David L. McDonald
David L. McDonald
|Born||September 12, 1906|
Maysville, Georgia, US
|Died||December 16, 1997 (aged 91)|
Jacksonville Beach, Florida, US
|Service/||United States Navy|
|Years of service||1928–1967|
|Commands held||Chief of Naval Operations|
United States Sixth Fleet
USS Coral Sea
|Battles/wars||World War II|
|Awards||Navy Distinguished Service Medal (2)|
Legion of Merit
Bronze Star Medal
Navy Commendation Medal
David Lamar McDonald (September 12, 1906 – December 16, 1997) was an admiral in the United States Navy, who served as the 17th Chief of Naval Operations from 1 August 1963 to 1 August 1967 during the Vietnam War era.
Early life and education
McDonald was born in Maysville, Georgia, on September 12, 1906. He originally sought to go to the United States Military Academy, receiving a nomination from Representative Thomas Montgomery Bell of the 9th Congressional District. After learning he was 2 months and 12 days too young, he opted to attend Riverside Military Academy first, then entered the United States Naval Academy, graduating in 1928.
Before becoming a naval aviator, McDonald was assigned to the battleship USS Mississippi and the battleship USS Colorado. He spent three years, from 1935 to 1938, as a flight instructor at Naval Air Station Pensacola in Pensacola, Florida. Between 1938 and 1955, he served as flag secretary of the aircraft command of the United States Atlantic Fleet, commander of the Naval Operational Training Command, executive officer of the aircraft carrier USS Essex in the Pacific and assistant chief of staff for operations of the United States Pacific Fleet.
During the mid-1950s, McDonald commanded the aircraft carrier USS Coral Sea. In the early 1960s, before becoming Chief of Naval Operations, he served as Commander, United States Sixth Fleet. At the time of his selection as Chief of Naval Operations, he was the youngest full admiral in the navy, and had only received his fourth star a month prior.
In 1976, nearly a decade after he retired, McDonald wrote in his autobiography of his participation in the escalation of the Vietnam War:
Maybe we military men were all weak. Maybe we should have stood up and pounded the table... I was part of it and I'm sort of ashamed of myself too. At times I wonder, "why did I go along with this stuff?"
The airfield at Naval Station Mayport, Florida, is named after McDonald.
- Navy Distinguished Service Medal with gold star
- Legion of Merit
- Bronze Star Medal with "V" device
- Navy Commendation Medal with "V" device and gold star
- Presidential Unit Citation with bronze star
- American Defense Service Medal with "A" device
- American Campaign Medal
- Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with one silver and one bronze star
- World War II Victory Medal
- Navy Occupation Medal
- National Defense Service Medal with star
- Philippine Liberation Medal with two stars
- "New Navy Chief Recalls His Boyhood in Georgia, Atlanta Constitution Journal, June 1, 1963". Archived from the original on May 9, 2008. Retrieved March 18, 2008.
- David Lamar McDonald, 91, Former Senior Naval Officer, New York Times, December 23, 1997
- The Reminiscences of Admiral David Lamar McDonald, U.S. Navy (Retired)