The national commander is the chief executive officer and official spokesman of The American Legion, with full power to enforce provisions of the organization’s constitution, bylaws and resolutions. Each national commander serves a one-year term, after which a new leader is elected at the national convention. Five national vice commanders who serve different regions are also elected at the national convention each year.
Dan Dellinger of Vienna, Va., was elected national commander of the 2.4 million-member American Legion on Aug. 29, 2013, in Houston, during the 95th national convention of the nation’s largest veterans organization.
He became an Army infantry officer after graduating with a degree in criminology from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He served at Fort Benning, Ga., during the Vietnam War and entered the U.S. Army Reserve in 1972, separating from the service in 1984 at the rank of captain.
A member of the Dyer-Gunnell American Legion Post 180 in Vienna since 1982, Dellinger was made a life member in 1990. He has served as post, district and department commander and chaired numerous committees. At the national level, he chaired the Legislative, National Security and Economics commissions as well as the Aerospace Committee. He served as chairman of the Legislative Council and Membership and Post Activities Committee. He has been a member of the Foreign Relations Council, Policy Coordination, Veterans Planning and Coordinating committees as well as the Legislative Council.
Dellinger is a member of the Sons of the American Legion, Past Commanders and Adjutants Club, Past Department Commander’s Club, ANAVICUS and the Citizens Flag Alliance. He has served as a presidential appointee on the Federal Taskforce on SBA Hiring and as vice mayor of the town of Vienna, Va., as well as serving three terms as town councilman. He is a member of the Loyal Order of the Moose and the Loyal Order of the Kentucky Colonels.
He owned and operated a construction management and general contracting firm for 20 years specializing in commercial, institutional and industrial construction.
Dellinger and his wife, Margaret, reside in Vienna. Margaret served as American Legion Auxiliary Unit 180 president for four years and is a past department president of Virginia; daughter, Anne, is a 23-year member of Unit 180; and son, Scott, is a 28-year member of Sons of The American Legion Squadron 180.
Dellinger's theme is "Building for Tomorrow – Today."