Donald L. Samuels


A native of Louisville, Kentucky, Samuels served in the Marine Corps from 1960 to 1969, when he was discharged due to injuries sustained in the Battle for Hill 881N near Khe Sanh, Vietnam. While leading his infantry platoon in a ground assault against North Vietnamese Regulars as the platoon sergeant, 1st Platoon, India Company, 3rd Battalion, 26th Marine Regiment, he sustained multiple gunshot wounds, resulting in the partial loss of use of his right hand.

Following the 2,600-hour VA Vocational Chapter 31 Training Program, Samuels was assigned as the NSO supervisor at the Nashville, Tennessee, DAV National Service Office in 1970, serving in that capacity until his retirement in 1989.

In addition to his university studies, he completed two years of law school and has attended 13 special finance schools as the treasurer on the volunteer board of directors of the U.S. Community Credit Union in Nashville.

Since 1989, Samuels has served as the assistant commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Veterans Affairs until retirement on April 30, 2011, where he was overall claims activity; outreaches; legislation and played a part in establishing state veteran cemeteries and veteran nursing homes in Tennessee.

A life member of Chapter 3 in Nashville, Samuels has held a wide variety of chapter and department positions, including chapter commander. He currently serves as department adjutant, hospital service coordinator and department service officer director, as well as being a past member of the National Legislative Interim Committee and past chairman of the POW/MIA Interim Committee. He is the co-chair of Operation Stand Down Nashville, a homeless veterans operation that has received national recognition. He was elected to national office as the national 3rd senior vice commander at the organization’s 2007 National Convention in New Orleans.

Samuels and his spouse, Sandra, reside in Gallatin, Tennessee. He is the father of two sons, one a master gunnery sergeant, the other a staff sergeant in the Marine Corps; two daughters and nine grandchildren.