Department Commander

John Powell, Department Commander, 2020-2021

John joined the U.S. Navy, after high school and spent the next 20 years on active duty as the Rank of Chief Petty Officer. During his 20-year career John spent 14 of those years stationed aboard ships. Those ships included the USS Nassau (LHA-4), USS Preble (DDG-45), USS George Washington (CVN73) and the USS South Carolina (CGN 37). Throughout his Naval Career his primary job was Law Enforcement, Criminal Investigation and Anti-Terrorism. After retiring from active duty John took a job with the Isle of Wight County Virginia Sheriff’s Office as a Patrol Deputy. The final year there he was assigned to an undercover position with the Virginia State Police Drug Task Force. In the spring of 2001, he accepted a position with the Police Department at the U.S. Naval Academy. While there he held the rank of Major and was third in Command of the Police Department. In April 2005, his accomplishments were recognized when he was asked to join one of the White House Cabinet Members Protection Details. As a Special Agent / Special Deputy U.S. Marshall he was assigned to protect the Secretary of Veteran Affairs. In February 2007, he resigned his position and elected to return home to marry his wife, Michelle. Since transferring his American Legion membership to Wheeling Post #1 he has held the offices of President of the Home Corporation, 1st Vice Commander, Director of the Legion Riders and Commander. Under his leadership the Legion Riders has raised in excess of $12,000 in support of local veterans and the Legacy Fund. He has grown the Legion Riders from just two people in the beginning to as many as 25 and encompasses four Legion Posts in the 1st District. As 1st Vice Commander and Post Commander he has helped grow the membership from 150 members to a high of 285. As Commander he instituted a “Membership Engagement Plan” that has resulted in attendance at meetings with an increase from 7 to 10 members to averaging 25 members at each meeting. He is entering his 21st year as a member of the American Legion and is a 2018 Graduate of the National American Legion College..