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Chief Petty Officer Donald L. McFaul was born 20 September 1957 in Orange County, California . He graduated from Bend Senior High School, Bend, Oregon in 1974. He enlisted in the Navy upon graduation from high school, and after recruit training was assigned to Naval Station Treasure Island, where he worked for Port Services as an Engine Specialist. In 1977, Chief McFaul volunteered and was selected to join the Naval Special Warfare Community.

He underwent Basic Underwater Demolition/Seal Training (Class 95) in the spring of 1978. Chief McFaul was assigned to SEAL Team ONE where he made three deployments in support of Special Operations out of Subic Bay, Philippines. In 1985, Donald McFaul the SEAL became Donald McFaul the civilian, trying his hand at engine repair and spending relaxing days of fishing in Seattle, Washington, and Kodiak, Alaska. Missing the challenge and excitement of the SEAL Team, Donald McFaul returned to the Special Warfare Community. He attended Defense Language Institute for Spanish in Monterey, California where he met his wife Patricia. In February 1988, Chief McFaul was assigned to SEAL team FOUR and Don and Patricia were married.

While at SEAL Team FOUR Chief McFaul deployed to the Persian Gulf in support of the Middle East Forces and later deployed to Naval Special Warfare Unit EIGHT at Naval Station Rodman, Republic of Panama.  His final deployment was as Platoon Chief of Gulf Platoon on 18 December 1989, where he was killed in action during combat operations.

His awards include the Navy Achievement Medal with Gold Star, Navy Unit Citation, and Good Conduct Medal with Bronze Star. He was posthumously awarded the "Purple Heart" and the "Navy Cross".

USS McFAUL is the 24th ARLEIGH BURKE - class Guided Missile Destroyer and the eleventh ship in that class built by Ingalls. USS McFAUL is the first ship in the Navy named after Chief Petty Officer Donald L. McFaul.