United States Navy
— Director, Naval Propulsion Program —
A native of Norlina, North Carolina and son of Howard A. Donald and Doris Donald.
Kirk Donald joined the United States Navy on June 30, 1971 as a midshipman of the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. He graduated in 1975 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Ocean Engineering and volunteered for service in the Submarine Force. He made numerous deployments in the Atlantic and Arctic Ocean from 1977 to 1987 on submarines USS Batfish
(SSN 681) USS Mariano G. Vallejo
(SSBN 658), and USS Seahorse
(SSN 669) in support of the nation's effort in the Cold War. Kirk commanded USS Key West
(SSN 722) from 1990 to 1993 and Submarine Development Squadron 12 from 1995 to 1997. He was promoted to flag rank in 1999 and later commanded Submarine Eight in Naples, Italy leading Mediterranean Sea operations for the United States and allied submarines in Operation Iraqi Freedom. In September 2003, at the rank of Vice Admiral, Kirk Donald assumed command of United States Naval Submarine Forces and North Atlantic Treaty Organization submarine operations in the Western Atlantic. He held that position until he was selected for four star rank and assigned in November 2004 as the Director, Naval Reactors, a joint Department of the Navy an d Department of Energy program responsible for the safe and effective operation of all nuclear propulsion plants on Navy submarines and aircraft carriers. Admiral Donald has received several military awards including the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit and the Meritorious Service Medal. Additionally, he proudly served in numerous ships and staffs that were awarded recognition such as the Navy Unit Commendation and Meritorious Unit Commendation for outstanding team performance. Admiral Donald earned a Master's Degree Business Administration from the University of Phoenix and is a graduate of Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government Senior Executive Fellows Program. Kirk, his wife Diane, and daughter Ashley lived in numerous locations during their time as a Navy family including seven different states, the District of Columbia, and Italy. Honoring Navy tradition, they embraced each community as their home, establishing lifelong friendships and supporting other Navy families throughout the world.