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SOCOM Deputy Commander Retires After 38 Years of Distinguished Service

by MC1 Destiny Cheek
06 May 2024 Commander, Naval Special Warfare (NSW) Command hosted a retirement ceremony for Vice Adm. Collin Green at Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, May 3, 2024, to celebrate 38 years of service.

Green, a former NSW commander, served as Deputy Commander of United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) for his final assignment.

A 1986 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL Class 149 in 1988, Green embarked on a career defined by pivotal roles and critical missions that spanned the globe, including operations in Europe, Africa, and Asia. His command tours include SEAL Team 3, where he deployed as commander, Naval Special Warfare Task Group - Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom; Naval Special Warfare Unit 3; Naval Special Warfare Group 1, U.S. Special Operations Command South, and Commander, Naval Special Warfare Command.

Acknowledging that leadership is a lifetime journey of learning, Green expressed thanks for his teammates, capturing his commitment to service and the importance of honoring sacrifice.

“I’m so grateful for the great men and women I served with the last 38 years. In particular, those who raised their right hand after 9/11,” Green said. “There’s a tendency to think and lament that prior generations were greater, more committed, and service oriented. I would beg to differ. It’s about service and stepping into the arena despite unknown dangers, wanting to be part of something bigger than self and defending the ideals of this great country and sometimes paying the ultimate sacrifice.

“Please remember to honor and talk about men like Mike Monsoor, Marc Lee, Ryan Job, and Chris Kyle – who I had the honor of serving with. Remember all of the fallen,” Green said. “A nation that forgets it fallen will be itself forgotten.

“I’m also grateful for the great American families that raised these men and women,” Green continued. Who they were and what they represent is a testament to how they were raised, where they came from, and the families they leave behind.”

Rear Adm. Keith Davids, commander, Naval Special Warfare Command, presided over the ceremony that hosted a Medal of Honor recipient, NSW Gold Star family members, a deputy defense secretary, nearly 20 flag and general officers, and countless family, friends, and teammates. Davids explained what Green meant to the NSW community.

“Vice Adm. Green is a trusted friend and esteemed mentor to many. I consider myself to be lucky to be part of that group,” Davids said. “He commanded SEAL Team 3 and NSW Group 1 during the highest period of combat across the Global War on Terrorism. To say he led the community as NSW commander during challenging times would be an understatement.

“He never compromised his values,” Davids added. “He personified our SEAL ethos, demonstrating uncompromising integrity, resilience, and servant leadership.”

One of Green’s mentors, retired Vice. Adm. Sean Pybus, the Chairman of both the Navy SEAL Foundation and the Special Operations Memorial Foundation served as the guest speaker, discussed how Green measured up to the benchmark by which SEAL officers are judged – leadership in combat.

“As commanding officer of SEAL Team 3 in 2006, Collin captained his men through killed in action, wounded in action, and hours-long gunfights in western Iraq,” Pybus said. “All to secure pieces of urban and rural landscape, which at the time were the most dangerous places on earth.

“Those were difficult times, but Collin prepared his men well in training. He built subordinate leaders and a chain of command that was rock-solid,” Pybus added. “He demanded purpose and detail in every CONOPS. His candor and professionalism with senior Army and Marine Corps leadership earned trust and produced work for the Naval Special Warfare team. That deployment has become legendary in SEAL circles. That was Admiral green’s time in the arena, and he excelled.”

Retired FORCM Bill King, who served as Green’s senior enlisted advisor as NSW commander, talked about how command master chiefs (CMC) always hope for a commanding officer they can work with to produce a successful deployment. He shared input from retired CMDCM Marc Presson, Green’s CMC during SEAL Team 3’s kinetic, chaotic and violent 2006 deployment.

“Mark noted that the team knew Collin truly cared about them and their families, and that Collin sensed the deployment was going to be difficult,” King said. “SEAL Team 3 suffered 11 wounded and two killed in action on that deployment. Marc Presson would tell you Collin Green is the best skipper he ever served with.”

King also talked about his experience serving as Green’s force master chief.

“Everybody wants to be the commanding officer when the sailing is smooth and they don’t have to make hard decisions,” King said. “It seems like hard decisions were all we had. Having to navigate these decisions in a way that would protect the people involved, and the process was hard to do. Collin went to the ends of the earth to be fair. What impressed me most is that Collin knew exactly what NSW expected and he never stopped short of that, regardless of what the decision was.”

After thanking his family, friends, mentors, and teammates for their passion and commitment to mission, Green reflected on the twilight of his career – one where he was motivated, inspired, challenged, and excited to go to work because the people to the right, left, and above him had passion and commitment.

“I had that feeling my whole career,” Green said. “Thanks to working with the great men and women of this country, frankly, I didn’t want it to end. They inspired me to be a better teammate, leader, and more importantly – a better person. I was privileged to have a seat at the table in the Navy and Naval Special Warfare.”