Associate Professor of Maritime Ops
Maritime Staff Operators Course
Donald Brian Fennessey
CAPT United States Navy (ret.)
Professor Donald B. Fennessey is a native of Pelham, MA, and attended Dartmouth College in the NROTC program, graduating in June 1972 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology. While there, he spent one summer training cruise on the Norwegian gunboat KNM SKJOLD (P963), and was a lucky Midshipman to participate in the 1971 USS Constitution turnaround. After commissioning, he arrived at VT-1 at NAS Saufley Field at Pensacola, FL for initial flight training, followed by advanced training at VT-26 and VT-25 at NAS Chase Field in Beeville, TX. He earned his Naval Aviator wings in October 1973 and reported to VA-122 at NAS Lemoore, CA for Replacement Training in the A-7E "Corsair II". His first fleet assignment was with VA-27 from June 1974 to March 1977 where he served as Landing Signal Officer, Personnel, and Quality Assurance Officer. During his tour with the “Royal Maces” he deployed on two WESTPAC cruises aboard USS ENTERPRISE (CVAN-65), including during Operation “Frequent Wind” supporting the evacuation of Saigon in May 1975.
LT Fennessey next reported to HT-8 at NAS Whiting Field, Milton, FL for helicopter transition training prior to Personnel Exchange Program duties with the Royal Air Force flying the Harrier GR Mk3. Initial training was at 233 OCU at RAF Wittering, England from September 1977 to March 1978. He reported to No 3(F) Squadron at RAF Gütersloh, Germany for service as a combat ready pilot in support of British Forces from April 1978 until April 1980. While there he participated in several NATO exercises and field deployments.
Returning to VA-122 as an instructor pilot from June 1980 until August 1982, he served as Ground Training Officer and Assistant Operations Officer. LCDR Fennessey’s Department Head tour was spent with the
VA-146 “Blue Diamonds” where he was assigned as Safety, Administrative, Maintenance and Operations Officer. While attached to the squadron, he made a WESTPAC/Indian Ocean cruise aboard USS KITTY HAWK (CV-63).
LCDR Fennessey’s next assignment was to the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA where he earned a Master of Science Degree in Information Technology, graduating with distinction. Subsequent duty was aboard USS MIDWAY (CV-41), homeported in Yokosuka, Japan, where he held the billets of Strike Operations and Air Operations Officer during several deployments from May 1987 to July 1989.
He returned to Lemoore for F/A-18 "Hornet" Replacement Pilot training in VFA-125 from September 1989 to March 1990, and joined the VFA-25 “Fist of the Fleet” in May 1990 as Executive Officer in May 1990, making one cruise aboard USS INDEPENDENCE (CV-62) during Operation “Desert Shield”. He commanded VFA-25 from September 1991 to November 1992.
CAPT Fennessey reported to the Sixth Fleet staff homeported in Gaeta, Italy, where he served as Air Operations Officer from January 1993 to January 1995. While there he was involved with Allied air operations in Bosnia, and Theater Ballistic Missile Defense. His subsequent duty was as a student at the Naval War College in Newport, RI, where he earned a Master of Arts Degree (with distinction) in National Strategic Studies in March 1996. He then began training in Washington, DC to become the Naval Attaché to France, arriving in Paris in July 1997. He served in France until July 2001 when he returned to the Naval War College to teach on the faculty of the Strategy and Policy Department.
Captain Fennessey has accumulated over 3800 flight hours including over 2000 in the A-7, and 500 in the Harrier, and over 500 arrested landings.
He is authorized to wear the Defense Superior Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Navy Commendation Medal and other unit decorations and service ribbons. He has been awarded the Ordre National de Merite (level of Officer from the French Navy). He is married to the former Susan Tudor of Bradenham, England, and they have four children, Brian (23) (an E-2 NFO at VAW-120), Christine (20), David (17) and Michelle (14).
Captain Fenessey retired from the Navy on 1 July 2002, and was employed in the Doctrine, Concepts and CONOPS Departments at the Navy Warfare Development Center in Newport, RI from 2002-2009. He is currently on the faculty of the Naval War College teaching the Maritime Staff Operators Course.
3800 hours flight time
2000 hours A-7E Corsair
530 hours Harrier
700 hours F/A-18 Hornet
580 arrested landings