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National Leadership

National Officers

National Commander
Donald McLean (MA)

National First

Vice Commander

William F. Clark (NC)

National Second

Vice Commander
Horace Johnson (FL)

 

National Third

Vice Commander
Paul Shipley (PA)

 

National Judge Advocate
PNC James B. King (IL)

 

National Deputy

Judge Advocate

Marty Bugaj

 

National Finance Officer
Donald Stream (MO)

 

National Provost Marshal
Arthur L. Majors (OH)

 

National Finance Committee
PNC Joseph Peining (FL)
Christopher Studebaker (IL)

PNC Gregory Heun (KY)

National Chaplain
Milton Allen (GA)

National Districts

District I

Dana Dillon (CT)

 

District II

James Barrett (WV)

 

District III

Fredrick Bates (GA)

District IV
Jackie Randolph (IN)

 

District V

Wayne Kruger (MO)

District VI
Ross Smith (CA)

AMVETS National Commander Donald McLean

Donald “Don” McLean joined AMVETS Post 51 in Randolph, Mass., in 2000.  He held post and district offices before becoming a state officer in 2011. He was elected Department Commander in 2015 and State National Executive Committeeman in 2016.  He was elected National 3rd Vice Commander in 2018, National 2nd Vice Commander in 2019, and National 1st Vice Commander in 2021.  Commander McLean was elected to AMVETS’ highest office in August 2022 at the AMVETS National Convention in New Orleans.

 

Commander McLean joined the Coast Guard Reserve in 1969 in Boston.  After boot camp and a tour of duty on a Coast Guard cutter, he was assigned to the Brockton Reserve Training Center in the “Bay State.”  He served aboard various small boat stations, Joint Base Cape Cod, and at the Integrated Sciences

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Complex Boston.  Commander McLean served onboard four different cutters and trained at the U.S. Naval Construction Battalion Center Davisville, R.I.; Yorktown; Va.; and Alameda and Petaluma, Calif.  After serving for more than 32 years, he retired in 2011.

 Commander McLean joined the Pipefitters union in Boston after his first active-duty tour, working in commercial construction in the New England area.  His job sites included computer chip manufacturing, electric power generation stations, both nuclear and fossil fuel, pharmaceuticals manufacturing, and high-rise office buildings. Commander McLean holds many different states licenses including master pipefitter.  During that time, MA Master pipefitter attended Wentworth Institute of Technology at night, graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree, Cum Laude, in Construction Management.  He retired from this work in 2015. 

 

Before becoming AMVETS National Commander, he was enjoying retirement, relaxing on his deck with his wife Peggy, and caring for their grandchildren.

 

Commander McLean has chaired several prominent national AMVETS committees that make up the foundational role of the organization. His priorities for his tenure are suicide prevention and advocating for continued expansion of resources focused on women veterans. The measured voice and unique perspective he has provided during his rise to leadership is recognized nationwide by AMVETS members.

National Executive Director Joseph R. Chenelly

Joseph R. Chenelly was appointed national executive director of AMVETS 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 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.

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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 Timesnewspapers, 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 2005-2007, and for 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.