William (Bill) Reed served in the U.S Navy for more than 40 years, and was the longest-serving active-duty SEAL in the Navy, referred to as the “BULLFROG,” until his retirement in 2005. This designation recognizes the Navy SEAL who – by longevity of service – exemplifies the ethos that all SEALs share: tenacity, endurance, and courage under any degree of hardship, danger or stress.
A native of California, Reed entered the Navy in 1964 serving his first 12 years as an enlisted man during which time he attained the rank of Senior Chief Petty Officer. His initial tour of duty after completing Electronics A-School was as a radar technician aboard USS WADDELL (DDG-24). In 1967, Captain Reed attended Underwater Demolition Team Training, Class 40 (west), and upon graduation that year deployed on his first of three combat tours to Vietnam, first with UDT-12, and then as a member of SEAL Team ONE.
In 1977 Reed was commissioned as a Limited Duty Officer, and served his initial tour of duty in the wardroom as the Naval Tactical Data Systems Officer on board USS WILLIAM V. PRATT (DDG-44). During this tour he qualified as a Surface Warfare Officer, and in 1980 Reed returned to the SEAL community as a Naval Special Warfare unrestricted line officer. Reed had three command tours and served as the Deputy Commander and Chief of Staff of two Flag-level commands. Reed retired at the rank of Captain.
Reed’s assignments over his 40-year career include: UDT Platoon Commander, UDT-11; Officer-in-Charge, Marine Mammals Project; Operations Officer, SEAL Team TWO; Task Unit Commander of the first Marine Expeditionary Unit/Special Operations Capable MARG, Mediterranean deployment; Mission Commander, Special Development Unit, Washington, DC; Commanding Officer, Naval Special Warfare Unit FOUR; NSW Action Officer, Chief of Naval Operations; Operations Officer, Naval Special Warfare Group ONE; Commanding Officer, SEAL Team FIVE; Deputy Commander/Chief of Staff, Special Operations Command, Central Command; Commodore, Special Boat Squadron ONE; Professor of Joint Military Operations, Chair of Special Operations, and Deputy Commander/Chief of Staff, U.S. Naval War College.
Captain Reed holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from San Diego State University and a Masters Degree in National Security and Strategic Studies from the U.S. Naval War College. His personal decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star with Combat Valor Device, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (five awards), Joint Service Commendation Medal, Navy Commendation Medal with Combat Valor Device (two awards), Joint Service Achievement Medal, and Navy Achievement Medal (two awards).