Rear Adm. Michael “Buzz” Donnelly is a native of Kent Island, Maryland. He is a 1989 graduate of Villanova University and was commissioned via the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps. He is also a 2002 graduate of the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island.
As a naval flight officer, Donnelly has more than 3,000 flight hours and 990 aircraft carrier landings in the F-14A/B/D Tomcat and F/A-18F Super Hornet. He served as commanding officer for Strike Fighter Squadron 154 (VFA-154) “Black Knights"; the last commanding officer of USS Denver (LPD 9) forward deployed to Sasebo, Japan and as commanding officer of USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) forward-deployed to Yokosuka, Japan. Additionally, he served as special assistant to Commander, U.S. Seventh Fleet, embarked aboard USS Blue Ridge forward-deployed from Yokosuka.
Ashore, Donnelly served both F-14 and F/A-18 Fleet Replacement Squadron instructor tours. He served on the International Military Staff at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, and two tours with the Air Warfare Directorate (N88/N98), OPNAV Staff, Pentagon, as Naval Aviation’s F/A-18 Requirements officer and the second as Aircraft Carrier Requirements branch head.
Donnelly assumed command of U.S. Naval Forces Korea April 25, 2019. He is the 37th commander since establishment of the command July 1, 1957.
In addition to personal awards, Donnelly has served with commands awarded the Battle Efficiency Award as well as the U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard Meritorious Unit Commendations.