TAMPA, Fla.—Combat-wounded Vietnam War veteran and Huntington, WV, native Andrew Marshall was unanimously elected national commander of the more than 1 million member DAV (Disabled American Veterans) today at the organization’s 2021 National Convention in Tampa, Florida.
“After more than a year of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, I couldn’t be prouder to be in a position to help DAV as we continue to help veterans transition back to normal,” said Marshall.
As an airborne infantryman serving with the Americal Division in the Khe Sanh Valley in Vietnam in December 1970, Marshall was injured by friendly fire while engaged in enemy combat. After two weeks of recovery, he was transferred to the 173rd Airborne Brigade and returned to the field. On patrol in January 1971, he stepped on an improvised booby trap. The explosion injured his lower extremities, resulting in the amputation of two toes and extensive damage to his left leg.
Marshall was medically retired from the Army having received the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, and Army Commendation Medal with “V” device. He went on to join DAV’s professional ranks as a benefits specialist, supervisor and leader, dedicating 41 years to serving his fellow veterans and their families.
“I’m honored to pick up the torch after National Commander Stephen Whitehead carried it for two years, the first time a commander has done so since World War II. As we get back to business, I’m encouraged by the tenacity of our members and our fellow veterans all across this nation,” said Marshall. “We will continue to fight to make sure all of their voices are heard as we protect their benefits and advocate for legislation to improve the lives of all veterans.”
As supervisor of DAV’s national service office in Bay Pines, Florida, Marshall initiated a claim on behalf of a veteran that ultimately resulted in a change to national Department of Veterans Affairs policy by allotting multiple clothing allowances for amputees and other severely disabled veterans.
Marshall served for three years on the Florida Veterans Advisory Committee and was also assigned to the DAV Judicial Appeals Office in Washington, D.C.
“We’ve had a tough couple of years, and many times we’ve had to adapt quickly to unexpected hurdles,” said DAV CEO Marc Burgess. “Commander Marshall has been a pivotal leader for our organization, and I look forward to seeing how far he can take us as our national commander.”