Lieutenant Colonel Donnell was born in Elkhart, Indiana, graduated from Elkhart Baptist Christian School in 1992, and attended Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina, where he graduated in 1996 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice.
Lieutenant Colonel Donnell enlisted in the Select Marine Corps Reserves during his sophomore year of college, completing recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina, in August 1994 before checking into Ammunition Company, 4th Supply Battalion, 4th Force Service Support Group in Greenville, South Carolina. Working his way up the ranks to Sergeant as an Ammunition Technician, he took Active Duty Special Work orders to the Ammunition Supply Point at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, in February 1999. He was commissioned as an officer in the United States Marine Corps Reserve in December 1999 after graduating from Marine Officer’s Candidate School at Quantico, where he subsequently graduated from the Officer Basic Course at The Basic School before proceeding to Aviation Maintenance Officer Basic Course in Pensacola, Florida for further training in July 2000.
Lieutenant Colonel Donnell reported to Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron (MALS) 16 at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego in October 2000 and served as the Ground Support Equipment Division Officer-In-Charge. Since then, he served in a wide range of assignments, including:
- Maintenance and Material Control Officer for Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 161 (HMM-161) at MCAS Miramar from November 2001 to September 2003
- Metrology and Calibration Information Systems Program Manager at Naval Air Systems Command, NAS Patuxent River, Maryland from September 2003 to May 2006
- Assistant Aviation Maintenance Officer for Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 16 (MALS-16) at MCAS Miramar from May 2006 to July 2009, participating in combat operations during OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM-2 from January to August 2008
- Requirements Officer for Chief of Naval Operations, Air Warfare Division, Maintenance and Materials Programs, managing budgeting and execution of the budget for aircraft Cartridge Actuated Devices/Propellant Actuated Devices (CAD/PAD), Aircraft Armament Equipment, Aviation Weapons Support Equipment, and Maintenance and Material Science and Technology Programs from July 2009 to July 2011.
- MV-22 Osprey Logistics Action Officer at Headquarters Marine Corps, Department of Aviation, Aviation Logistics Branch from July 2011 to July 2013 supporting the Marine Corps’ transition from CH-46E Sea Knight to the MV-22B Osprey.
- Operations Officer from July 2013 to June 2014 and Executive Officer from June 2014 to February 2018 for MALS-11 at MCAS Miramar.
- Aviation Maintenance Management Inspection Team 5 for Commander Naval Air Force N422, from February 2017 to July 2018.
- Executive Officer for Headquarters and Support Battalion, Marine Corps Base Camp Smedley D. Butler, in Okinawa, Japan, from July 2018 to July 2019.
Lieutenant Colonel Donnell detached from Naval Air Systems Command Patuxent River, Maryland, on 19 June from his most recent assignment as Assistant Program Manager for Logistics/Readiness Cell Lead for the V-22 Joint Program Office.
Lieutenant Colonel Donnell has a Level II Defense Acquisitions Program Management Certification and a Master in Business Administration degree. His decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal with two Gold Stars and the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with three Gold Stars`