John Donovan


John Donovan

Military Affiliations
  • Veteran Child

MY connection to 9/11
  • I was serving in the military on 9/11

Where were you when you first heard about or saw the 9/11 terrorist attacks?

I was in the Army Reserve at the time of 9/11. I was getting ready to go to work and watching network TV while preparing to leave the house. When the first plane struck the Twin Towers, I thought it might be a fluke. When the second plane struck, I knew we were under attack. As a member of the Reserve, I knew it wouldn't be long before I was called up for duty. I had just gotten married three months earlier. My life, my marriage, my country all changed in a Nano-second.

How did the events of that day shape your life and inspire your service to this country?

Shortly after 9/11, I attended my Officer Basic Course at Ft. Jackson, SC. 9/11 was all we could talk about during class and our training exercises. We were always focused on our training, but now we were hyper-focused. We knew everything being instructed and taught could have implications in a combat environment. This wasn't theoretical anymore. This was the real deal.

What are you excited to contribute to your community, however you define it, for the next 20 years?

Shortly after 9/11, I deployed to Bosnia as part of the SFOR mission. As part of the Reserve, our deployment to Bosnia allowed Active Duty Forces to change mission and deploy to Afghanistan. In 2003 following the invasion of Iraq, the Reserve became a critical component of the overall fighting force. I deployed to Iraq in 2007 during "The Surge" and again in 2009. I served for 21 years on Active Duty and retired in March of 2018. In July of 2001 right after I married, I thought my contribution to the Armed Forces would be as a commissioned reservist. I never imagined our country was going to be "at war" and that I would have two combat tours in defense of her.