Reflections in Command of Special Operations Command-Africa with General Donald C. Bolduc
Wednesday, April 3rd, 6 PM-7:15 PM
Location: Southern New Hampshire University Academic Center ACC LC 101
About General Donald C. Bolduc
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.