A native of Great Bend, Kansas, Rear Adm. Greg Slavonic was raised in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science from Oklahoma State University and then enlisted in the Navy. After completing boot camp and Signalman "A" school he received orders to the aircraft carrier USS Constellation (CVA 64) and completed two western Pacific deployments in support of combat operations in Vietnam. In 1976, he earned a master’s degree from the University of Central Oklahoma.
In November 1990, Slavonic was deployed to Southeast Asia to support Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm and assigned to General H. Norman Schwarzkopf, commander, U.S. Central Command. He was assigned to the Joint Information Bureau (JIB) in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. He served as the chief of the Navy’s New Desk and the senior combat correspondent pool (CCP) officer. The CCP assignment included embarking with a media pool aboard the USS Tripoli (LPH 10) when the ship struck an underwater tethered mine causing extensive flooding to the forward third of the ship, almost sinking her.
In his 34 year career, Slavonic served in many leadership roles including four command tours. On one command tour was honored as a recipient of the Rear Adm. Robert Ravitz Award for public affairs excellence. He led two Joint U.S. Military Assistance Teams to Manila, advising the Armed Forces of Philippines on effective use of strategic communications operations against the Islamic terrorist group Abu Sayyaf. In addition, Slavonic lead public affairs team which coordinated and executed the media coverage for commissioning ceremony of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) and for movie premiere “Pearl Harbor” aboard the USS Stennis (CVN 74).
Slavonic was the Navy’s sixth special assistant to the chief of information in Washington, D.C., and director of public affairs (Reserve) from June 2001 to 2005. In this dual role, he served as principal advisor to the chief of information responsible for all aspects of the Navy’s Public Affairs Program. He established and maintained professional working relationships with Navy Secretariat offices, other Department of Defense commands and activities within the Pentagon and in the Washington Capitol Region. In addition, he was responsible for the training and readiness of more than 500 public affairs specialists assigned to 26 different units across the United States.
In June 2004, Slavonic was mobilized to support Operation Enduring Freedom II, Baghdad, Iraq. He was assigned to the newly formed Multinational Force-Iraq (MNF-I) staff and served as the director of strategic communications and public affairs for Commanding General. He was the first U.S. Navy flag officer assigned to MNF-I and directed the daily operations for Combined Press Information Center (CPIC). During his deployment he also organized and directed the media pool for the first court appearance and arraignment of Saddam Hussein and eleven other high ranking Iraqi officials. In addition, worked closely with U.S. State Department to resolve many sensitive international issues at the historical biblical site of Babylon.
His military awards include the Legion of Merit Medal, Bronze Star Medal (two awards), Meritorious Service Medal (three awards) Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (two awards), Combat Action Ribbon, Presidential Unit Citation and numerous other campaign and service medals.
During his civilian career he held many media management positions. He served as co-chair and led the effort to design, build and raise $1.1 million dollars for the USS Oklahoma Memorial at Pearl Harbor. Slavonic was formerly the chief of staff for U.S. Senator James Lankford (OK-R) and on June 11, 2018 was sworn in as the 19th assistant secretary of the Navy for Manpower and Reserve Affairs.