LtCol Donovan enlisted in the Marine Corps in December 1993. On completion of Recruit Training and Marine Combat Training he was selected for an NROTC scholarship and attended Norwich University, earning a Bachelors of Science degree in Electrical Engineering in 1998. He further received a Masters of Business Administration from Norwich in 2010. His military education includes Recruit Training, Marine Combat Training, The Basic School, Naval Flight Training, Aviation Safety Officers School, Weapons and Tactics Instructors Course, MCMAP Green Belt Instructors Course, Operational Test and Evaluation Course, Aviation Maintenance Officer Course, and the Joint Military Deception Planners Course.
Upon completion of The Basic School in Quantico, Virginia, LtCol Donovan reported to flight training in March 1999 for flight training and was designated a Naval Aviator in July 2000. Subsequently, LtCol Donovan reported to HMM(T)-164, MCAS Camp Pendleton, CA for training in the CH-46E. LtCol Donovan reported to MAG-16, MCAS Miramar, CA in January, 2001 and was assigned to HMM-161. While assigned to the Greyhawks, LtCol Donovan deployed with the 15th MEU (SOC) from January through June 03 in support of OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM (OIF). On his return from OIF he completed the Weapons and Tactics Instructors course and subsequently deployed again to Al Taqaddum, Iraq for OIF II from March until September 2004. He then deployed a third time to Iraq from August 05 until March 06, again to Al Taqaddum. During this deployment he was selected to joint HMX-1 and began this tour in June 06. While at HMX-1 he was involved in the Operational Test and Evaluation of new equipment upgrades for the CH-46E, such as forward firing expendables and the Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures system. He also conducted over 70 global presidential support missions as a pilot and White House Liaison Officer, and was selected as a Presidential Command Pilot in the VH-3D and the VH-60N. Departing HMX-1 in July 10, he then reported to HMM-262(REIN) in Okinawa, Japan and conducted two patrols with the 31st MEU, to include humanitarian assistance/disaster relief OPERATIONS TOMODACHI and MEGI. In May 11, he was transferred to HMM-265(REIN) to conduct an additional two patrols with the 31st MEU as the Aviation Maintenance Officer. In May 12, he became the Executive Officer for HMM-265 as the squadron transitioned to become VMM-265. After a short period at MAG-36 as the Director of Safety and Standardization, he transferred to HMM-262(REIN) to assume the duty as the Executive Officer and facilitate their transition to the MV-22. In August 13, he transferred to the Joint Information Operations Warfare Center (JIOWC) where he deployed with a Special Operations Joint Task Force in support of OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM (OEF) in February 14 and again in March 15 in support of OPERATION INHERENT RESOLVE (OIR) as the Special Plans Officer.
LtCol Donovan has accumulated over 3,300 flight hours in multiple airframes to include over 2,500 in the CH-46E. His personal decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal - Strike Flight with Numeral 14, the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with gold star in lieu of second award, and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal. He is authorized to wear the Presidential Support Badge and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Identification Badge.