CDCR staff reflect on the importance of Veterans Day, recognizing those who served their country. Originally known as Armistice Day, marking the end of hostilities after World War I, the day has expanded to recognize all military veterans.
Thomas F. Atkins, U.S. Army
Correctional Officer, Salinas Valley State Prison
“I went into the Army at the age of 17 in 1962. I served for 23 years. I was in Viet Nam from 1967-68, have two Purple Hearts and two Bronze Stars for bravery in battle. I’ve been in CDCR for 34 years. I’m 74 years old and still going strong.”
Ursula Stuter, U.S. Air Force
Staff Counsel, Office of Legal Affairs
Ursula Stuter is a U.S. Air Force veteran who served in military intelligence as a Russian Cryptologic Linguist during the Persian Gulf War. A highlight of her service included following the 1991 Soviet coup d’état attempt in real time and listening to Russian President Boris Yeltsin’s speech on the tank in Moscow.
After the Soviet Union fell, she was able to travel to St. Petersburg, Russia, and lived there for a few years. She still speaks Russian every day.
She is also proud for being able to serve the elderly and disabled veterans at the Yountville Veterans Home, where she was the Acting Administrator during the Tubbs and Atlas fires (Wine Country fires). Thankfully, even with full-scale evacuation orders, over 800 veterans made it through and not one life was lost.
Prerna M. Khanna, Texas State Guard
Physician, Internal Medicine Specialist
California Health Care Facility
“As a Lieutenant Colonel with the Medical Brigade of the Texas State Guard, my favorite activity during that service was Operation Lone star, where we provided primary care services to U.S. residents at the Texas-Mexico border after that area sustained damage from Tropical Storm Edouard and Hurricane Dolly, which both made landfall in deep south Texas in July 2008.”
Ernest Simon, U.S. Army
Submitted by Jon Simon, Parole Agent II
In February 1943, 19-year-old Ernest Simon joined the U.S. Army. Simon attended boot camp at Fort Ord, infantry division, at which time upwards of 50,000 troops were serving as a staging area for the war.
Simon was deployed to Saipan June 15, 1944. The infantry mission was to establish a base in the area of Luzon, Formosa, and the Chinese coast for which elements landed at night to support the Second and Fourth Marines. Simon’s leadership qualities advanced his standing as a Platoon leader during the Asiatic Pacific Campaign in WWII.
During his years of service, Sgt. First Class Simon received two Bronze Stars for his heroic meritorious achievements, a Purple Heart for being wounded in action and a Korean War service medal. Simon served five years for the U.S. Army 27th Infantry Division. Simon returned home to marry his beloved wife and started a family of three sons.
Frank Marulli, U.S. Marine Corps
Pelican Bay State Prison
Correctional Lt. Frank Marulli is retiring in November 2019, after serving 24 years with CDCR at Pelican Bay State Prison, where he has been assigned since 1995.
Marulli retired as a First Sergeant (E-8), at age 37, having served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1974 to 1995. He served with the 1st Marine Division during the evacuation of Viet Nam, the 3rd Marine Division during the Gulf War and with the 1st Marine Division in Mogadishu, Somalia.
He carries on a proud family tradition. His father, Frank Marulli Jr., served 31 years active duty in the U.S. Navy, with five full tours of duty in Viet Nam. After the military, he served 20 years as a Correctional Officer at the Correctional Training Facility in Soledad.
“I have one brother, Nick. He served 20 in the U.S. Navy. He went on to work at the National Security Agency (NSA) after retiring from the navy. I have one son, Frank IV, who retired from the U.S. Army in July 2019, after serving 20 years as an infantryman.”
Miatta Watts, U.S. Marine Corps
Special Agent, Office of Internal Affairs
“I served active duty in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1995 to 1999.
“I started at CDCR in October 1999. I was a Correctional Officer from 1999 to 2007, Correctional Sergeant from 2007 to 2008, Parole Agent from 2008 to 2017 and a Parole Agent II Specialist from 2017 to 2019.
