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Donald L. McFaul
US Navy SEAL and Navy Cross recipient
Born (1957-09-20)September 20, 1957
Died December 20, 1989(1989-12-20) (aged 32)
Place of birth Orange County, California
Place of death KIA, Paitilla Airfield, Panama
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Navy
Years of service June 26, 1975–1985
Rank Chief Engineman
Unit Sea-Air-Land Team 4 (SEAL-4), Golf Platoon, Naval Special Warfare Task Unit PAPA
Battles/wars Operation Just Cause
Awards Navy Cross
Purple Heart
Navy Achievement Medal with Gold Star
Combat Action Ribbon
Navy Unit Commendation
Good Conduct Medal with Bronze Star

Donald Lewis McFaul (20 September 1957 – 20 December 1989) was a United States Navy SEAL killed in action at Paitilla Airfield during Operation Just Cause, the 1989 United States invasion of Panama. He was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart and Navy Cross for his heroism during the battle while pulling another SEAL to safety. Only two Navy Crosses were awarded for the 1989 operations in Panama. The Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS McFaul (DDG-74) was named to honor him.

Biography[edit | edit source]

Attended high school in Bend, Oregon, graduating in 1975 with a 3.47 GPA ranking 64 of 399 in his class.[1] He enlisted in the United States Navy on June 26, 1975[2] and was initially assigned to Naval Station Treasure Island working for port services as an engine specialist. McFaul volunteered for Special Warfare and was accepted in 1977. In spring of 1978 he attended Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training (BUD/S). He was then assigned to SEAL Team One following his graduation from BUD/S and did three tours of duty conducting special operations from U.S. Naval Base Subic Bay. He left the navy from 1985 to 1988 living and working in the Seattle and Kodiak, Alaska areas. He returned to the Navy in 1988, attending a Spanish language course at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California. There he met his wife, Patricia. They were married February 1988 and he was assigned to SEAL Team 4 based in Little Creek, Virginia. In December 1989 he deployed to Panama as part of SEAL Team 4.[3] He was killed during the capture of Paitilla Airfield, Panama City, Panama in the early morning hours of December 20, 1989. According to his Navy Cross citation, he left a position of safety to assist team members under heavy enemy fire. He then carried another team member to safety, but was mortally wounded in the process. His actions saved that team member and were said to inspire other heroic acts that led to the capture of the objective.[4]

Patricia, his wife of less than two years gave birth to his daughter Megan six days after his funeral.[5]

Decorations[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. The Oregonian (Portland, Oregon). Bend High Graduate Dies in Panama Battle. December 22, 1989.
  2. Associated Press. Pentagon Releases Names of Dead. December 26, 1989.
  3. USS McFaul. Ships bio.
  4. Home of the Heroes. Full Text Citations For Award of The Navy Cross In Vietnam Era and Post-Vietnam War Actions.
  5. The New York Times. January 8, 1990. The U.S. and Panama: The Toll; Deaths of 23 Americans in Panama: Their Dreams Cut Short.

External links[edit | edit source]

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