Was Ron DeSantis a Navy SEAL? Florida governor served in Iraq and worked at Guantanamo Bay

Was Ron DeSantis a Navy SEAL? Florida governor served in Iraq and worked at Guantanamo Bay
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during a press conference held at the Broward County Courthouse on August 18, 2022 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

There is conflicting information on Ron DeSantis, Florida's 46th governor, and whether or not he was a member of the Navy SEALs after all. He most definitely was not. Having said that, DeSantis did enlist in the military and did collaborate closely with the Navy SEALs in Iraq in 2007. 

According to Sofmag, DeSantis, a native Floridian, graduated with honors from Yale University and Harvard Law School. He obtained a JAG officer commission in the US Navy while a student at Harvard. He assisted activities in the terrorist detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, while he was on active duty. He also went to Iraq to support the SEAL campaign in Fallujah, Ramadi, and the remainder of the Al Anbar area. He served as an adviser to a US Navy SEAL commander. 



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On talking about his deployment to Iraq, DeSantis said, “When I served in Iraq in 2007, I saw firsthand just how nefarious and pervasive the Iranian influence in Iraq was,” he wrote on Facebook. “The Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps wreaks havoc across the Middle East and its Quds Force is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American soldiers in Iraq.” According to his former commander, DeSantis was in charge of ensuring that special operations missions in the Western Euphrates River Valley adhered to the law and that captives were treated humanely. Former Navy Capt. Dane Thorleifson, who oversaw the SEAL Task Force West in Fallujah, said in an interview “It was a pretty complex time, with Iraqi sovereignty starting to take hold.”

DeSantis was transferred to the Naval Region Southeast Legal Service after his return to the United States in April 2008. He was appointed by the US Department of Justice to work as a Special Assistant US Attorney in the Middle District of Florida. Until his honorable release from active military service in February 2010, DeSantis served as a trial defense attorney. In addition, he received a reserve rank as a lieutenant in the US Navy Reserve's Judge Advocate General's Corps.

Further, he has received several medals for his service, including the Iraq Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal. DeSantis is still active in the US Navy Reserve as of 2022. After his active duty service, DeSantis became federal prosecutor for child offenders. In 2012, he was elected into Congress.


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