On September 3rd, 2015, the U.S. Navy Central Command (NAVCENT)/U.S. Navy 5th Fleet /held a change-of-command ceremony aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt where 3-star Admiral and former D1 wrestler Kevin Donegan took command.
Most of us have heard of CENTCOM, which is U.S. Central Command. NAVCENT, Naval Forces Central Command, is the naval component of CENTCOM. That’s what the Admiral does… he’s the Commander of NAVCENT and the 5th Fleet. The area of responsibility encompasses about 2.5 million square miles of water area and includes pretty much the entire middle east. Not exactly a peaceful region as Admiral Donegan dealing with four major conflicts in the region right now.
Adm Donegan is a 1980 graduate of my alma mater, the University of Virginia.
In his military career, he piloted airstrikes in Libya and later commanded that same squadron. He also rose to command the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson. He served as the director of operations for CENTCOM and subsequently in a budget role in the Pentagon.
He also completed duty with NATO as the liaison to the commander of the UN Protection Forces serving as the principal air advisor during NATO’s air strikes.
Donegan graduated from several naval schools and colleges including the Navy Test Pilot School as the Outstanding Student, the Navy Fighter Weapons School (TOPGUN), as well as completed Harvard Kennedy School’s Executive Education Program in National and International Security.
His personal awards are far too numerous to list here. Let’s just say it would be like listing Bruce Baumgartner’s career awards and medals. His flying experience includes over 3,800 hours in 31 different types of aircraft and over 800 landings on 15 different aircraft carriers.