Adm. William McRaven, the nation’s top special operator, and Navy spouse Adrienne Howard will join first lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden for tonight’s State of the Union address, the White House announced today.
The invitations honor veteran Navy SEAL McRaven, commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, who as commander of Joint Special Operations Command had operational control of the Obama administration’s signature moment in the war on terror — the May 1, 2011, killing of Osama bin Laden in his Pakistan hideout — on the occasion of the SEALs’ 50th anniversary, being marked this week. It also honors Navy spouses such as Howard — and, by extension, all of those “married to the military.”
McRaven and Howard are among 21 guests who will be seated in the first lady’s box.
McRaven’s story is well known. Howard’s is not.
A native of Lynchburg, Va., Howard currently lives in San Diego, Calif., with her three children. According to the White House, her husband, Cmdr. Colby Howard, commands the destroyer Dewey, currently on deployment.
Like many military spouses, Howard has moved a lot — 14 times during her husband’s career. Their oldest child has attended 9 different schools in that time.
For nearly 20 years, Howard has been heavily involved as a volunteer in family readiness groups and Navy spouse organizations. This past September, after hearing about Joining Forces initiative launched by Michelle Obama and Jill Biden, Howard reached out and urged her local community to “adopt” a single sailor. You can read her story on the White House-affiliated Joining Forces Blog.