"The Operator" by Robert O'Neill
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 the Special Operators Transition Foundation, which provides individualized transition support for Special Operations heroes and their families. They provide executive-level mentoring, transition services, and family stabilization support. He is also the co-author, alongside Dakota Meyer, of The Way Forward: Master Life’s Toughest Battles and Create Your Lasting Legacy – an in-depth, fearless, and ultimately redemptive account of what it takes to survive and thrive on battlefields from Afghanistan and Iraq to our daily lives, and how the perils of war help us hold onto our humanity.
Operating in Stressful Environments. From SEAL training to actual combat, Rob shares how he and his team had to remain calm and take everything day by day, task by task, even in the most stressful of environments. He explains how continuing to do the difficult achieves long-term goals and how little victories add up to the mantra of “Never Quit.” Audiences will walk away with the understanding that bravery isn’t the absence of fear, it is the recognition and decision to push forward anyway.
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.
In the almost 20 years I’ve been coordinating meetings and selecting speakers, I’ve never had a more popular, relevant and well-received speaker as Rob. He entertained. Inspired. Humbled and left us all wanting more. In fact, in the debrief forms I’ve received thus far from attendees, Rob is cited as the favorite part of this meeting and for our tenured employees ANY meeting. I believe that you and your team helped make Rob great. The entire process was a pleasure. Very straight-forward and organized with clear communication and expectations
Rob was absolutely perfect amazing inspiring best ever. He was undeniably the highlight of our meeting, many many people commented he was the best speaker they had ever heard. His message resonated perfectly with our team – our VP/GM wants to find a way to continue to incorporate Rob’s lessons and sayings, and to leverage the momentum he created. At the end, one of our people stood and said 'I lost my brother in 9/11, and I never thought I’d have this opportunity to thank you.' I still, and probably always will, along with everyone else in the room, goose bump and tear up remembering that. When someone gets a huge standing ovation before they even start speaking, you know it’s going to be a once in a lifetime experience, and it was.
Robert did an excellent job and was just awesome. Our attendees LOVED him and gave him two standing rounds. Of course, our group are farmers/ranchers and are very supportive of the military. His message on leadership and how to persevere was also awesome and he does a great job of presenting. He answered questions and everyone loved him.
Highly recommend. Of course, now the bar is set for next year!!!
For the record, Rob was a huge hit at our party. Everybody really enjoyed his speech, and he was very generous with his time after he finished speaking. He talked to everybody, posed for pictures, had dinner with us, drinks afterwards, etc.
Rob did an exceptional job! Great presentation and message. He interacted with our employees extremely well. The photo session was great and he spent quite a bit of time with us in the private event. Great guy. If you did not know who he was, he'd be a guy you'd want as a friend!
Just wanted to touch base with you on Rob O’Neill. He was beyond amazing. We’ve never had a keynote who has been given a standing ovation. His presentation was interesting, funny, engaging…I could go on and on. Our CFO, who is rarely happy with anything, was blown away by his presentation and said he’s never heard a speaker as good as Rob and that he could have listened to him for hours. In addition, Rob could not have been more gracious or engaging to our staff and attendees. I only wish that I could have spent some time talking to him because I am also from Montana but I wanted to make sure our attendees had access to him. Can you please let him know what a huge hit he was, how excited we are that he was a part of NextLevel and tell him Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
Rob O’Neil walked in like 'they guy next door' and left a Rock Star. In the 19 years I have been doing this, no one has ever gotten a standing ovation. It took me 40 minutes to get him out the door because so many people want to get their picture taken with him and shake his hand. Frankly, I have never witness our group reacting this way. Several people stated to me that he was our 'best speaker ever!' That is very high praise indeed.