Chief Petty Officer Donald L. McFaul was born 20 September 1957 in Orange County, California. He graduated from Bend Senior High School in Bend, Oregon in 1974 and enlisted in the Navy upon graduation. He was assigned to Naval Station Treasure Island, where he worked as an Engine Specialist. In 1977, Chief McFaul was selected to join the Naval Special Warfare Community.
He underwent Basic Underwater Demolition/Seal Training (Class 95) in the spring of 1978. Chief McFaul was assigned to SEAL Team ONE where he made three deployments in support of Special Operations out of Subic Bay, Philippines. In 1985, Donald McFaul the SEAL became Donald McFaul the civilian, but missing the challenge and excitement of the SEAL Team, Donald McFaul returned to the Special Warfare Community. He attended Defense Language Institute for Spanish in Monterey, California, and in 1988 Chief McFaul was assigned to SEAL team FOUR.
While at SEAL Team FOUR Chief McFaul deployed to the Persian Gulf in support of the Middle East Forces and later deployed to Naval Special Warfare Unit EIGHT at Naval Station Rodman, Republic of Panama. His final deployment was as Platoon Chief of Gulf Platoon. On December 20, 1989, during Operation JUST CAUSE at Paitilla Airfield in Panama, Chief McFaul’s platoon was patrolling toward their objective when they were engaged by heavy small arms fire. Realizing that most of the first squad ahead of him had been wounded, he left the relative safety of his position to assist the wounded lying helplessly exposed. He began carrying a wounded member to safety and was nearing his own force’s perimeter when he was mortally wounded. His ultimate sacrifice inspired other heroic acts and mission accomplishment. He was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross and Purple Heart for his actions.
His other awards include the Navy Achievement Medal with Gold Star, Navy Unit Citation, and Good Conduct Medal with Bronze Star.