Jocko Willink Biography

Jocko Willink is a decorated retired Navy SEAL officer, author, podcaster, and co-founder of a leadership consulting firm. With two decades of experience in the US Navy SEAL Teams, he rose through the ranks to become a SEAL officer, leading SEAL Team 3’s Task Unit Bruiser in combat against Iraqi insurgents in Ramadi. His military service earned him prestigious awards such as the Silver Star and Bronze Star. After retiring, Willink co-formed Echelon Front, a leadership and management consulting company, and co-authored bestselling books like Extreme Ownership and The Dichotomy of Leadership. He is also known for his podcast, the Jocko Podcast, which is highly popular on iTunes. Additionally, Willink is a jiu-jitsu instructor and co-owner of a company that offers lifestyle, apparel, and fitness products.

Quick Facts

  • Also Known As: John Gretton Willink, Jr.
  • Age: 52 Years, 52 Year Old Males
  • Family: Spouse/Ex-: Helen Willink
  • Born Country: United States
  • Podcasters
  • American Men
  • Height: 5’11” (180 cm), 5’11” Males
  • Ancestry: Dutch American
  • U.S. State: Connecticut
  • Education: University Of San Diego
  • Awards: Silver Star Medal, Bronze Star Medal with Valor


Jocko Willink began his career by undergoing Navy recruit training and Radioman (RM) “A” School training. He then joined the Naval Amphibious Base Coronado for Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training (BUD/S) and completed the SEAL Tactical Training (STT). After a probation period, he became a Combatant Swimmer (SEAL) with the NEC 5326.

As an enlisted Navy SEAL, Willink served for eight years with SEAL Team ONE and SEAL Team TWO. He was part of the SEAL team that caught the Russian Tanker carrying Iraqi oil in the Gulf of Oman, despite the U.N. economic embargo.

Willink later received his commission via Officer Candidate School and became a platoon commander. He traveled to various regions including Asia, the Middle East, and Europe for his work.

In 2006, as the commander of SEAL Team Three’s Task Unit Bruiser, Willink coordinated SEAL operations against Iraqi insurgents in the city of Ramadi to establish peace and stability. His unit became the most highly decorated Special Operations Unit of the Iraq War.

After serving in Iraq, Willink assumed the duties of Officer-in-Charge of training for all West Coast SEAL Teams. In this position, he led the training of the next generation of SEAL leaders.

After two decades of service, Willink retired from the Navy in October 2010. Throughout his career, he earned several awards including the Silver Star Medal, Bronze Star Medal with Valor, and Meritorious Service Medal.


After retiring, Willink co-founded Echelon Front, a leadership and management consulting company, with fellow SEAL officer Leif Babin. Through Echelon Front, he provides training on the leadership principles he learned on the battlefield to help others lead and win. Echelon Front’s clients include individuals, teams, and companies from various industries.

Willink and Babin also co-authored the book “Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy Seals Lead and Win” in 2015. The book shares combat stories from their time as Navy SEALs and provides lessons for business and life. It became a New York Times bestseller.

In the following years, Willink wrote or co-wrote several other bestselling books, including “Discipline Equals Freedom: Field Manual” (2017), “The Dichotomy of Leadership: Balancing the Challenges of Extreme Ownership to Lead and Win” (2018, with Leif Babin), “Leadership Strategy and Tactics: Field Manual” (2020), and “The Code. The Evaluation. The Protocols: Striving to Become an Eminently Qualified Human” (2020, with Dave Berke and Sarah Armstrong). He has also authored children’s books.

To promote his first book, Willink appeared on popular podcasts such as Tim Ferriss, Joe Rogan, and Sam Harris. Inspired by these experiences, he started his own podcast called the Jocko Podcast. The podcast, co-hosted by Echo Charles, discusses discipline and leadership in various aspects of life and has become one of the top-ranking podcasts with millions of downloads.

In addition to his consulting work, writing, and podcasting, Willink is also the co-owner of Origin USA, a company that manufactures and sells products in the lifestyle apparel, nutrition supplements, and fitness equipment categories. He is also a jiu-jitsu instructor at Victory MMA & Fitness in San Diego, California.

Family & Personal Life

Jocko Willink was born on September 8, 1971, in Torrington, Connecticut, U.S. He grew up in a New England town where his father worked as a school teacher. As a child, he had a rebellious nature and joined the military to channel his headstrong personality.

Willink is married to Helen Louise Willink, a former flight attendant whom he met while stationed in Bahrain. They got married in 1997 and have four children together – three daughters and a son. Willink is also a black belt in Jiu-jitsu.

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