John completed 33 years of service to the Nation retiring on 31 AUG 2012. During his time in the Army, he served 17 years outside of the U.S. He led troops in combat in Grenada, Saudi Arabia and Iraq and most recently in Afghanistan. An Attack helicopter aviator serving 5 years in the 82nd Airborne division and 18th Airborne Corps, 10 years along the Demilitarized Zone in Korea, and 6 years in Germany before, during and after the fall of the Iron Curtain and 10 years as a General Officer.
In a 6-year period he was at the initiation and maturation of the Army’s new concept of Installation Management. He directed, first at the Region Level in Korea, and then at the Army level all aspects of the equivalent of the city manager for 109 Army Posts around the world. A separate but parallel effort was his service as Commander of the Family Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command (FMWRC), responsible for all aspects of a wide ranging group of services, from Army Child Care, Family services, all aspects of recreation, recreation destinations and lodging. FMWRC is a non-normal Army command that included responsibility for retirement and medical benefits accounts for 35,000 civilian employees, acquiring and satisfying multi-million dollar loans, and significant contract negotiations. In coordination with the Secretary of the Army he devised, then assisted in implementing the Army Family Covenant and the Army Community Covenant; documents with far reaching impacts to the American population and to the health of a combat weary force.
General Macdonald worked as a U.S. Deputy in Afghanistan with the primary mission to build the required bases for the expansion of 60,000 troops in 12 months including all aspects of life support, security, training, ranges, induction and departure. In Afghanistan he expanded his contracting coordinating and negotiating ability to international money and processes, negotiated land rights with the Afghan government and created operating bases from Sand to Secure Sanctuaries. His last tour of duty was in Korea as the Operations Officer for a Four Star United Nations and Combined and Joint command where he is credited with significantly advancing the ROK US warfighting capability with creative exercises, tough negotiations and great team work in tense crisis situations; sinking of the ROKS Cheonan and loss of 46 ROK sailors, north Korean shelling of Y-P Do killing four South Koreans and launch of nK failed satellite attempt over the West Sea.
John holds two Masters Degrees; Business and National Security. He is a Master Aviator, Master Parachutist and Ranger Qualified. He was awarded 2 Distinguished Service Medals and 38 other military decorations. John has served as a director on 5 boards associated with the Army and DoD.
MG Macdonald is now an independent consultant, focusing on War Gaming for DoD and other Government Agencies as well as automation efforts for sectors of the Army. He has provided motivational talks for Jiatong (Shanghai) University, Gannett News and Air War College. He is active in assisting Korean War veterans, active duty service members and soon Vietnam Veterans by providing a commemorative book to show sponsor's appreciation for veteran's sacrifices. He and his wife Anne are active in the Annual Ethics and Leadership Seminar for 45 High Schools in the DC Metro area. He lives in Alexandria, VA and is most happily married to Brig. Gen. (ret.) Anne Macdonald.