Mark Gregor Strang Donaldson was born in Waratah, Newcastle. He spent his formative years in northern NSW where he graduated from high school.
Corporal Donaldson enlisted into the Australian Army and entered recruit training at the Army Recruit Training Centre, Kapooka, NSW. He demonstrated an early aptitude for soldiering and was awarded the prizes for best shot and best at physical training in his platoon. Subsequently he was allocated to the Royal Australian Infantry Corps and posted to the school of infantry at Singleton, NSW, where he excelled in his initial employment training. At the completion of this training he was again awarded best shot and best at physical training, as well as the award for the most outstanding soldier in his platoon.
He was posted to 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, Townsville. It was during this time that Corporal Donaldson decided to pursue his ambition to join the Special Air Service Regiment.
He successfully completed the Special Air Service Regiment selection course and was posted to the Regiment. He was then posted to 3 Squadron, since which time he has been deployed on operations to East Timor, Afghanistan and Iraq.
Corporal Donaldson (then Trooper) was wounded in action whilst conducting nighttime operations in Uruzgan Province, Afghanistan. He recovered from his minor wounds and continued on the deployment.
He was involved in an incident in Uruzgan Province, Afghanistan that resulted in him being awarded the Victoria Cross for Australia and become the first Australian in almost 40 years to be awarded the nation's highest military honour. He was invested by her Excellency the Governor-General of Australia at Government House, Canberra.
Totally fabulous, he exceeded our expectations. he has a wonderful story and tells it in such a way to make every single person in the room listen and really feel connected. Amazing were the comments. Best speaker IÃ¢Â€Â™ve ever heard....what a wonderful story, incredible person...AND he met the brief totally....best speaker I've ever had meet my brief.
- Event Manager CI Events
Mark Donaldson gave a humbling address at our BOSS Emerging Leaders event on the 21 May 2014. Mark drew the largest crowd our events have seen in 3 years showing the great resonance that his personality and story has with Australians. Mark shared his incredible story from his turbulent early years to the harsh realities he faced during combat in Afghanistan, highlighting some key learnings and influences that he has taken away from his training. Mark gave a compelling, humble and emotionally driven speech that captivated our audience. Mark and his manager were a pleasure to work with and always acted with the utmost professionalism
- Joanne Gray, Editor BOSS Magazine