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Mark L. Donald is a retired United States Navy SEAL, combat medic, and physician assistant who served in the United States military.[1][2] Donald is one of the few American warriors to have earned three high-level combat valor medals for displaying the highest levels of battlefield heroism on more than one occasion. Donald a recipient of the Navy Cross and Silver Star awards in support of Operation Enduring Freedom during the fall of 2003, and the Bronze Star with V device denoting combat heroism for Operation Iraqi Freedom during the spring of 2003[1][3][4] is one of the most decorated heroes of the War on Terror.[5]

Mark L. Donald
A man in a white naval uniform adorned with medals. Behind him is an American flag.
Donald in 2009
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Navy
Years of service1985–2009
RankUS Navy O3 infobox.svg Lieutenant
UnitUnited States Navy SEALs
WarsGlobal War on Terrorism



Donald a 1985 Del Norte High School (New Mexico) graduate,[5] enlisted in the United States Marine Corps at the age 17.[6] He graduated from Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego before completing Amphibious Reconnaissance School, Army Airborne and Navy SCUBA School. Donald was interested in medicine and after learning that the Marines did not have medical training, transferred into the Navy to study medicine and became Navy SEAL corpsman.[1]

Donald graduated from the University of Nebraska with a bachelor of science and a commission as a Medical Service Corps Officer in 1999. He earned a master's degree in physician assistant studies from the University of Nebraska.[3]

In 2003, Donald's convoy came under attack. During the attack, Donald returned fire, attended to the wounded, arranged for medical evacuations, and took command of a disorganized Afghan army squad and ordered it to break the ambush. He continued to provide emergency medical treatment to those and several other troops until medical evacuations were completed.[4][7] Donald was awarded the Navy Cross and Silver Star for his heroic actions in 2003.[3] His military decorations also include the Bronze Star with "V" for combat heroism, the Purple Heart, the Honduran Medal of Merit and various other personal, unit and campaign awards.[8]

Donald wrote about his experience as a combat medic and his struggles with posttraumatic stress disorder in Battle Ready: Memoir of a SEAL Warrior.[9] He is President of JIC Global, a Virginia-based consulting firm specializing in global health, workforce development and cross-cultural outreach strategies.

Prohibited releaseEdit

In 2008, the Navy Times investigated a medical officer who had been secretly awarded a Navy Cross after receiving a redacted version of the award citation. Initially, it was believed to be a case of "stolen valor", but the Navy Times ran the article after a reporter noted that seven service members were cited in Navy records as receiving a Navy Cross but only six were identified.[10] Donald's citation, was not classified; however, his name had been redacted from the Navy Cross as well as the Silver Star he was awarded for each action. In 2008, a spokeswoman for the Navy Secretary Donald C. Winter told the Navy Times that the name had been redacted to protect the individual and their family.[10] Donald agreed to an interview with the Navy Times in 2009 after his name and assignment were leaked. Donald's story is the first known case of "prohibited release" of an award citation.[10]


  1. ^ a b c Joe Donahue (April 8, 2013). "Battle Ready: Memoir of a SEAL Warrior Medic". WAMC Northeast Public Radio. Retrieved October 19, 2015.
  2. ^ "Mark L. Donald, Battle Ready: Memoir of a SEAL Warrior Medic". Pritzker Military Museum & Library. 2014. Retrieved October 19, 2015.
  3. ^ a b c "Hall of valor". Military Times. 2013. Retrieved October 19, 2015.
  4. ^ a b Eric Sof (September 13, 2013). "The Elite Ten: The 10 most highly decorated troops since 9/11". Special Retrieved October 19, 2015.
  5. ^ a b
  6. ^ "Navy SEAL Caps Heroic Career" (PDF). Office of Naval Intelligence. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 4, 2012. Retrieved October 19, 2015. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  7. ^ Justen Charters (2014). "Here are 8 kickass soldiers who were each like a one-man army". Independent Journal Review. Retrieved October 19, 2015.
  8. ^ Webmaster (August 27, 2014). "Mark L. Donald". Exceptional Retrieved October 19, 2015.
  9. ^ Dan Lamothe (June 26, 2014). "Remembering a Marine hero, stolen-valor bulldog and veterans advocate". The Washington Post. Retrieved October 19, 2015.
  10. ^ a b c Andrew Scutro (2008). "Lt. earned a Navy Cross he can't wear". Navy Times. Retrieved October 19, 2015.

External linksEdit