February Speaker Series: Captain 'O.W.' Wright

  • 08 Feb 2017
  • 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM
  • Headliners Club


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Long before you were in the womb, Captain ‘O.W.’ Wardell C. Wright was hard at work building America. From earning countless accolades for his heroics in Vietnam, to topping the Navy SEAL totem pole, to personally advising Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush; O.W. Wright is a treasure trove of U.S. Military and counterterrorism knowledge and has walked the walk to KEEP America great. 

Join your YMBL brethren for lunch at the Headliners Club on Wednesday, Feb. 8th to regale in Captain Wright's message of perseverance and stories of American bravery. 

Bio and Credentials:

Captain Wardell C. Wright, Sr. (Retired) … ‘O.W.’ is a native Texan. Captain Wright retired from the U.S. Navy on November 1, 2003 having completed just over 38 years of active duty; he then retired for a second time from government service on December 31, 2015 following an additional 12+ years which gave him just over 50 years working for the U.S. Navy. The following highlights his career:

  • Enlisted on 13 September 1965 from San Antonio, Texas
  • Operational/Combat duty with the Mobile Riverine Force in South Vietnam from 1966-1970.  Served on River Patrol Boats (PBR’s) and as an advisor with the South Vietnam Navy.
  • Operational duty afloat and overseas from 1970-1976.
  • Linguist working in the Vietnamese Refugee Camps in Guam, Apr 1975-Nov 1975
  • Commissioned an Ensign direct from Enlisted Status on 2 April 1976.  

Operational Assignments as an Officer:

  • Officer in Charge of Super Typhoon Pamela Recovery Operations, Guam Apr 1976
  • Four Operational Department Head Tours at sea onboard the Staff, Amphibious Squadron Five, the Carrier USS Midway, the Battleship USS Iowa and the Nuclear Carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt

Significant Assignments Ashore:

  • Special Assistant to the Pacific Commander
  • Special Assistant to the Commander, Naval Forces Marianas (personally working with the government of Guam)
  • Special Assistant to the Chairman, Joint Chief’s of Staff (personally responsible for a highly classified project where he personally briefed and advised President Ronald Reagan)
  • Commanding Officer, Personnel Support Activity, Pacific Northwest/Hawaii 
  • Navy Liaison Officer working at the White House for President George H.W. Bush and President William J. Clinton
  • Aide and Executive Officer for the Commander and Deputy Commander, U.S. Atlantic Fleet
  • Commanding Officer, Naval Amphibious Base, Little Creek, Virginia (the largest Amphibious Base in the World)
  • Officer in Charge of the Investigation on the terrorist attack of the USS Cole
  • Commanding Officer, Recruit Training Center, Great Lakes, Illinois (the U.S. Navy’s only boot camp and the largest training command in the U.S. Navy)

Civilian Position:

  • Deputy to the Commander U.S. Fleet Forces for Fleet Antiterrorism

Significant Awards:

  • The second recipient of the UDT/SEAL Association Medal in the 53 year history of UDT/SEALS.
  • Recipient of a Congressional Resolution commending his performance of duty in Vietnam and on the island of Guam during Refugee Operations and Super Typhoon Pamela Recovery Operations
  • Three Legion of Merits
  • Vietnam Cross of Gallantry
  • Numerous U.S. and foreign country awards


  • San Diego State University, Joint Forces Staff College, Navy War College


  • Surface Warfare Qualified, Surface Warfare Combatant Craft Qualified (Small Boats including PBR’s), Combat Parachute Qualified (Skydiving), Dive 
  • Qualified, Commander Command and Major Command Qualified


  • Married to Dian (Doni) Nelson Wright for over 45 years; four children, five grandchildren, one great grandchild
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