Wesley L. McDonald

Wesley L. McDonald

Infobox Military Person
name= Wesley L. McDonald
born 1924

caption= Wesley L. McDonald (United States Navy Photo)
nickname= Wes
allegiance=flag|United States of America
serviceyears= 1946 - 1985
current position=
commands= Attack Squadron VA-56 USS Coral Sea (CV-43) 1970-1971 U.S. Second Fleet U.S. Atlantic Fleet 1982-1985 U.S. Atlantic Command 1982-1985 Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic 1982-1985
battles=Vietnam War
*Operation Pierce Arrow
Invasion of Grenada
awards= Defense Distinguished Service Medal Navy Distinguished Service Medal Legion of Merit Distinguished Flying Cross Bronze Star Air Medal
laterwork= Business Executive/Advisor/Fellow

Wesley L. McDonald (born 1924) is a retired United States Navy four-star admiral and naval aviator.

Early years

McDonald graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1946 and married his high school sweetheart. [http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-1203233.html Norma Joy McDonald Dies] . "The Washington Post", July 26, 1989, retrieved February 15, 2008.] He began his career as a naval aviator in 1950, serving in several carrier fighter and attack squadrons. [http://web.archive.org/web/20040820011927/http://www.aflyer.com/RETIRED.html Cliff Henderson Award Notice] . "Atlantic Flyer", August 20, 2004, retrieved February 4, 2008.] In 1964, McDonald was the skipper of Attack Squadron VA-56 flying A-4 Skyhawks aboard the USS "Ticonderoga". [http://www.pownetwork.org/bios/s/s118.htm Commander of Attack Squadron VA-56] . James Stockdale Biography, retrieved February 14, 2008.] Alvarez, "Chained Eagle", p. 9.] Grossnick, "Dictionary of American Naval Aviation Squadrons, p. 109.] On August 5 1964, he served as a flight leader for Operation Pierce Arrow, the first retaliatory strike against North Vietnam following the Gulf of Tonkin incident. McDonald led his Skyhawk strike force against oil tanks at Vinh, destroying 90% of the facility.Mersky, "US Navy and Marine Corps A-4 Skyhawk Units of the Vietnam War", Chapter 3.]

enior leader

McDonald's career led him to the highest levels of the United States Navy's command structure. He attended the National Defense University's National War College, graduating with the class of 1969. From 1970 to 1971, he commanded the USS "Coral Sea". [http://www.usscoralsea.net/pages/cos.html USS Coral Sea Commanding Officers] . USS Coral Sea Tribute Site, retrieved February 4, 2008.] [http://www.navybuddies.com/cvn/cv43.htm Coral Sea Commander] . Navy Buddies USS Coral Sea page, retrieved February 14, 2008.] In 1972, as a rear admiral, McDonald was assigned as the carrier group commander.Birzer, "US Navy A-7 Corsair II Units of the Vietnam War", p. 73.] He later served as deputy chief of Naval Personnel in Washington, D.C. in 1975. In 1978, as Commander, U.S. Second Fleet, he embarked on the USS "Arthur W. Radford" on the way to NATO exercises in the North Atlantic. [http://www.hazegray.org/danfs/destroy/dd968txt.htm Embarked on USS Authur W. Radford] . Haze Gray & Underway DD-968 page, retrieved February 14, 2008.] In 1982, McDonald was appointed Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic (SACLANT), one of two supreme commanders of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. [NATO, "Senior Officials in the NATO military structure", p. 9, retrieved February 14, 2008.] At the same time, he assumed command of the U.S. Atlantic Command (CINCLANT) and U.S. Atlantic Fleet (CINCLANTFLT). In 1983, McDonald, in his role as CINCLANT, was placed in overall command of Operation Urgent Fury—the invasion of Grenada to rescue U.S. nationals. [http://www.history.navy.mil/faqs/faq95-1.htm Grenada: Operation Urgent Fury FAQ] Naval Historical Center, retrieved February 14, 2008.] Cole, "Operation Urgent Fury Grenada", p. 3.] He later summed up the success of the operation in an address before the House Armed Services Committee.

USS Iowa (BB-61). (USN Photo)] McDonald was the last United States Navy admiral to command all three organizations (Allied Atlantic Command, U.S. Atlantic Command, and U.S. Atlantic Fleet) at the same time. [http://www.history.navy.mil/ar/alfa/atlantic.htm SACLANT Historical Note] Naval Historical Center, retrieved February 4, 2008.] He relinquished command of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet to Admiral Carlisle A.H. Trost, USN, on October 4 1985, and command of the U.S. Atlantic Command and Allied Atlantic Command to Admiral Lee Baggett Jr. in November 1985. [http://www.nato.int/cv/ace-k-p.pdf NATO SACLANT Commanders] NATO web site, retrieved March 28, 2008.]

