Originally from Norlina, N.C., Adm. Kirkland Donald graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1975 with a bachelor of science in ocean engineering. He also holds a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Phoenix and is a graduate of Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government Senior Executive Fellows Program.
After completing his initial nuclear power and submarine training, he served in USS Batfish (SSN 681), USS Mariano G. Vallejo (SSBN 658), and USS Seahorse (SSN 669).
Donald was Commanding Officer, USS Key West (SSN 722), from October 1990 to February 1993. He served as Commander, Submarine Development Squadron 12 from August 1995 to July 1997. From June 2002 to July 2003, he was assigned as Commander, Submarine Group 8; Commander, Submarine Force 6th Fleet (CTF 69); Commander, Submarines Allied Naval Forces South; and Commander, Fleet Ballistic Missile Submarine Force (CTF 164) in Naples, Italy. Most recently, he served as Commander, Naval Submarine Forces; Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet; Commander, Allied Submarine Command; and Commander, Task Forces 84 and 144 in Norfolk, Va.
His shore assignments include the Pacific Fleet Nuclear Propulsion Examining Board and the staff of the Director, Naval Nuclear Propulsion. He also served at the Bureau of Naval Personnel, on the Joint Staff, and as Deputy Chief of Staff for C4I, Resources, Requirements and Assessments, U.S. Pacific Fleet. In his final assignment, Donald assumed duties as Director, Naval Nuclear Propulsion, on Nov. 5, 2004.
Donald is authorized to wear the Navy Distinguished Service Medal (three awards), Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit with four gold stars, and the Meritorious Service Medal with one gold star, in addition to several other personal and unit awards.
On Nov. 2, 2012, Adm. Donald transferred his duties as Director, Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program to Adm. John M. Richardson. Adm. Donald will be transferred to the retired list effective Jan. 1, 2013.