Donnie Patrick was born on September 10, 1937, in Ohio. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy on October 5, 1954, and completed basic training at NTC Great Lakes, Illinois, in December 1954. His first assignment was aboard the tank landing ship USS Mahoning County (LST-914) from January to November 1955, followed by service aboard the attack cargo ship USS Mathews (AKA-96) from November 1955 to June 1956. Petty Officer Patrick served aboard the high speed transport USS Cavallaro (APD-128) from June 1956 to January 1959, and then attended Underwater Demolition Team Replacement Accession training with Class 026 at NAB Coronado, California, from February to July 1961. He next served with Underwater Demolition Team ELEVEN (UDT-11) at NAB Coronado from July 1961 to June 1967, deploying to Subic Bay in the Philippines and to Southeast Asia with his Team from April 1964 to September 1966. His final assignment was with SEAL Team ONE at NAB Coronado from June 1967 to February 1968, and then deployed to Southeast Asia with his Team from February 1968 until he was killed in action in South Vietnam on May 15, 1968. Donnie Patrick was buried at Fort Rosecrans National Cemtery in San Diego, California.
His Bronze Star Medal w/Valor Citation reads:
For meritorious service in connection with operations against the enemy while serving in the Republic of South Vietnam from 22 February 1968 to 15 May 1968. Petty Officer PATRICK distinguished himself as point man for MIKE Platoon, SEAL Team Detachment Golf, operating in the Rung Sat Special Zone and the Ham Luong River area of the Mekong Delta. Petty Officer PATRICK participated in over 20 combat missions and was taken under fire on several occasions. As point man, Petty Officer PATRICK was responsible for safely guiding his patrols through extremely difficult and hazardous terrain, including tidal swamps and thick jungle growth. Petty Officer PATRICK's alertness and pinpoint navigation, in areas where the visibility was 10 feet or less, was responsible for the location of two Viet Cong base camps, subsequently destroyed by his patrol. On the night of 3 April 1968, Petty Officer PATRICK volunteered for an operation with a small group of provincial reconnaissance unit personnel, involving the capture of a Viet Cong squad leader. Using the utmost in stealth and speed to preclude compromise, the patrol accomplished the mission. On the night of 5 April 1968, Petty Officer PATRICK's platoon was waiting in ambush on a stream deep in enemy territory. As flank security for the Ambush Team, Petty Officer PATRICK detected an estimated 3-5 Viet Cong moving within 15 meters of his platoon's position. Due to the limited visibility caused by darkness and jungle growth, it was impossible to sight the enemy. For the next 10 hours Petty Officer PATRICK sat motionless to prevent compromising his position. The following morning, as the PBR's were approaching for the platoon's extraction, Petty Officer PATRICK observed five armed Viet Cong in two sampans in a small inlet 15 meters away looking in the direction of the patrol. Almost simultaneously the automatic weapons man in the SEAL Patrol spotted the Viet Cong and opened fire. Petty Officer PATRICK rolled over the stream bank, threw a hand grenade and commenced firing his rifle at the enemy. The Viet Cong automatic weapons, which had begun firing, was suppressed by Petty Officer PATRICK's grenade. Petty Officer PATRICK's devotion to duty, courage under fire and outstanding leadership were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
Petty Officer PATRICK is authorized to wear the Combat "V".