“I’m currently a Special Agent with the Office of Internal Affairs-Southern Region.”
John Barker, USMC
Correctional Officer, Pelican Bay State Prison
Correctional Officer John Barker is currently assigned to Pelican Bay State Prison. He’s a U.S. Marine Corps veteran of Operation Desert Shield/Storm, Deployed with 3/3 India Company.
While in the California Army National Guard, he was part of multiple deployments to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Barker retired honorably after 24 years of service.
“Look to your left and right. These are the individuals that are going to cover your six in battle, and these are the individuals that YOU are going to cover in that same battle.”
Sgt. Diaz, USMC
Wasco State Prison
Sgt. Diaz served in the U.S. Marine Corps during Operation Enduring Freedom, 1999 to 2004, in the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit SOC, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force.
Scott Staton, US Navy
Rehabilitation Therapist, CSP-Corcoran
Scott Staton joined the US Navy in 1989. His first duty station was on the mighty dreadnought USS Missouri (BB63), aka the “Might Mo,” where he was assigned to the Commanding Officer, serving as his chef and steward in Long Beach.
“Not long after that it was off to the Persian Gulf for Operation Desert Shield. On Jan. 15, 1991, Desert Shield transitioned into Desert Storm and the Mighty Mo steamed 1/3 mile off the coast of Kuwait City down to Khafji repeatedly, and fired over 1 million pounds of 16-inch projectiles along with 28 Tomahawk missiles. There were multiple Scud and Silkworm missile attacks,” he wrote.
Staton was hit with CIWS (close-in weapon system) shrapnel.
The Missouri was decommissioned March 31, 1992, and Staton enrolled in Basic Underwater Demolition School, where he tore his ACL and got rolled back. After that he worked with ComDesGru5, and the USS Duluth (lpd6) for his second tour in the gulf.
“I have worked with veterans with substance use disorders and PTSD from 2013-2018. I am currently a Rehabilitation Therapist (Recreation) in EOP/AdSeg and ISUDT Ambassador at CDCR-Corcoran since 2018,” he wrote.
Celia Bell, U.S. Army
Chief Executive Officer, CSP-Corcoran
Celia Bell joined the U.S. Army and served on active duty from January 1990-94. She was stationed in Seoul, South Korea, Yongsan Army Base, and in Fort Ord, California, 8th Evacuation Hospital.
She continued serving in the U.S. Army Reserves and ultimately returned to active duty January 2003 for the War on Terror/Post 9-11.
She left her family and deployed to Kuwait during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom with the 211th CTC Transportation Company from January 2003 through June 2004.
Her dual Military Occupational Skills (MOS) were 71L Administrative Specialist and 88M Truck Driver. During her deployment, she served as Squad Leader, Camp Patriot, Kuwaiti Naval Base and Third Watch Non-Commissioned Officer In-Charge for flight, ship, and troop movement at Ali Al Salem Air base.
Michael Felder, U.S. Air Force
Chief Executive Officer, Kern Valley State Prison
Michael A. Felder, Lt. Col., MSC, U.S. Air Force (retired), served honorably for 26 years in the U.S Air Force.
Felder is the CEO for Kern Valley State Prison.
He joined California Correctional Health Care Services in 2015.
Food Services staff veterans
CSP-Los Angeles County
Submitted by Maria Benak, Supervising Correctional Cook
“Our Food Service Department is riddled with veterans starting with the Food Manager Mark Howard, U.S. Marine Corps; Mr. Shaupert, U.S. Marine Corps; Mr. Carson, U.S. Navy; Mrs. Olmeda, U.S. Navy; Mr. Villegas, U.S. Army; Mr. Salagubang U.S. Navy; Mr. Bolton, U.S. Army 1st & 11th Armored Calvary Fulda, Germany. I am proud of our staff for many reasons but exceptionally so because they raised their right hand and entered a surreal responsibility only those who have served have the privilege of knowing. Thank you all for your service!
