Col. James “J.P.” McDonough III, a Marine Corps artillery officer and 1994 graduate of the service academy, has been tapped to serve as the 89th commandant of midshipmen, the Naval Academy announced Jan. 19. He will take the reins from Capt. Thomas R. “T.R.” Buchanan, who will wrap up his two-year stint as commandant this summer.
“I am truly honored and humbled to have been selected for this position and am excited to join the great team at the Naval Academy,” McDonough said in a news release. “I look forward to the opportunity to help shape the Brigade of Midshipmen as they become the future leaders of the Navy and Marine Corps.”
McDonough, who is currently working at the Pentagon as the executive assistant to the deputy commandant for plans, policies and operations at U.S. Marine Corps Headquarters, will oversee midshipmen’s day-to-day conduct, military training and professional development in his role at the service.
After graduating from the Naval Academy with a degree in systems engineering, McDonough completed multiple tours as an artillery officer, including those in support of Operations Swift and Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. He has had many operational assigments, most recently as the commander of the 10th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division.
He was an action officer and division chief in the Deputy Directorate for Global Operations, and previously served as a modeling and simulation analyst for training systems and project officer for multiple simulation programs at Training and Education Command. Likewise, he was a staff platoon commander at The Basic School in Quantico, Virginia.
His awards and decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Navy Commendation Medal, among others.
Buchanan graduated from the Naval Academy in 1992 and was a career submarine officer who previously served as the executive assistant to the director of the Joint Staff prior to becoming the 88th commandant of midshipmen.