Major General Mark McDonald,
Hall of Fame, Class of 2023
Major General Mark McDonald
U.S. Army, Retired
Mark McDonald was born on May 17, 1958. He graduated from the ROTC program at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in 1980 and was commissioned as a Field Artillery Officer. After attending the Officer Basic course at Fort Sill, Mark reported to his first unit assignment with D Battery, 1st Battalion (Airborne) 509th Infantry, Vicenza, Italy. While in Italy Mark served as a Company Fire Support officer, Battalion, Assistant Adjutant and later the Fire Direction Officer. After the Advanced Course, He served as the Battalion Fire Support Officer followed by Commander of HSB 2-321. While in command the unit reflagged and became the 3-319th FA. He then commanded B 3-319, 82d Airborne. Mcdonald then became the U.S. Exchange officer to the Royal Canadian Artillery School, Canadian Forces Base Gagetown, Oromocto New Brunswick. In 1989, Mark became a Gunnery Department Instructor at the U.S. Field Artillery School with a follow-on assignment as XO to the Assistant Commandant, (then BG) Tommy Franks. After graduating from the Command and General Staff College, MAJ McDonald served as an Infantry Brigade Fire Support Officer in the 7th Infantry Division. He followed that assignment with duty as the Operations Officer for 2-8 Field Artillery, Regimental fire support officer 9th Infantry Regiment and the S3, 2-8 FA. During his time at 2-8, he served under his mentor and life-long friend, (then LTC) Raymond Odierno. Following an assignment as Operations officer at the Marshall Center, Garmisch Germany, Mark was selected to command 3d Battalion, 321st FA, at Fort Bragg. After attending the US Army War College, he was assigned to a position on the Army Staff at DCSOPS, Army Initiatives group at the Pentagon. He also did a six-month tour of duty in Bosnia as the Entity Armed forces Inspector General for NATO. COL McDonald became the DivArty Commander at the 82d Airborne Division Artillery, 319th FA Regiment. During his time in command, he oversaw the deployment of two battalions to Afghanistan, one battalion to Iraq, and also personally joined the Division headquarters for the Invasion of Iraq. COL McDonald made his last jump, number 122, in 2003. In May of that same year, he became XO to the Army G3 in DC. Following command, Mark served as the Chief of Staff, Fort Sill OK, was promoted to Brigadier General, then served as the Assistant Commandant, USAFAS and the DCG Fires, 3d Corps, Fort Hood. While at Fort Hood he deployed with the Corps to Iraq for 18 months. Upon return from deployment he was made Deputy Commanding General, US Army 3d Corps, Fort Hood followed by serving as then Deputy Commander, MNSTCI, Iraq. He was promoted to Major General in 2010 and became the Operations Director, J3, United States Forces Iraq. The last three commands of his career were Commanding General, United States Army Cadet Command and Fort Knox, KY, Commander US Fires Center of Excellence and Fort Sill OK and lastly, Commander United States Army, Security Assistance Command. After 36 years of patriotic service to his country and 122 jumps, Major General Mark McDonald retired in 2016. His awards include 3 Distinguished Service Medals, 4 Legions of Merit, 2 Bronze Star Medals, Combat Action Badge and U.S. Master Parachutist badge as well as parachutist badges from Italy, Canada, and Germany.
After retirement the McDonalds moved to Monterey, TN. Mark served a 3-year term as the immediate-past president of USFAA. He was also appointed the Honorary Colonel of the 319th (Airborne) FAR and he continues to serve as professional consultant on artillery systems in the defense industry.