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Capt. David Schnell assumes command


In a change-of-command ceremony held Friday, Sept. 4, on the flight deck of an amphibious aircraft carrier in San Diego, Calif., Capt. David A. Schnell, United States Navy, assumed command of USS Peleliu as its 19th commanding officer.

The presiding officer was Rear Admiral Earl L. Gay, commander of Expeditionary Strike Group Three.

Schnell, son of Dean and Pat Schnell of Bemidji, earned a bachelor's degree in political science from Bemidji State University in 1983. He attended Officer Candidate School in Newport, R.I., and was commissioned as ensign in the U.S. Navy in 1985.

His previous sea tours include service in the destroyer USS Berkeley, as fire control officer; Combat Information Center officer in the amphibious assault ship USS Tarawa; operations officer in the destroyer USS Callaghan; executive officer in the cruiser USS Vincennes, forward deployed to Yokosuka, Japan; and the 11th commanding officer of the frigate USS Ford.

His most recent overseas tour was to the Middle Eastern country of Bahrain, where he was assigned for three years as operations officer to the commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command.

During this tour, Schnell helped coordinate naval efforts in support of Operation Southern Watch and Operation Determined Effort, following the attack on USS Cole, and Operating Enduring Freedom following the attacks on Washing, D.C., and New York City.

Schnell's personal decoration include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Navy Achievement Medal and various service and campaign awards.

He and his wife, Alexandra, live in La Jolla, Calif.