Commander Ryan Zinke receives “extraordinary hero” honors

Montana State Senator Ryan Zinke received “extraordinary hero” honors at the National Association of Electrical Distributors annual conference hosted by Robroy Industries in Washington DC on April 26.

Zinke shared the honors with fellow SEALs Coleman Ruiz and Jim Smith along with founder of the American Widow Project Taryn Davis. Zinke, a retired veteran with 23 years of distinguished service, is perhaps best known for being a Commander at the elite SEAL Team SIX. 

Roger Staubach, the former Naval Academy graduate and Dallas Cowboy Hall of Fame quarterback, helped in his honors selection. David Marshall, President and COO of Robroy Industries, paid tribute to the heros by saying

“we are deeply humbled by what you have done for this country and the sacrifices you have made for freedom.  Through determination, perseverance, positive attitude, and dedication to serving and protecting-you have achieved the extraordinary.”

Senator Ryan Zinke is a third generation Montanan and was a multiple sport All-State standout and a Whitefish High School Football Hall of Fame inductee. After serving as three time class president, Zinke attended the University of Oregon on an athletic scholarship and graduated with a B.S. in Geology.

Ryan’s distinguished military career began in 1985 when he graduated from Officer Candidate School and attended SEAL training. 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, and served 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 3500 Special Operations personnel in Iraq in the conduct of 360 combat patrols, 48 Direct Action missions, and hundreds of sensitive operations.

In 2006, he was awarded two Bronze Stars for combat. 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 with a staff of over 250 educators which provided over 43 college level courses to over 2500 students annually at 15 different locations worldwide. He retired from active duty 2008 after serving 23 years as a US Navy SEAL.

In 2008, Senator Zinke was elected to the Montana State Senate and chairs the Senate Education Committee and serves on the Senate Finance and Claims Committee.

Senator Zinke is CEO of two business development firms that specialize in advanced technology.

Ryan is married to the former Lolita Hand and has two sons and a daughter.


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