The USS Peleliu

USS Peleliu pic
USS Peleliu

Since 2012, David Schnell has served as the general manager of Los Angeles express lanes for the Americas Commercial & State Transportation Group in Los Angeles, California. He is also a retired naval Captain who served as executive and commanding officer of several U.S. Navy warships over the course of his 27-year military career. One of the warships under Captain David Schnell’s command was the USS Peleliu.

Categorized in the United States Navy’s Tarawa class, the amphibious assault ship USS Peleliu first launched in 1978 under the name “Da Nang ,” but it ultimately took the name Peleliu in honor of the Third Amphibious Force’s capture of the eponymous Palau island. Members of the military also know the USS Peleliu by its nickname the “Iron Nickel.”

Over the course of its service, the USS Peleliu deployed 17 times into battle and conducted more than 178,000 aircraft movements. All told, the ship traveled nearly 1,012,000 nautical miles.

The Navy decommissioned the USS Peleliu in 2015. It was welcomed into retirement by 10 former commanding officers, as well as hundreds of past and present crew members.


Walden Family Services’ Transitional Housing and Foster Care Program

Walden Family Services pic
Walden Family Services

Captain David Schnell served in the US Navy for more than 26 years, commanding two warships, the USS Ford and the USS Peleliu. Captain David Schnell now sits on the board of California-based Walden Family Services, which serves youth in the San Diego, Los Angeles, and Riverside areas.

As part of its efforts to assist youth in need, Walden Family Services operates a transitional housing and foster care program that serves youth between 18 and 21. With 65 percent of youth aging out of the foster care system without a home, this age group often requires additional support services.

Through the organization’s unique transitional housing and foster care program, young adults benefit from both individual and group therapy to learn to cope with stress related to domestic violence and substance abuse, among other stressors.

Youth also learn a variety of basic life skills, such as developing healthy relationships, preparing meals, managing a budget, and searching for jobs. To participate in the program, they must also agree to deposit at least $25 into a savings account as part of their measures to live independently upon graduation.

Oliver Hazard Perry-class Ships

Oliver Hazard Perry-class pic
Oliver Hazard Perry-class

Retired U.S. Navy Captain David Schnell, a decorated officer with more than 25 years of experience, now helps people in need of food as executive director of Christ Kitchen, a San Diego-based nonprofit. Over his tenure in military service, Captain David Schnell commanded a number of ships, including the U.S.S. Ford, an Oliver Hazard Perry-class vessel.

A type of ship designed to combat enemy submarines, the Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided-missile frigate (FFG) also includes anti-aircraft weaponry that permits it to attack enemies both above and below. The Navy envisioned this class to function as an escort craft for key assets like carrier battle groups as they moved across open water on their missions.

Though Oliver Hazard Perry-class ships in the Navy have all been decommissioned, many foreign-owned-and-built versions of these ships are still in active service. For example, two presently serve the Australians under the names H.M.A.S. Melbourne and H.M.A.S. Newcastle.

Christ’s Kitchen Provides Food to Underserved San Diego Residents

Christ’s Kitchen in San Diego
Christ’s Kitchen in San Diego


Captain David Schnell brings more than 26 years of service with the U.S. Navy to his current role as general manager of the Americas Commercial & State Transportation Group’s Los Angeles Express Lanes program. Holding an undergraduate degree in political science and an MBA from St. Mary’s College, Captain David Schnell draws from his vast leadership experience in his work as the executive director of Christ’s Kitchen in San Diego.

Christ’s Kitchen provides food to homeless and underserved residents in the greater San Diego area. As part of the Bread of Life Rescue Mission, which serves as an overnight homeless shelter in the city of Oceanside annually from December 1 through March 31, Christ’s Kitchen prepares and serves hundred of meals to guests at the shelter, who are also offered referrals to substance abuse programs and information about other community resources.

According to the 2016 homeless census, Oceanside’s homeless population has more than doubled since 2015, making it the second-largest in the county. This has put significant pressure on organizations such as Christ’s Kitchen and has limited their ability to extend resources to all in need. In light of this increase, the mission is currently working to become a year-round shelter to help address homelessness in Oceanside.