AMVETS in Action

Leadership Bios

National Commander Harold Chapman

Harold Chapman
Harold Chapman

Harold Chapman, a resident of Long Island, New York, is the 73rd AMVETS National Commander. An Air Force veteran, he previously held national-level offices include service as National 1st Vice Commander from 2015 to 2016, National 2nd Vice Commander for Programs from 2014 to 2015, and as AMVETS National Finance Officer from 2012 to 2014.

Chapman has held command positions at every AMVETS echelon. He commanded New York Post 18 in East Islip, New York, for two consecutive terms from 1995 through 1997, and then held each chair in sequence at the Department of New York level before taking command of the entire department and its more than 70 posts in 2002. Chapman then served two terms as New York’s representative to AMVETS’s National Executive Committee until 2008, when he took command of AMVETS District I, an area that includes all AMVETS members and posts in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.

Chapman is an honorably discharged veteran of the United States Air Force whose Vietnam War-era service includes postings at air bases in California and Texas as well as 18 months spent in the Pacific theater. Chapman is a former appointee to the New York State Veterans Advisory Committee and the recipient of AMVETS National Headquarters’ award for successful efforts to grow membership throughout District I. He has also previously been recognized as the Department of New York’s AMVET of the Year.

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National Executive Director Joseph R. Chenelly

Joseph R. Chenelly was appointed national executive director of the nation’s fourth largest veterans service organization in May 2016. In this capacity, he administers the policies of AMVETS, supervises its national headquarters operations and provides direction, as needed, to state and local components. Joe previously served as AMVETS’ national communications director.

Joe Chenelly is the first veteran of combat operations in Afghanistan and Iraq to lead one of the nation’s four largest veterans service organizations’ staffs.

A native of Rochester, N.Y., Joe enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in March 1998, serving with the 1st Marine Division, and was honorably discharged as a Staff Sergeant in April 2006. He is a combat veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, having served in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Kuwait, East Timor and the Horn of Africa.

Joe became a veterans advocate, a journalist, and a political adviser after his time in uniform. He covered military and veterans matters on staff with Leatherneck magazine, the Military Times newspapers, USA TODAY and Gannet News, reporting on operations in the Middle East, Southwest Asia, Africa, as well as disaster relief in the United States.

Joe was named one of the 100 “most influential journalists covering armed violence” by Action on Armed Violence in 2013. He was the first U.S. Marine combat correspondent to step into enemy territory after September 11, 2001, as a military reporter in Pakistan and Afghanistan. He also reported from the front-lines with American and allied forces in Kuwait and Iraq as that war began. He was on the ground for the start of both Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Joe served as AMVETS’ national communications director in 2005, and for the past eight years as assistant national director for communications for the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) in Washington, D.C. leading grassroots efforts through social networking and new media.

He has also served as president of Social Communications, LLC, and as a public affairs officer director for the Department of Navy. Joe is an alumni of Syracuse University and Central Texas College. He resides in Fairport, N.Y., with his wife Dawn, a service-connected disabled Air Force veteran, and their five children.

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