Ryan Zinke is a third generation Montanan who graduated from the University of Oregon on an athletic scholarship and graduated with a B.S. in Geology. As a four-year letterman, he received numerous awards to include All-Pacific TEN honors, the Pacific TEN Medal, the University Sahlstrom Award, and the prestigious Emerald Cup for academic, athletic, and leadership excellence.Ryan’s distinguished military career began in 1985 when he graduated from Officer Candidate School and attended SEAL training (class 136). He was then assigned to SEAL Team ONE in Coronado, CA where he led counter-insurgency and contingency operations in the Persian Gulf and the Pacific theater of operations.From 1990-93 and again from 1996-99, he was selected to SEAL TEAM SIX where he was a Team Leader, Ground Force Commander, Task Force Commander and Current Operations Officer in support of National Command Authority missions.He then served as the Special Operations Officer in Europe and led the first exercise between former Soviet Special Forces and NSW forces. His service continued as the SEAL Commander of Joint Task Force TWO in support of Special Operations missions in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia and Kosovo.
In 2004, Ryan was assigned as Deputy and acting Commander (Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force-Arabian Peninsula) in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM where he led a force of over 3,500 Special Operations personnel in Iraq in the conduct of 360 combat patrols, 48 Direct Action missions, and hundreds of sensitive operations. He was responsible for killing or capturing 72 known enemy insurgents and terrorists. In 2006, he was awarded two Bronze Stars for his combat service.
Ryan’s final Naval assignment was establishing the Naval Special Warfare Advanced Training Command where he served as “Dean” of the Naval Special Warfare graduate school. He led a staff of over 250 educators which provided over 43 college level courses to over 2,500 students annually at 15 different locations world-wide. He retired from active duty in 2008 after a distinguished 23 years as a US Navy SEAL.
In 2008, Zinke was elected to the Montana State Senate representing District 2 which includes the cities of Whitefish, Columbia Falls, and the entirety of Glacier National Park. Senator Zinke chaired the Senate Education Committee and served on the Senate Finance and Claims Committee. Significant bills include Workers Compensation reform and increasing flexibility in education options. Often referred to as a “Teddy Roosevelt” Republican, Senator Zinke is an advocate for fiscal sanity, working families, small businesses, conservative values and a reformed education system that actually works.
Senator Zinke is the CEO of two business development firms. He also serves as the Director of the Montana Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Center for Remote Integration, Director of the Montana Firearms Institute (MFI), and is the President and Founder of the Great Northern Veterans Peace Park Foundation. Ryan’s was the Founder and Chairman of Special Operations for America and has since stepped down on October 1, 2013.
Ryan Zinke holds an MBA in Finance and an MS in Global Leadership from the University of San Diego. He is married to the former Lolita Hand and has two young boys, Wolfgang and Konrad, and a daughter Jennifer, who is a former US Navy Diver and is married to a Navy SEAL.
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SEAL’s and other Special Operators have been solving the most complex problems around the world. It is time we start sending them to Washington to fix America.