USS Peleliu Played Key Role in Military and Humanitarian Efforts

Captain David Schnell is executive director of a San Diego-based service organization, Christ Kitchen. Prior to this role, Captain David Schnell gained significant leadership expertise as commander of the USS Peleliu, a US Navy warship. He was responsible for all day-to-day operations for the amphibious aircraft carrier, which was decommissioned in 2015.

Commissioned in 1980, the USS Peleliu traveled approximately 1 million nautical miles during its 35-year career. Approximately 58,000 sailors and Marines served aboard the USS Peleliu. Throughout its history, the ship had a part in many significant events, including carrying American troops to Afghanistan in 2001. In addition, the ship supported an evacuation after Mt. Pinatubo erupted in the Philippines and provided assistance after massive floods struck Pakistan in 2010.

The ship, which takes its name from the World War II Battle of Peleliu, will reside in inactive reserve at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. At the USS Peleliu’s decommissioning ceremony, veterans and service members who served on the ship paid homage to its history.


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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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