“I would like to also recognize my husband who served in the 1980s under President Ronald Reagan. While he was deployed often as a United States Marine, he made every effort to be with his wife and son. In fact we lived on an extension of Camp Pendleton. When anywhere you heard the National Anthem, you stood still and when every Sunday the Marine Corps Marching band made its way through the winding streets of our utopia. It was great fun to have lived in such a rich time of patriotism and of which my husband served without hesitation. We are a proud family of Marines. My uncle Ronnie served as a Merchant Marine and is in his late-90s today. Uncle Thomas is also a veteran of the Vietnam War as well as uncle Frank. My son Aaron served in his father’s footsteps as my late son Daren ready to have been ‘sworn in’ only to have passed prior. They served and we are proud. “
Norberto Gonzales, USMC
Correctional Officer, Valley State Prison
“I served in the Marine Corps from 1992-2010. Deployed to Somali in 1994, served in Operation Iraqi Freedom 2003, 2004, and Operation Enduring Freedom 2010.
“I’ve seen and have been exposed to a lot of good and bad in the world, and I would do it all over again, and wouldn’t trade my experience in service to this country for anything.
“I was blessed to have great leaders who guided me along the way and great young men I’m proud and honored to have fought and served alongside. To the men who I lost in both wars, I’ll always keep you in my thoughts and close to my heart, for you are my heroes, and gave me an appreciation of life.”
In the military, Gonzales was a Staff Sergeant.
Twila Bobino, U.S. Army
Alameda County Probation
Submitted by Tonia Wells, Division of Adult Parole Operations
Twila Bobino was in the U.S. Army from 1989 to 1997, assigned to the Air Defense Artillery Brigade with the 32nd Army and Missile Defense Command working on the Patriot Missile System. Bobino worked for Alameda County Probation Department, Juvenile Justice Center, as a Juvenile Institutional Officer ll working with at-risk-youth offenders between the ages of 11 to 17.
She provided individual and group counseling to the youth offenders regarding their relationships, attitudes toward authority, behavior problems and social adjustment as well as their adjustment to the detention facility. She interviewed the youth offenders as part of the booking and fingerprinting process to elicit information and to explain the conditions of their probation while they are being detained as well as counseling them regarding compliance with the terms and conditions of their probation when released from the facility. She retired from the Alameda County Probation Department in 2018.
Veterans in Office of Legal Affairs (OLA) hidden in plain sight
Submitted by Ursula Stuter, attorney, OLA
Around Veterans’ Day every year, it seems that military veterans are suddenly everywhere. But most of the time veterans are hidden in plain sight. In fact, there are at least 12 veterans currently working in the Headquarters Office of Legal Affairs.
The Army has five former service members, Navy four, Air Force two, and recently a USMC veteran joined the team.
Our veterans, many of whom are fairly shy and don’t want a “fuss” made about their service, have served in a variety of jobs. Flight deck, linguist, and cook, to name a few.
OLA also has a couple of officers who served as lawyers in uniform before they joined the CDCR team. Two out of the 12 veterans are female. Service dates range from the 1970s to more recent, with the majority serving late 1980s into the ’90s. If you ask any vet about their service, most will say it was an honor to serve. And we continue to do so here at CDCR, hidden in plain sight.
Dennis M. Beaty, U.S. Navy
Assistant General Counsel, OLA
Dennis Beaty is a U.S. Navy veteran who served aboard U.S.S. Voge DE-FF 1047 from 1974 to 1978 as an Operations Specialist engaged in antisubmarine warfare.
He tells us of an experience that occurred on Aug. 28, 1976, when the Soviet Echo II Submarine broadsided his ship in the middle of the Ionian Basin of the Mediterranean Sea.
“Having nearly capsized and floating dead in the water with a hole in the bottom of your ship many miles from the nearest land causes one to ponder the meaning of life and recalculate one’s direction into the future,” he said. “I relive it every day of my life.”
