Despite facing a strong tropical cyclone offshore near Okinawa, Japan, with 110-knot winds and 28-foot swells, the USS Ford (FFG-54), commanded by Captain David Schnell, completed its five-month mission and returned to Naval Station Everett. Led by Captain David Schnell, who retired honorably after a nearly 30-year career in the United States Navy, and his crew used evasive maneuvers to avoid the worst of the cyclone.
Friends and family members greeted the sailors who had been away for more than six months at Naval Station Everett. During its deployment, which was extended by an additional month, the crew patrolled the Western Pacific, South China Sea, and Sea of Japan. While there, it participated in various naval exercises, including Northern Edge, Joint Air-Sea Exercise (JASEX), and Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC). “It was a great deployment. We did get extended for a month, but the crew took it in stride. As a consolation, we ended up getting a port visit to Australia,” said Captain Schnell.
Former Navy Officer Captain David Schnell serves as the vice president of operations for the electronic tolling division of Xerox’s Americas Commercial & State Transportation Group (ACSTG). During his time in the Navy, Captain David Schnell served as commander of two ships – USS Ford and USS Peleliu.
In recent years, Newport News Shipbuilding began constructing a new class of Navy supercarriers. Known as the Gerald R. Ford class of aircraft carriers or simply the Ford class, the new ships include a pair of redesigned reactors that improve onboard electrical capacity by 250 percent. In addition to improving weapons loading and aircraft launch times, the new reactors will save the Navy approximately $4 billion over the course of the ship’s 50-year lifespan.
In terms of design, the Ford class represents the first class of aircraft carrier modeled entirely using advanced 3D design platforms. All components of the ship were created at full scale in a 3D model, allowing for seamless integration of design, planning, engineering, and construction.
The first Ford class carrier has completed construction and is currently awaiting commissioning. To learn more, visit www.thefordclass.com.
The general manager of Los Angeles Express Lanes for the Americas Commercial & State Transportation Group, Captain David Schnell served 27 years in the United States Navy. Over the course of his military career, Captain David Schnell commanded two American warships including the USS Ford.
An Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided-missile frigate, the USS Ford bears the name of Gunner’s Mate Second Class and Vietnam War hero Patrick Osborne Ford. The Los Angeles division of the Todd Pacific Shipyards Corporation constructed the ship. Todd Pacific laid the USS Ford’s keel on July 16, 1983. The ship’s christening took place June 23, 1984, and the Navy commissioned the vessel on June 29, 1985.
The USS Ford measured 453 feet in length and supported 17 officers and 198 enlisted sailors. Using two General Electric LM2500 gas turbines and two 350-horsepower electric-drive auxiliary propulsion units to power a single five-bladed propeller, the ship was capable of reaching speeds in excess of 28 knots. Decommissioned on October 31, 2013, the USS Ford received a formal farewell ceremony at Washington State’s Naval Station Everett.
Captain David Schnell retired from the U.S. Navy after 27 years of service. Having commanded two naval warships, Captain David Schnell was awarded numerous medals over the course of his distinguished career. Among them is the Defense Meritorious Service Medal (DMSM).
On November 3, 1977, then President Jimmy Carter signed Executive Order 12019 establishing the DMSM. It is the third highest Defense/Joint peacetime award. The DMSM has similar criteria as the Meritorious Service Medal, but it is bestowed upon those assigned to specified joint activities.
Aside from U.S. armed forces members who are on active duty, the award is also given to armed forces members of friendly foreign nations. The meritorious service rendered is primarily for a time period of more than 12 months and covers a person’s entire joint assignment, including any extensions. The achievement or service must clearly separate the individual from his or her peers.
About Captain David Schnell
A decorated officer of the United States Navy, Captain David Schnell earned the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Navy & Marine Corps Achievement Metal, and the Joint Service Commendation Medal during his many years of service.