Former Commander, Special Operations Command Africa
Brigadier General Donald Bolduc retired from the United States Army after thirty-two years of active duty service. Throughout his time, which included serving as former commander of Special Operations Command Africa, he received two awards for valor, five Bronze Star medals, two Purple Hearts, and led ten deployments. He is a survivor of a bomb blast, numerous fire fights, and a helicopter crash. Now retired, Bolduc is a respected advocate for mental health counseling and treatment for veterans and their families as well as the general public. As a member of IDS International’s Advisory Board, he provides strategic military guidance and support regarding key issues affecting the US Army both domestically and abroad.
Bolduc’s military career began in 1981, exactly thirty-six 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 Combined Joint Special Operations Component commander in Afghanistan and was credited with the creation and establishment of the “Village Stability Operations” concept, a bottom-up stability effort in rural areas and villages in Afghanistan which undermined insurgent influence and control by the Taliban and ensured the stabilization of large areas of the war-torn country through Afghan Local Police.
In his role as brigadier general, Bolduc was responsible for the full spectrum of Special Operations activities across the African continent and the more than 1,700 US military, interagency and international military personnel operating in twenty-eight countries throughout Africa and Europe. SOCAFRICA is designated as U.S. Africa Command’s lead counter-Violent Extremist Organizations 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.
Bolduc’s other awards and decorations include the Defense Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal with Valor Device, Army Commendation Medal with Valor Device, numerous foreign awards, Combat Infantryman Badge, Expert Infantryman Badge, Master Parachutist Badge, Air Assault Badge, Special Forces Tab, and Ranger Tab.
Currently, Bolduc works, with the support of his wife Sharon, to combat the stigmas around post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), speaking on leadership, and providing strategic guidance 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 advocated for greater understanding and acceptance of mental health challenges within the military. Dubbed “Captain America” and “Everyone’s General” by his fellow officers and soldiers, Bolduc is known to always put country first, and now looks to continue his service off the battlefield by sharing his leadership mantra of “People, Family, Mission” and his personal experiences with mental health to continue his leadership journey and to help educate others.
Bolduc has an AS in criminal justice; a BS in sociology; an MA in business technology and human resource development; and an MS in strategic studies. He is currently a doctoral candidate in strategic leadership at Liberty University.
In addition to his work for IDS International, Bolduc is a member of the New Hampshire Juvenile Parole Board; senior advisor for the Center of Naval Analysis; board member of Trauma and Resiliency Inc., and serves as an advisor to numerous organizations including Spirit of America, Guardian Angels, Vet Links, Warriors Heart Foundation, and Green Alert System.