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Was Ron Desantis A Navy SEAL?

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Many public figures have backgrounds, and professional histories shrouded in confusion thanks to unreliable information about them. And Ron Desantis is no exception. The confusion is about whether or not he served in the U.S. special force, the Navy SEAL. If the same confusion brought you here, you’re at the right place to find the correct answer. 

So, was Ron Desantis a Navy SEAL?

The simple answer is no! Ron Desantis was not a Navy SEAL. But he did serve in the military, working for the Navy Special Warfare. Currently, Ron Desantis is the Republican governor of Florida, after being elected into power in 2019 and reelected in 2022.

Ron Desantis’s Career in the Military

Ron DeSantis’s military career includes active duty and service in the U.S. Navy as a reservist. And in 2004, he was stationed in the U.S. Naval Reserve Center in Dallas, Texas. He was assigned to the Navy’s Judge Advocate General’s Corps (JAG) while studying at Harvard Law School at the same time. He completed the U.S. Naval Justice School the following year, in 2005. And he got his commands from the Southeast JAG Trial Service Office Command at Naval Station Mayport in Florida. He was a military prosecutor after earning his Juris Doctor (J.D.). He rose through the ranks and became a Lieutenant until he was honorably discharged from active duty in early 2010. 

His work in the Navy Special Warfare

Although Ron Desantis was not a Navy SEAL, he played an advisory role in the SEAL team. In 2007, he was assigned to Navy SEAL Team One at the Naval Special Warfare Command Group in Coronado, California. He took advantage of the military troop surge then and was sent to Iraq as a Legal Advisor to the Navy SEAL Commander, Special Operations Task Force-West. He advised the commander regarding the SEAL mission in Ramadi, Fallujah, and other areas of Al Anbar province. His legal training allowed him to serve as senior legal counsel to Dane Thorleifson, the SEAL team captain. 

In his role, Desantis worked to protect the rights of about 100 detainees in Iraq, ensuring that the detainees were treated with humane conduct. He also monitored various Army Green Berets and Navy SEAL missions within his jurisdiction, ensuring that every action adhered to and followed the tenets of the rule of law. Some of his monitoring functions included making sure every interrogation was in line with the Geneva Conventions and the U.S. military rules. 

According to available military records, Ron Desantis’s duties and responsibilities in Iraq as well as the Arabian Peninsula, covered the following areas: 

  • Foreign internal defense operations
  • Intelligence operations
  • Special reconnaissance
  • Special operations

He exercised the above duties and responsibilities during his service in 2007 and part of 2008. 

So, while Ron DeSantis was not a Navy SEAL himself, he did work for Navy Special Warfare. He was a legal advisor to Dane Thorleifson, SEAL Captain and commander of the Special Operations Task Force-West in Iraq.