Rear Admiral Donegan is a 1980 Cum Laude graduate of the University of Virginia where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Aerospace Engineering.
His first operational assignment was as a plank owner to Strike Fighter Squadron 131 where he made the first East coast deployment of the F/A-18 culminating in the successful Libyan air strikes in April 1986. He served as a department head in Strike Fighter Squadron 37 earning the Strike Fighter Wing’s Longhart Leadership Award. He also served as executive officer on USS George Washington (CVN 73) when the ship garnered the Battle E, the Admiral Flatley Safety Award and the Battenberg Cup.
Donegan commanded Strike Fighter Squadron 131 completing a deployment to the Persian Gulf and the 3rd Fleet command ship, USS Coronado (AGF 11), earning three command excellence awards. He also commanded the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) on a combat deployment earning the Battle E. He spearheaded Naval Aviation Enterprise’s Carrier Readiness Team, and was honored as the Tailhook Association’s Tailhooker of the Year for 2006. He also commanded Battle Force 7th Fleet and Carrier Strike Group 5 aboard USS George Washington, homeported in Japan.
Ashore, Rear Admiral Donegan’s most recent joint assignment was director of operations for United States Central Command. He served at the Pentagon as director of the Navy Quadrennial Defense Review, director of Strategy and Policy Division on the Navy staff, director of Warfare Integration, and as the aide/administrative assistant to the deputy chief of Naval operations for Plans, Policy and Operations. He completed joint duty as flag lieutenant to the commander, Allied Forces Southern Europe in Naples, Italy. During that tour he deployed to Sarajevo as the NATO liaison officer to the commander, United Nations Protection Forces serving as the principal air advisor during NATO’s Deliberate Force air strikes.
He currently serves as acting deputy chief of Naval Operations for Operations, Plans, and Strategy.
Donegan graduated the U.S. Navy Test Pilot School as the Outstanding Student, the Navy Fighter Weapons School (TOPGUN), the Navy Nuclear Power School, the USAF Air Command and Staff College, the Joint Forces Staff College and completed Harvard Kennedy School’s Executive Education Program in National and International Security.
His personal awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, five Legions of Merit, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, four Meritorious Service Medals, the Air Medal, two Navy Commendation Medals, two Navy Achievement Medals and multiple unit, service, and campaign awards. His flying experience includes over 3,800 hours in 31 different types of aircraft and over 800 arrested landings on 15 different aircraft carriers.