Even before he joined the Marine Corps, Chris Yates knew The American Legion would be a big part of his future.
His first encounter with the organization was as a teenager, when he participated in Colorado Boys State. “That was a tremendous experience I’ll never forget,” he says. “It still serves me well today. In high school, at Boys State, in Boy Scouts, in the Marine Corps, effective leadership is when you’re willing to lead by example. You get dirty. You do the work. You work with your brothers and sisters in making a difference for people’s lives.”
Whether leading from the front or taking on a supporting role, Yates has helped drive many of District 22’s recent successes, including hosting the first Legion Family Play Day, reviving American Legion Baseball in San Diego County after a 32-year hiatus, and finding ways to connect veterans suffering from TBI or PTSD with drug-free, non-invasive therapy.
“How I live that dash between the time I was born to the time that I’m put under a tombstone, I want to know that we made a difference. That’s what The American Legion provides to me, that’s what The American Legion provides to Vista, Calif., and it’s certainly what it provides to the nation, state and San Diego County.”
Branch of Service Marine Corps (1982-2002)
Rank Chief warrant officer
Military job Infantry
American Legion post Alvin Myo Dunn Post 365,
Years in the Legion 27
• Aide to department commander (2019-present)
• California American Legion College instructor (2018-present)
• National Americanism Council member (2011-present)
• District commander (2017-2019)
• Post commander (2003-2006, 2010-2013)