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Hull Number: DDG-74

Launch Date: 04/12/1997

Commissioned Date: 04/25/1998





Wikipedia (as of 2024)

Donald Lewis McFaul (20 September 1957 – 20 December 1989) was a United States Navy SEAL killed in action at Paitilla Airfield during Operation Just Cause, the 1989 United States invasion of Panama. He was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart and Navy Cross for his heroism during the battle while pulling another SEAL to safety. Only two Navy Crosses were awarded for the 1989 operations in Panama. The Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS McFaul (DDG-74) was named to honor him.

McFaul attended high school in Bend, Oregon, graduating in 1975 with a 3.47 GPA ranking 64 of 399 in his class.[1] He enlisted in the United States Navy on June 26, 1975[2] and was initially assigned to Naval Station Treasure Island working for port services as an engine specialist. McFaul volunteered for Special Warfare and was accepted in 1977. In spring of 1978 he attended Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training (BUD/S) and graduated with class 95. He was then assigned to SEAL Team ONE and did three tours of duty conducting special operations from U.S. Naval Base Subic Bay. He left the navy from 1985 to 1988 living and working in the Seattle and Kodiak, Alaska areas. He returned to the Navy in 1988, attending a Spanish language course at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California. There he met his wife, Patricia. They were married February 1988 and he was assigned to SEAL Team 4 based in Little Creek, Virginia. In December 1989 he deployed to Panama as part of SEAL Team 4.[3] He was killed during the capture of Paitilla Airfield, Panama CityPanama in the early morning hours of December 20, 1989. According to his Navy Cross citation, he left a position of safety to assist team members under heavy enemy fire. He then carried another team member to safety, but was mortally wounded in the process. His actions saved that team member and were said to inspire other heroic acts that led to the capture of the objective.[4]

Patricia, his wife, gave birth to his daughter Megan six days after his funeral.[5]

Navy Cross Citation

For extraordinary heroism while serving as Platoon Chief Petty Officer of Sea-Air-Land Team FOUR (SEAL-4), GOLF Platoon during Operation JUST CAUSE at Paitilla Airfield, Republic of Panama on 20 December 1989. Chief Petty Officer McFaul’s platoon was an element of Naval Special Warfare Task Unit PAPA, whose crucial mission was to deny to General Noriega and his associates the use of Paitilla Airfield as an avenue of escape from Panama. After insertion from sea by rubber raiding craft, Golf Platoon was patrolling toward their objective, a hangar housing General Noriega’s aircraft, when they were engaged by heavy small arms fire. Realizing that most of the first squad, 25 meters north of his position, had been wounded, he left the relative safety of his own position in order to assist the wounded lying helplessly exposed. Under heavy enemy fire and with total disregard for his personal safety, Chief Petty Officer McFaul moved forward into the kill zone and began carrying a seriously wounded platoon member to safety. As he was nearing the safety of his own force’s perimeter, he was mortally wounded by enemy fire. Chief Petty Officer McFaul’s heroic actions and courage under fire saved his teammate’s life and were an inspiration for other acts of heroism as the assault force prevailed in this decisive battle. By his extraordinary bravery, personal sacrifice, and inspiring devotion to duty, Chief Petty Officer McFaul reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

USS MCFAUL DDG-74 Ship History

Wikipedia (as of 2024)

USS McFaul (DDG-74) is an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer in the United States Navy. She is named for U.S. Navy SEAL Chief Petty Officer Donald L. McFaul. This ship is the 24th destroyer of her class. USS McFaul was the 11th ship of this class to be built at Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Mississippi, and construction began on 26 January 1996. She was launched on 18 January 1997 and was christened on 12 April 1997. On 25 April 1998 she had her commissioning ceremony at the Garden City Terminal in Savannah, Georgia. As of July 2020 the ship is part of Destroyer Squadron 26 based out of Naval Station Norfolk.

On 22 August 2005, McFaul was involved in a minor collision with the destroyer USS Winston S. Churchill off the coast of Jacksonville, Florida. Both ships suffered minor damage, and no injuries were reported. Both ships returned to their homeport at Naval Station Norfolk under their own power.[5]

On 16 February 2007, McFaul was awarded the 2006 Battle “E” award.[6]

Humanitarian supplies being loaded on McFaul 20 August 2008, at Souda BayCrete for delivery to Georgia

On 24 August 2008, McFaul arrived in BatumiGeorgia, as part of Operation Assured Delivery to “deliver humanitarian relief supplies … as part of the larger United States response to the government of Georgia request for humanitarian assistance” in the wake of the 2008 Russo-Georgian war.[7] McFaul offloaded nearly 155,000 pounds (70,000 kg) of supplies—including hygiene items, baby food and care supplies, bottled water, and milk—donated by the United States Agency for International Development.[7][8]

McFaul transiting New York Harbor in 2000

On 5 April 2010, McFaul responded to a distress call from the merchant vessel MV Rising Sun after she was attacked by pirates. McFaul was able to neutralize the threat, and captured ten suspected pirates and successfully rescued eight crewmembers from on board a dhow near Salalah, Oman. The pirates were then transferred to the destroyer USS Carney for a week before they were transferred back to McFaul where 30 days later they were turned over to the Somali Transitional Federal Government for subsequent prosecution.[9]

On 12 September 2012, McFaul was ordered to the coast of Libya in what the Pentagon called a “contingency” in case a strike was ordered. This was in response to the 2012 diplomatic missions attacks.[10]

On 5 July 2023, McFaul interrupted and prevented the attempted seizure of two commercial tankers in the Gulf of Oman.[11] In two incidents, three hours apart, Iranian naval vessels closed on the tankers — and, according to the U.S. Navy, in the second incident, fired upon the tanker. In both cases, the Iranian vessels departed the scene upon the arrival of McFaul. The Navy released aerial video of the incidents. Iran’s government claimed that one of the targeted ships had been involved in a collision and that there was an Iranian court order to seize the ship. Chevron, the company managing the vessel, stated that the ship was not involved in a collision and that they had received no notice regarding any legal proceedings.[12]

On 12 November 2009, the Missile Defense Agency announced that McFaul would be upgraded during fiscal 2013 to RIM-161 Standard Missile 3 (SM-3) capability in order to function as part of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System.[14]