About Rear Admiral Ray C Smith Bio

Military Experience Rear Admiral Ray C Smith Bio

Admiral Smith’s 39 year Naval career began with him joining the Navy as an enlisted man, however, within a year he had been awarded an appointment to the U. S. Naval Academy-Annapolis, from which he graduated in 1967, and was commissioned an Ensign.

After serving two years on a destroyer, he volunteered to enter the Navy’s elite special operations unit, the SEALS.  Upon completing this rigorous course, which had a then-failure rate of 80% due to extreme physical and psychological requirements, he was deployed to Vietnam where he led an Underwater Demolition Platoon in combat, for which he received the Bronze Star and the Navy Commendation Medal, both with the combat V (Valor).

Selected to attend the Navy Post Graduate School, Adm. Smith graduated in 1974 with a M.S. degree in Physical Oceanography, then served as operations Officer and Executive Officer of SEAL Team 12, followed by an assignment in Washington as SEAL weapons and diving systems Acquisition Manager. (NOTE:  the classified nature of  SEAL Special Ops. precludes presenting details of many of his assignments)

During his next assignment as Director of SEAL Training, Adm. Smith led a staff of instructors which obtained a graduation rate of 55%, the highest in SEAL history.  His next assignment, as a staff officer at DOD, was in planning for Assist. Sect’y. Armitage and Sect’y. of Defense Weinberger, and involved numerous international trips.   Following Command and Chief of Staff positions, he was appointed Commander of 900 SEALS doing operations in both the middle east, and the Pacific region.

In Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, he led 350 SEALS/support personnel which conducted 270 successful special operations combat missions, while incurring no fatalities, for which they were awarded the Navy Unit Commendation Medal.

Following his post as a strategic advisor to the Chief of Naval Operations, he was promoted to Admiral, and assigned as Commander of all 5,000 SEALS and staff, for four years, the longest tenure at that position in Navy history.

Adm. Smith became the Director of Resources of U.S. Special Operations Command, then served as Deputy Command in Chief of the Unified Special Ops. Command, leading 47,000  special Ops. forces from all service branches.  His last active duty post was to lead 100 systems analysts in a hard-analysis of the Navy’s $100 billion budget, which resulted in recommending potential budget savings of over $36 billion to the CNO.


  • BS., U. S. Naval Academy, 1967
  • MS., Naval Postgraduate School, 1974
  • Physical Oceanography

Civilian Experience

Since retiring, Admiral Smith has been active nationally as a public speaker, (Leadership, Team Building, Mentoring, Strategic Planning) and as a consultant/special advisor to a variety of public corporations, private and charitable organizations, law enforcement agencies, government organizations  and multi-service military units, as well as being on the Board of Directors of public corporations.