USS Peleliu and Other Amphibious Warships

Captain David Schnell is an honorably retired veteran who served in the US Navy for 27 years. A decorated officer, Captain David Schnell received a Defense Meritorious Service Medal, a Joint Service Commendation Medal, and a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal for his service. While in the Navy, David Schnell commanded the USS Peleliu, an amphibious warship.

The USS Peleliu, or LHA 5, is an assault ship that maintains national defense by quickly deploying US ground forces in remote locations. Amphibious warships are able to sail while under attack, and they provide the rapid buildup of forces on shores to combat opposition.

In addition to wartime activity, amphibious warships are used in disaster relief and humanitarian efforts. After Hurricane Katrina, a ship carrying thousands of police officers, firefighters, and rescue troops provided relief to New Orleans. Furthermore, amphibious warships provided support in the aftermath of the Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami in 2004.

The USS Peleliu is scheduled for decommissioning on March 31, 2015, making way for a new class of amphibious assault ships.


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A U.S. Navy veteran with more than 26 years of experience as an officer in increasingly challenging roles, including the command of two naval warships, David Schnell has a vast background in executive leadership, management, and team building. David Schnell’s military service offered him the chance to develop a wide range of skills in business management, crisis management, financial planning, and problem solving. He served in multiple deployments to the Arabian Gulf, provided combat support to ongoing military operations in the Middle East, and led thousands of sailors from a variety of different professional backgrounds. During his naval career, David Schnell served as Commanding Officer on board the USS Peleliu, an amphibious aircraft carrier and flagship for an expeditionary strike group, and the USS Ford, a guided missile frigate in support of an aircraft carrier strike group. During both commands, he led a total of 1,250 sailors and oversaw the security of 1,800 Marines in combat and support operations. David Schnell also held several staff positions in Washington, DC, including Staff Officer to the Chief of Naval Operations Deep Blue Directorate, where he offered technical guidance and expertise on emerging warfare concepts, and Branch Chief to the Joint Staff in the War on Terrorism Directorate, where he worked on anti-proliferation issues concerning weapons of mass destruction as well as biological and chemical agents. Schnell retired honorably from the Navy as a Captain and currently works in San Diego as Executive Director of Christ Kitchen, an organization that provides thousands of meals to people who are homeless and families in need. David Schnell also serves on the board of Walden Family Services and is a counselor with Royal Family Kids Camp, two organizations that offer assistance, support, and developmental activities to foster children.

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