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Socom commander McRaven to retire

The man with the plan to kill Osama bin Laden is hanging up his trident.

Adm. William McRaven, a Navy SEAL and the commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, has had his request for retirement approved after a 37-year career, according to Socom spokesman Ken McGraw.

Any date is dependent on the Senate approval of McRaven’s replacement

Last week, the Pentagon announced that McRaven, who has run the MacDill Air Force-headquartered command since Aug. 8, 2011, will be replaced.

Army Lt. Gen. Joseph Votel, 56, commander of the Joint Special Operations Command, was nominated by President Barack Obama to replace him.

The Senate Armed Services Committee will hold a confirmation hearing on Votel July 10, according to Ryan Brown, a spokesman for Sen. Bill Nelson, a committee member.

McRaven’s retirement is tentatively scheduled for late August, said Stu Bradin, a recently retired Army colonel who worked directly for McRaven with the operational planning team for Socom’s global special operations forces network. Joe Maguire, a retired Navy SEAL vice admiral and close McRaven friend, agreed that timeframe is likely for both a retirement and change of command, especially given that Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has approved McRaven’s retirement request and Votel has a confirmation hearing date already scheduled.

Votel, said Maguire, should have no trouble being confirmed.

McGraw could not confirm a retirement date.

“Bill has 37 years of active duty and has been involved in this campaign the entire time,” Maguire, who now runs the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, a Tampa-based charitable organization which provides scholarships to the children of fallen commandos and assistance to the wounded, said in an interview last week.

McRaven, 58, was a rising star when America was attacked.

He was so well regarded that he was “handpicked” by Wayne Downing, a former Socom commander who was deputy national security advisor to George Bush, to join the National Security Counsel in the White House, said Maguire.

McRaven was originally scheduled to go to the office of the Chief of Naval Operations, but the 9/11 attacks changed that, said Maguire.

“He showed up at the White House, spent two to three years there as staff officer doing counterterrorism on the NSC,” said Maguire. “That is a grind. A bear.”

McRaven went from there to deputy commander of JSOC, served as commander of Special Operations Command Europe and later became commander of JSOC, where he devised the May 2, 2011 raid called Operation Neptune Spear that led to bin Laden being killed by SEALs in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad.

He became the ninth Socom commander on Aug. 8, 2011.

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