Harold Cooper Donnelly – Lieutenant General, United States Air Force

Retired August 1, 1968; died August 24, 2002

Lieutenant General Harold Cooper Donnelly was director of the Defense Atomic Support Agency, headquartered in Washington, D.C. As director he guides DASA’s active role in continuing underground nuclear testing; maintaining modern nuclear laboratory facilities and programs; maintaining a readiness to resume testing, if required, (currently prohibited under limited nuclear test ban treaty of 1963); and continual improvement of United States capability to monitor the test ban treaty.

General Donnelly was born in Lynn, Massachusetts, in 1910. He graduated from the U.S. Military Academy June 13, 1933, with a bachelor of science degree, and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Coast Artillery.

During the early part of his career, he served at stations in the United States, the Panama Canal Zone and the Philippines.

He attended the Army-Navy Staff College from December 1943 to April 1944, and was then assigned to the China-Burma-India Theater, serving as executive to the deputy supreme allied commander, Southeast Asia Command, and subsequently, as deputy chief of staff and chief of staff of the India-Burma Theater.

Upon his return to the United States, General Donnelly was assigned to the War Plans Branch of the Plans and Operations Division, War Department General Staff, in June 1946. Transferred to the Air Force in September 1947, he served as Executive to the Deputy Chief of Staff, Operations, U.S. Air Force Headquarters until August 1948, when he was selected for attendance at the Air War College, Montgomery, Alabama.

Upon graduation in July 1949, the general became chief of the Materiel and Research Division, Office of the Assistant for Atomic Energy under the Deputy Chief of Staff, Operations, Air Force headquarters. Less than a year later, he was named military executive to the undersecretary of the Air Force. In February 1951 he began his first tour with his present command as chief of staff of the Armed Forces Special Weapons Project, the immediate predecessor of the Defense Atomic Support Agency.

In February 1954 the general joined Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers in Europe as special assistant to the air deputy, and two months later was named chief, Plans and Operations Branch, Plans and Policy Division at that headquarters. He returned to the United States in July 1957, for assignment to the Air Force Headquarters in Washington, as assistant deputy chief of staff, plans and program.

On July 1, 1960, General Donnelly was reassigned to Sandia Base, Albuquerque, New Mexico, for duty as commander, Field Command, Defense Atomic Support Agency and his second full tour of duty with the DASA. During his tour as DASA field commander he was responsible for the conduct of the Department of Defense portion of the 1962 nuclear test series at the Nevada Test Site, as well as for providing support to the concurrent test series conducted at Johnston and Christmas islands in the Pacific. On completion of his tour of duty at Field Command, DASA, in July 1963, the general was reassigned to the Pentagon as assistant deputy chief of staff, research and development, Headquarters, U.S. Air Force, where he served until receiving his present assignment.

On Jan. 27, 1964, he was assigned as director, Defense Atomic Support Agency, Washington, D.C.

General Donnelly’s decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters, Army Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster, the Order of the British Empire and the French Legion of Honor.

NOTE: I attended the General’s funeral in Section 1 of Arlington National Cemetery on Thursday, 3 October 2002.



















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