Rodolfo Luna, USAF
Correctional Lieutenant, San Quentin State Prison
Submitted by Sgt. SJ Sangmaster, SQ
Lt. Rodolfo Luna served in the U.S. Air Force for 30 years, working many assignments including Office of Special Investigations, Air Force Academy Instructor, which grooms Officer Candidate Cadets into Officers in the U.S. Air Force. He was also part of Operation SNOCAP, a counter-narcotics operation conducted by the DEA and the U.S. military. The operation seized 53 metric tons of cocaine.
“This is a small sample of a long, decorated career, which, in turn has helped contribute to one of the best supervisors at San Quentin State Prison,” wrote Sgt. Sangmaster. “He is currently assigned to the San Quentin Watch Commander position on third watch. Prior to promoting to Lieutenant, Luna was assigned to the Administrative Assistant position at San Quentin. … He was also a member of the Negotiations Management Team.”
Mark Navarro, USAF
Staff Services Analyst, OLA
Mark Navarro is a U.S. Air Force veteran who served as a Staff Sergeant in Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm. He also served as part of the 37th TFW F-117A Stealth Fighter Nighthawk Squadron in Nevada. He comes from a family that has served in the military for generations.
He said he is especially proud of his grandfather, Medardo Navarro, and his WWII U.S. Marine Corps service. Medardo earned a Silver Star Medal, which is the third-highest personal decoration for valor in combat.
Mark’s father, Thomas, was a USAF SMSGT in Vietnam, and his Uncle Moe also served in Vietnam. The tradition continues with Mark’s son, Mark II, who recently served in the U.S. Army and was deployed twice to Iraq.
Beata Meek, Nevada Air National Guard
Correctional Counselor, California Correctional Center
Beata Meek has been with CDCR for nine years.
“My unit is located in Reno, Nev. I’m currently serving in the Nevada Air National Guard, rank of E4- Services (Cooking, Lodging, Readiness, Fitness, and Mortuary). I have never been deployed and I have been serving our country for eight years. I started my military career at Beale AFB as a reservist, then later transferred to Nevada Air National Guard.”
Michael O. Bawarski, USMC
Correctional Officer, Calipatria State Prison
Michael Bawarski was part of the Third Battalion, Fifth Marine Regiment, in Camp Pendleton, with a Military Occupational Specialty of Communications.
He began his military service in 1995 at the rank of Private upon completion of basic training in Parris Island, South Carolina, and was subsequently promoted meritoriously, twice.
In 1997 he was promoted to the rank of Corporal, the rank at which he separated from military service in 1999.
Kenneth Dixon, USMC
From 1981 to 2001, Kenneth Dixon served in the U.S. Marine Corps. He served in the First Gulf War as a platoon sergeant assigned to the Third Marine Aircraft Wing and as a Contingency Contracting Officer for the First Service Support Group in Saudi Arabia.
He also served as the sole Marine Contracting Officer for Marine Forces Europe in Stuttgart, Germany.
He retired after 20 years and is currently a CDCR parole agent.
Alonzo Chaddock, Union Army, 1861-65
Carl Chaddock, US Army Air Corps
Danny Chaddock, USAF
Submitted by Don Chaddock, OPEC
Going back to the Revolutionary War, the Chaddocks have served during times of peace and conflict.
In 1861, Alonzo “Lon” Chaddock joined the Union effort in the Civil War as a Private with the 11th Kentucky Volunteer Infantry. He was mustered out of service in 1865, at the end of the war. He spent the last years of his life in a U.S. National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers.
Carl Chaddock, my grandfather, served in the U.S. Army Air Corps in the Pacific theater during WWII.
Danny Chaddock, my father, served as a sergeant in the U.S. Air Force in Vietnam from 1966-68. He went on to a law enforcement career as a police officer for nearly 30 years.