Colonel Donnelly is originally from Palmyra, NJ. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1989, and completed Nuclear Power training in 1991. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy with a Bachelor of Science in History in 1996, and accepted a commission in the Marine Corps.
After The Basic School, he reported to NAS Pensacola for flight training. He was designated a Naval Flight Officer in June 1998, and reported to VMFAT-101, MCAS Miramar, CA, for training as an F/A-18D WSO.
After completing VMFAT-101 in September 1999, First Lieutenant Donnelly reported to MCAS Beaufort, SC and was assigned to VMFA(AW)-224, the “Bengals.” With the Bengals, he served in the Operations, Maintenance, and Logistics departments and deployed twice to the Western Pacific in support of the Unit Deployment Program.
Captain Donnelly reported to the Naval Postgraduate School in December 2003. He graduated with distinction in June 2005, earning an M.B.A. in Financial Management. After NPS he was assigned to the Programs and Resources Department (P&R), HQMC, the Pentagon. While at P&R he served as a budget analyst, Marine liaison to OPNAV N80, and Aide-de-Camp to the Deputy Commandant, P&R. In 2008 Major Donnelly deployed as an IA with I MEF (FWD) to Camp Fallujah, Iraq, where he served in the G3 Air Operations shop in support of OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM.
Following his IA, Major Donnelly reported to MCAS Miramar, CA in 2008 for refresher training in the F/A-18D. Upon completion, he was assigned to VMFA(AW)-121, the “Green Knights,” where he served as Assistant Aircraft Maintenance Officer, Aircraft Maintenance Officer, Director of Safety and Standardization (DOSS), and Executive Officer. In 2010 he deployed to the Western Pacific with the Green Knights as the Aircraft Maintenance Officer.
In July 2011, Major Donnelly received orders back to P&R at the Pentagon and was selected for command. During this tour, he served as the Program Development Officer, or “Prince of the POM,” responsible for developing the Marine Corps’ Program Objective Memorandum for FY15-19 (POM-15).
Lieutenant Colonel Donnelly reported to VT-86, NAS Pensacola, FL in 2013 as the Executive Officer. He assumed command of the squadron from December 2014 to March 2016. After command, he attended the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, PA, graduating in June 2017 and earning a Master in Strategic Studies.
Following the War College, Lieutenant Colonel Donnelly reported to United States European Command in Stuttgart, Germany and was assigned to the ECJ3 as the Global Force Management Branch Chief. In 2018 he was promoted to Colonel and assumed the duties of ECJ7 Joint Training and Exercises Division Chief. In June 2020, Colonel Donnelly reported to NAS Corpus Christi to assume command of MATSG-22.
Colonel Donnelly has accumulated over 2000 flight hours, including over 1600 in the F/A- 18D. His personal awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (three awards), the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (two awards), and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal. He is married with three children.