Brig. General Donald Bolduc
US Army, Retired
After 32 years of active duty service to his country in which he received two awards for valor, five Bronze Star medals, two Purple Hearts, led ten deployments, and survived both a bomb blast, numerous fire fights, and a helicopter crash, General Donald C. Bolduc, former Commander, Special Operations Command Africa, has hung up his fatigues to take on perhaps his most important and challenging mission of advocating for veterans and their families, the treatment and shedding the stigma of PTS, TBI, pain management, sleep disorders, and neurotoxicity both from within the US military as well as the general public. His second passion is teaching, coaching, and mentoring leadership from entry level to the senior executive level.
The general started his career as Private Bolduc on June 29, 1981, exactly 36 years before his final change of command. After the terrorist attacks of 9/11, then-Major Bolduc led one of the first groups into Afghanistan, riding on horseback to take control of the southern Afghanistan region from Taliban rule. One of the few survivors of a 2,000-pound bomb that was inadvertently targeted on their own position by friendly fire in December 2001, and, despite his injuries, Bolduc refused to leave the battlefield and continued to take on his next objective. He was later awarded his first of several combat valor awards and a Purple Heart for his injuries.
As the Battalion Commander of 1st Battalion 3rd Special Forces Group (Desert Eagles), Bolduc’s unit was credited with the success of Operation Medusa and awarded the Canadian Commander-in-Chief Unit Commendation for actions by the “Desert Eagles” that were considered an extraordinary deed or activity, of a rare high standard, in extremely hazardous circumstances, beyond the demands of normal duty in combat. This was the first time a foreign military unit received this distinction from the Canadian government and military. From 2010 through 2011 and 2012-2013 he served as Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force commander and then as Commander, Combined Joint Special Operations Component Commander in Afghanistan and was credited with the creation and establishment of the “Village Stability Operations” the only successful bottom-up stability effort in rural areas and villages in Afghanistan. The program achieved unprecedented security gains and was considered by Mullah Omar to be the most dangerous program to the Taliban. This program undermined insurgent influence and control by the Taliban and ensured the stabilization of large areas of the war-torn country through Afghan Local Police between 2010-2013.
In his role as the Deputy Director for US Africa Command (USAFRICOM) from 2013-2015, Brigadier General (BG) Bolduc was responsible to the US AFRICOM commander for the full spectrum of operations and activities across the African continent. In his role as the Special Operations Command-Africa commander (COMSOCAFRICA) from 2015-2017 BG Bolduc was responsible for 96 missions and more than 1,700 US military, interagency and international military personnel operating in 28 countries throughout Africa and Europe. SOCAFRICA is designated as US Africa Command’s lead counter-Violent Extremist Organizations (VEO) operations component. Prior to this, he served on the Joint Staff in the Office of Secretary of Defense and as the Aide to the Secretary of the Army at the Pentagon.
His other awards and decorations include the Defense Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, five Bronze Star Medals with Valor Device, Army Commendation Medal with Valor Device, numerous foreign awards including Canadian Commander-in-Chief Unit Commendation, Ordre Du Merite Nationale from Mauritania, Ordre Du Lion from Senegal, Combat Infantryman Badge, Expert Infantryman Badge, Master Parachutist Badge, Air Assault Badge, Special Forces Tab, and Ranger Tab. Bolduc is the recipient of the Ted Williams Military Achievement Award and is also the recipient of the Salem State University Marilyn E. Flaherty Distinguished Alumnus Award on 31 May 2015.
Beyond his various positions and awards, nothing brings more meaning to Bolduc’s service than his latest mission with the support of his wife Sharon to combat the stigmas around post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), speak on leadership, and provide advice on Special Operations Forces. As one of the few senior military officers, and, at the time, the only active duty general officer on record, to openly discuss his own struggles with PTS, Bolduc has used his leadership position to change the conversation to one of understanding and acceptance through his own experiences. Dubbed “Captain America” and “Everyone’s General” by his fellow officers and soldiers, Bolduc always put country first, and now looks to continue his service off the battlefield sharing his leadership mantra of “People, Family, Mission” and his personal experiences with mental health to continue his leadership journey and help educate others.
Bolduc is the recipient of a Medical Service Dog from Guardian Angels Medical Dog Service Inc. based in Williston, FL. Northrop Grumman sponsored the care and training of “Victor”. Bolduc paired in February 2018 with Victor and is now enjoying the benefits of a medical service dog.
Bolduc has an A.S. in Criminal Justice, B.S. in Sociology, M.A. in Business Technology/Human Resource Development, M.S. in Strategic Studies, and is currently a Doctoral Candidate at Liberty University in Strategic Leadership.
Bolduc is currently involved with the following organizations:
1. Appointed by the Governor of New Hampshire to serve as a member of the Juvenile Parole Board
2. Adjunct Professor, Southern New Hampshire University
3. Doctoral Candidate at Liberty University in Strategic Leadership
4. Senior Advisor for the Center of Naval Analysis that provides cutting-edge, expert analysis and high quality, impartial information for effective decision making
5. Advisor to Spirit of America an organization dedicated to directly supporting the safety and success of deployed US troops and diplomats.
6. Advisor for Mission Readiness, Council for a Strong America consisting of retired admirals and generals strengthening national security by ensuring kids stay in school, stay fit, and stay out of trouble
7. Advisor for the Semper Fi Fund is a non-profit 501 organization that provides a variety of programs to assist wounded veterans in all branches of the United States Armed Forces.
8. Advisor to Guardian Angels Inc. a nationally recognized nonprofit organization that specializes in training and pairing service dogs.
9. Board member of IDS International a leader in training and support for complex operations
10. Board member of Trauma and Resiliency Resources, Inc. they provide multi-faceted, focused, trauma interventions to first responders and warriors who develop symptoms of PTS and combat-related PTS because of executing line of duty/service responsibilities.
11. Active supporter of Veterans Count a program of Easter Seals to support Veterans
12. A supporter of the morning show, New Hampshire Today, with Jack Heath, on Veteran Issues in New Hampshire
13. A supporter of Pease Greeters a group of patriotic Americans who welcome men and women in our Armed Forces who pass through Pease International Airport
14. Advisor to Vet Links that educates and empowers veterans and their families by linking them to services, support, and programs to enrich their quality of life.
15. Board Advisor for Warriors Heart Foundation a PTS and addiction treatment center for active military, veterans, and first responders.
16. Advisor to the Green Alert System designed to provide alerts to law enforcement and public on missing service members and veterans.
17. Board of Advisors to Smitz Laboratories
18. Member of Outspoken Agency for public speaking
Bolduc resides in Stratham, NH and has been married to Sharon M. Bolduc for 29 years. They have three sons Joshua, Zachary, and Matthew, as well as three grandchildren Little “J “, Hadley, and Hannah.