US Marine, Vietnam Combat Vet, Business Leader
Major Donahue was born on 31 January 1943 in the mountains of SW Pennsylvania. He was the eldest of five and the only son. He dropped out of High School in his junior year to enlist in the United States Marine Corps. He went to boot camp at Parris Island, South Carolina and graduated Honor Man from his platoon. He had found his calling.
During the Vietnam War, he served 44 months and 9 days in combat as an infantryman and scout/sniper, receiving several Purple Hearts for wounds received in combat. He also was the recipient of the Silver Star, Bronze Star with Combat “V”, Navy Commendation Medal with Combat “V”, three Air Medals (one with the Combat “V”), four Navy Achievement Medals (two with the Combat “V”) and numerous other awards, commendations and citations.
He claims that the most important decoration he ever received were the five Marine Corps Good Conduct Medals, as he put it “that medal was the only real one I deliberately set out to earn…and I was awarded five of them”.
Rising to the rank of Master Sergeant, he then received a direct commission into the Corps’ officer ranks as a second lieutenant. Given the opportunity he applied for and was granted a lateral move into Marine Aviation.
In 1977, as a second lieutenant, he was awarded the coveted Marine Corps Aviation Ground Officer of the Year. The first time anyone below the rank of Captain had ever been presented with the award.
During his service as an officer, he served at the squadron, Marine Aircraft Group and Wing levels, as well as a tour of duty as the Marine Corps Liaison officer to the Naval Air Technical Training Command and a tour at the Pentagon as a Combat Logistics Development officer.
Maj Donahue holds an undergraduate degree from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (magna cum laude) and a Master’s degree from the University of Southern California.
He was medically retired from the Marine Corps after having served continuously for 29 years, 1 month, and 1 day.
In November 2005, Major Bill Donahue saw eight Marines accused of killing Iraqi civilians being treated like convicted felons before they were even tried. The images of them in hand and leg irons, prior to any finding of guilt, saddened and offended the Major.
He decided, right then and there, he would do something to ensure the Haditha Marines had the best legal representation accessible. Of course, the accused enjoyed free legal counsel from uniformed Marine and/or Naval Judge Advocates. However, given the severe penalties at stake and that these allegations occurred during the “fog of war,” the Major believed the Marines deserved legal counsel with more experience than the six to eight years of exclusive military justice experience a uniformed Judge Advocate could bring to the fight.
The answer: United American Patriots (UAP), whose “Warrior Fund” mission would be to provide resources to service members accused of crime in combat: the idea being, our volunteers who serve in harm’s way to protect our United States Constitution and American way of life, deserve the most pristine of trials – especially including every constitutional right they have served to protect.
Since Maj Donahue founded the organization in 2005, UAP’s “Warrior Fund” has provided sponsorship to help defend dozens of combat Service members at trial, upon appeal, and before military boards to upgrade discharges, thereby positioning these warriors for successes in civilian life.
Thirteen years later, UAP’s Board of Directors continues to screen Warrior’s applications for support to ensure an applicant’s case meets the “Warrior Fund” criteria and to defend our defenders.