On Sunday, July 16, 2017, Mrs. Laurel Clewell was sworn in as the Department of Wisconsin American Legion Commander. The official swearing in ceremony took place on the final day of the 99th Annual Department of Wisconsin American Legion Convention being held at the Radisson Paper Valley Hotel in downtown Appleton. The convention drew 1,000+ Wisconsin veterans and their families to Appleton. Clewell is the second female to be selected to hold the noble position of Department Commander.
Clewell most recently has been serving as a Vice Commander for the Department of Wisconsin. She is a dual member of the American Legion and the American Legion Auxiliary and paid-up for life member of both via the Appleton American Legion’s Oney Johnston/Edward Blessman Post No. 38 and Appleton American Legion Auxiliary Unit No. 38.
In 2012 she retired from the U.S. Army Reserve as a Command Sergeant Major with 36 years of service. Clewell enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserve on 11 March 1976 and was assigned to Alpha Company in the 1st Battalion/274th Regiment, 2nd Brigade, of the 84th Division then located on Ballard Road in Appleton. She held many positions and trained in five military occupations to include administrative specialists, clerical, cook, career counselor and court reporter.
“I was a soldier in the Active Guard Reserve for three years at the 2nd Battalion/274th Regiment, 2nd Brigade, of the 84th Division in Menasha, WI and then continued in Menasha as the DA Civilian Unit Administrator for another two years”, explains Clewell. “I became an instructor and traveled to many areas including Madison, Fort McCoy, and Fort Snelling, MN to teach an MOS producing school”, she continued. Clewell was specially selected to be one of the soldiers to establish the ROTC Brigade in Milwaukee, WI. Instead, in December 1998, she was promoted to the rank of First Sergeant for Delta Company in the 3rd Battalion/274th Regiment, 2nd Brigade, of the 84th Division in Oshkosh, WI and continued to work and mentor soldiers. She was selected as the Rear Detachment Commander in 2008-2009 for a year of activation in Neenah, WI. On 1 December 2009, Clewell was promoted to Command Sergeant Major for the 389th Engineer Battalion in Dubuque, Iowa. Department Commander Clewell is eligible for the American Legion because of her service during Desert Shield in 1991 and also in 2008 during the Global War on Terror.
“I have been a member of Appleton’s Post No. 38 for 16 years”, said Clewell. “My positions at Appleton’s Post No. 38 have included serving as the adjutant, finance officer, on the executive committee, member of the house committee, all vice commander positions, and commander of Appleton’s Post No. 38”, Clewell continued. She has also served in various positions on the county, state and national levels of the American Legion that were devoted to focusses on national and homeland security, children and youth, marketing and fundraising. “To me, my service in the U.S. Army Reserve and our country was an honor and a privilege. I feel the American Legion is an extension of the military. We are veterans still serving veterans, veterans’ families and our community. I look forward to continuing my American Legion journey and helping the veterans and Legion families of Wisconsin.”, said Clewell.
Department Commander Laurel Clewell was born and raised in Appleton. In her civilian life she works part-time as an Associate at Wichmann-Fargo Funeral Homes & Crematories. She worked in accounts payable for the City of Appleton until her retirement there in 2014. She is married to Gordon Clewell (also a paid-up for life member of the Appleton American Legion Post No. 38), and has two children, six grandchildren and four step-children. Her son Pete is a member of the Appleton Sons of the American Legion Squadron No. 38 and her daughter Teresa is a paid-up for life member of the Appleton American Legion Auxiliary Unit No. 38.