Later years

Since his retirement from the Navy in 1985, McDonald played an active role in the aviation community in his leadership positions with the National Aeronautic Association (NAA) and the National Aviation Club (NAC). He helped orchestrate a merger of interests between NAA and NAC bringing benefits to both organizations. McDonald has also served on the boards of the U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation, the U.S. Naval Aviation Museum and the Armed Services YMCA. His first wife, Norma, died in 1989. McDonald later remarried and currently lives in Arlington, Virginia with his wife, Helen. He has one son and three daughters.


McDonald's awards include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the Navy Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal, and awards from several European and South American nations. [http://www.stratizon.com/leadership.html#admiral McDonald Biography] . Stratizon Board of Advisors, retrieved February 16, 2008.] In 1990, McDonald was elected Grand Paramount Carabao, leader of the Military Order of the Carabao. [http://www.carabao.org/index.php?/about/past_grand_paramount_carabao/ Past Grand Paramount Carabaos] Military Order of the Carabao, retrieved February 4, 2008] In 2004, McDonald was presented with the National Aeronautic Association's Cliff Henderson award for his 56 years of support to American aviation. [http://web.archive.org/web/20070206132219/http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/currentissue/novdec04/ppp.pdf Awards] . "Naval Aviation News", Nov-Dec 2004, p. 29, retrieved February 13, 2008.] In 2007, the National Aeronautic Association renamed its Elder Statesman of Aviation Award in honor of McDonald, who was a past chairman of the organization. [http://www.naa.aero/html/awards/index.cfm?cmsid=63 Elder Statesman of Aviation Award Renamed to Honor McDonald] . National Aviation Club, retrieved February 7, 2008.] McDonald is a Senior Fellow of the National Defense University.

A number of awards are named in honor of McDonald, including:
*The Admiral Wesley L. McDonald Leadership Award, jointly sponsored by Strike Fighter Wing Pacific, the San Joaquin Valley Squadron of the Association of Naval Aviation (ANA) and the Greater Kings County Navy League. [http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3834/is_200207/ai_n9103824 McDonald Leadership Award] ]
*The Wesley L. McDonald Elder Stateman of Aviation Award, sponsored by the National Aeronautic Association.


ee also


*cite book |last=Alvarez, Jr. |first= Everett |coauthors= Pitch, Anthony S. |title=Chained Eagle: The Heroic Story of the First American Shot Down Over North Vietnam |publisher=Brassey's Inc |year=2005 |isbn=1574885588 |url=http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&id=Iyu0f1wevpMC&dq=chained+eagle&printsec=frontcover&source=web&ots=P2TO3c9w8c&sig=cnIRPmVJiZIjrwqkxrp3g6Qo4oU |format=PDF |accessdate=2008-03-08
*cite book |last=Birzer |first=Norm |coauthors=Mersky, Peter |title=US Navy A-7 Corsair II Units of the Vietnam War |publisher=Osprey Publishing |year=2004 |isbn=184176731X |url=http://www.ospreypublishing.com/title_detail.php/title=S731X |accessdate=2008-03-08
*cite paper
first = Ronald H.
last = Cole
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Operation Urgent Fury Grenada
version =
publisher = Joint History Office
date = 1997
url = http://www.nato.int/cv/ace-k-p.pdf
format = PDF
id =
accessdate = 2008-02-15

*cite book |last=Grossnick |first=Roy A. |coauthors= |title=Dictionary of American Naval Aviation Squadrons, Volume 1 |publisher=Naval Historical Center |year=1995 |isbn=0945274297 |url=http://www.history.navy.mil/avh-vol1/prelim.pdf |format=PDF |chapter=Chapter 2 Attack Squadron Histories for VA-54 to VA-56 |chapterurl=http://www.history.navy.mil/download/va-54-56.pdf |format=PDF
*cite book |last=Mersky |first=Peter |coauthors= |title=US Navy and Marine Corps A-4 Skyhawk Units of the Vietnam War 1963-1973 |publisher=Osprey Publishing |year=2007 |isbn=9781846031816 |url=http://www.ospreypublishing.com/title_detail.php/title=T1818~per=48 |accessdate=2008-03-08
*cite paper
first =
last = North Atlantic Treaty Organization
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Senior officials in the NATO military structure, from 1949 to 2001
version =
publisher =
date = 2000-12-05
url = http://www.nato.int/cv/ace-k-p.pdf
format = PDF
id =
accessdate = 2008-02-14

External links

*cite paper
first = Wesley L.
last = McDonald
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Western Maritime Defences
version =
publisher =
date = 2001
url = http://www.eag.org.uk/modules/articles/article.php?id=73
format =
id =
accessdate = 2008-02-06

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