A native of Kittanning, Pennsylvania, Commander Donny Williams attended the U.S. Naval Academy and graduated with merit in 1998 with a Bachelor of Science in Ocean Engineering. After attending initial flight training in Pensacola, Florida he completed his training in San Antonio, Texas and was designated a Naval Flight Officer (NFO) in October 1999.
Operationally, he completed his “nugget” tour with Patrol Squadron Forty-Five (VP-45 “Pelicans”) in Jacksonville, Florida from August 2000 to August 2003 serving as NFO NATOPS Officer, Schedules Officer and Public Affairs Officer. He qualified as Mission Commander, Instructor Tactical Coordinator and Patrol Plane Tactical Coordinator while deploying to Sixth fleet and Fourth Fleet along with conducting missions off the East Coast of the U.S. in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM. From August 2003 to September 2005, CDR Williams served at Task Force Six-Seven. (CTF-67) and Tactical Support Center, Sigonella, Sicily as Assistant Operations Officer, Executive Assistant, Transition Team Lead and Battle Watch Captain supporting Operation ENDURING FREEDOM, Operation ACTIVE ENDEAVOUR, and multiple contingency operations. From September 2005 to September 2007, CDR Williams served aboard the USS George Washington (CVN-73) as a Catapult and Arresting Gear Officer (Shooter) and V-3 Division Officer while completing a Partnership for Peace deployment to Fourth Fleet. In September 2007, he reported to Patrol Squadron Thirty (The Pro’s Nest) Fleet Readiness Squadron (FRS) and served as the Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Weapon School’s Weapon Tactics Department Head and Professional Development Officer. While there, he was designated as a Weapons Tactics Instructor and NFO FRS instructor. In September 2009, he reported to Patrol Squadron Ten (VP-10 “Red Lancers”) for his department head tour where he served as Maintenance Officer, CTG Operations Officer, Administrative Officer and Tactics Officer. He completed deployments to Fifth and Sixth Fleet in support of Operations IRAQI FREEDOM and ENDURING FREEDOM.
In June 2012, CDR Williams reported to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Deputy Director for Global Operations (J-39) where he served as a deputy branch chief. He worked on multiple high-profile initiatives in Electronic Warfare and Directed Energy for the Joint Force.
CDR Williams’ personal awards include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (four awards), the Joint Service Achievement Medal, the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (two awards) and various campaign and unit citations. He has accumulated over 2100 flight hours in the P-3 Orion aircraft.