAL Team Six Leader, Naval Special Warfare Development Group, and New York Times Best-Selling Author
  • One of the nation’s most-decorated veterans who lives by the mantra “Never quit”
  • Faced several of the most high-profile and difficult war missions of our time
  • Gripping stories from his more than 400 combat missions across four theaters of war

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Robert O’Neill is one of the most highly-decorated combat veterans of our time and the author of The New York Times best-selling memoir, The Operator: Firing the Shots That Killed Osama bin Laden and My Years as a SEAL Team Warrior. A former SEAL Team Six leader with the Naval Special Warfare Development Group, he deployed more than a dozen times and 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 the world of high-pressure Navy SEAL missions, instant, critical decision-making is a necessity for success. 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.’ Exclusively represented by Leading Authorities, Inc. speakers bureau, his mantra is “Never quit,” and he believes this is the single most important factor in determining success. 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 two Navy/Marine Corps Commendations 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 US 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 1,000 jumps.

Since leaving active duty, O’Neill is a co-founder of Your Grateful Nation, which provides individualized transition support for Special Operations heroes and their families. They provide executive-level mentoring, transition services, and family stabilization support.  

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Speaker Video

"The Operator" by Robert O'Neill

Talks At Google

Rob O'Neill: Never Quit

Storyteller Series: Rob O'Neill

Never Quit: The Story Of A Life Built On Successful Missions. Robert O’Neill served America as a Navy SEAL, team leader, and senior chief petty officer with the Naval Special Development Group (SEAL Team Six) during several of the most challenging, storied, and clandestine military operations of our time. With this 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, Robert brings to life lessons learned during some of the country’s most headline-stealing conflicts. O’Neill explains to audiences 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 wives, and family men and women—who they know exist but have never met, and 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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The Operator

The Operator