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Commander Tommy McDonald

Commander McDonald is a native of Breezy Point, Queens, New York. He graduated from the United States Merchant Marine Academy in 2005 where he received his commission and a bachelor’s degree in Marine Systems Engineering.  He was designated a Naval Aviator in May 2007. 
CDR McDonald’s sea duty assignments began as an aviator with the “Proud Warriors” of Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light FOUR TWO (HSL-42) where he deployed aboard USS ROOSEVELT (DDG-80), and USS DOYLE (FFG-39).  Later he was assigned as Catapult and Arresting Gear Officer “Shooter” embarked on USS HARRY S TRUMAN (CVN-75).  Subsequently, he was assigned as Department Head, with the “Spartans” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron SEVEN ZERO (HSM-70) supporting the USS GEORGE HW BUSH (CVN-77) Carrier Strike Group.  There he served as Detachment OIC embarked on USS TRUXTUN (DDG-103) and USS HUE CITY (CG-66) and later served as squadron Maintenance Officer.

CDR McDonald’s shore and staff assignments include Flag Aide to President, National Defense University, Operational Test Coordinator at COMOPTEVFOR, and Executive Assistant to Director, Joint Force Development (Joint Staff J-7, Pentagon).

CDR McDonald assumed command of HSM-51 in December 2023, joining the Forward Deployed Naval Forces-Japan (FDNF-J) homeported in NAF Atsugi, Japan. He completed Joint Professional Military Education (JPME) Phase I through the U.S. Naval War College and holds a master’s degree in Engineering Management from Pennsylvania State University.  His awards include Defense Meritorious Service Medal (two awards), Air Medal (two awards), Navy Commendation Medal (three awards), Navy Achievement Medal, and other personal and unit commendations.

Last Updated: 6 December 2023

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