COL William M. Steinkirchner
During his military career COL Steinkirchner has served in various capacities from Vulcan, Chaparral and Stinger Platoon leader to Assistant Deputy Director for Homeland Defense at the Pentagon. He has been awarded two Legion of Merits, a Defense Meritorious Service Medal and three Meritorious Service Medals.
Mark Johnson, Superior (Veterans) Court Judge
COL Mark Johnson served in the US Army with the 1st Armored Division in Germany and South Korea. He was deployed to Iraq 2003-2004 with the 1st Cavalry Division to assist in drafting a new Iraqi Constitution. He was awarded the Bronze Star, legion of Merit and five times the Meritorious Service Medal. Currently, he serves as the Riverside County Veterans Court Judge.
SGT Ruben Sanchez
After enlisting in the Marine Corps and completing Boot Camp, SGT Sanchez was deployed to Korea for infantry/survival training, weapons and artillery training. He was deployed to Vietnam where he served with Mike Battery, 4th Battalion, 12th Marines, 3rd Marine Division and fought gallantly during the Tet Offensive, 1968. He was awarded the Bronze Star for his battle efforts.
U.S. Marines Corporal Ron Richmond
Ron Richmond served in the United State Marine Corps from 1965 to 1967. He was a part of the first groups drafted for the Vietnam War. Upon his honorable discharge, he achieved the rank of Corporal. We got to learn about many aspects of Ron’s life including his family and memories from his time in Vietnam. He also took the time to offer advice for future generations. This is his story.
U.S. Marines William McDowell
William (Jack) McDowell served in the United States Marine Corps from 1945 to 1968. Jack was a part of the first generation of African Americans permitted to join the Marine Corps (Executive Order 9981, Truman) and promptly stationed at the port of Tengku on the east coast of China, where bandits would often rob train cars with force. This is his story.
U.S. Army Air Corps Seargent William Becker
William Becker served in the United States Army as part of the Air Corps and honorably discharged at the rank of Seargent. He was a top turret gunner and engineer who flew over much of Europe during WWII as part of Operation Carpetbagger. We got to relive one of his supply drop missions with him, as well as learn how the war impacted his life. This is his story.
Technical Sgt. Edward Goeppinger
Sgt. Johnnie Griffitts
U.S. Army Master Sergeant Eugene Frazier
Exhausted, outnumbered and outgunned, Mr. Eugene Frazier and his small squad of dedicated servicemen, did the impossible. Fighting like lions, they held the line through the night and held back a whole platoon of North Vietnamese soldiers. Throughout the battle, miraculously, only one soldier was injured thanks to the direction of Master Sergeant Eugene Frazier. Despite the horrors Mr. Frazier and most other Vietnam Vets have seen, he would do it all over again in order to make sure the United States of America and it’s freedoms stand strong. Eugene Frazier was awarded the silver star for his heroism. A fitting recognition to a profoundly brave man.
U.S. Marines Sergeant Tom Hohmann
War can make or break a man. Tom Hohmann enlisted in 1968 where he was quickly mustered to Vietnam. On a night ambush on April 18, 1969, Sergeant Hohmann’s point man tripped a booby trap that killed him and the man behind him. After witnessing things that will change any man, Sergeant Hohmann began his advocacy for veteran mental and physical assistance; programs that were not available to him and his men. He is active in Vietnam Veterans of America and a champion for all veterans in need of assistance.
U.S. Marines Sergeant Zach Earp
After nearly losing his life to a booby trap hidden in the brush of Vietnam, Mr. Zach Earp was medically retired from the U.S. Marines. After returning stateside from his military service, Mr. Earp has dedicated his life to making a tremendous impact on our Inland Empire educational system. As a teacher, principle, School Board Trustee and volunteer, Mr. Zach Earp has worked diligently for our children and for their futures. In recent years Norte Vista High School rename the Stadium in his honor, K.R. Zack Earp Stadium; A well deserved tribute to such a giving and phenomenal man!
Master Gunnery Sergeant Arthur Allen III
Operation Desert Shield. Operation Desert Storm. Operation Enduring Freedom. The extraordinary military career of Master Gunnery Sergeant Arthur Allen began in Miami, Florida on Feb. 3, 1986 and spanned over 3 remarkable decades. Those proud few who have worn the Eagle, Globe and Anchor embody the qualities of loyalty, brotherhood and pride. The character and dedication of men like “Master Guns” extend beyond military service. His contributions to our society also include volunteering with crucial veterans’ causes. It is our great honor to recognize the contributions of this great Marine.
Colonel Vincent Scarano
We all love stories of patriotism. Hearing about a young man that felt the pull of allegiance to his countryman when his country called for his help would raise the goosebumps on anyone’s arms. To one man, this isn’t a story. This is his life. When a young Vincent Scarano heard of the attack on Pearl Harbor over the radio, he did just that. When people say that there are no more heroes, they just don’t know where to look. This hero was in New Jersey. His chosen path (with a gentle nudge from his older brother) was the United States Air Force. A career, a life, built around the ideal that “there is more to life than just showing up.”
Lieutenant Judy Hamilton
Sometimes we are blessed as a society to have angels among us. People that give of themselves to help others in need. Those who strive to offer comfort to people in distress and selflessly provide care to those in their charge. For anyone that has been in combat, they see things that can’t be unseen. For a air force and army nurse during the Vietnam War, those visions where a daily reminder of life’s cruelty and life’s grace. First Lieutenant Judy Hamilton chose to combat the weight of her most stressful situation with humor and in doing so became an inspiration to the many soldiers she cared for.
ROGER MARRON ( U.S. NAVY VETERAN )
Roger Wilbert Marron, known to most as Dad, Grandpa, Uncle, or just “The Greatest guy on Earth” passed away September 5, 2017 due to complications of old age. Roger was born May 22, 1920 in Santa Monica, CA. His family moved inland through Pomona, and into West Riverside (now Rubidoux). Riverside became his home, and he settled in the La Sierra area before graduating from Riverside Poly High School in 1939. In October 1939, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy; he went through Boot Camp in San Diego, CA before being shipped off to Pearl Harbor in Oahu, Hawaii. Around 8:00 am Sunday, December 7th, 1941 Roger and the rest of America entered World War II. Stationed at a Pearl Harbor Receiving Station, he was awakened by a fellow sailor who told him “They’re here!” As the attack pursued he was ushered onto the USS Pennsylvania, as part of a Repair Crew, he remained holed up in the bowels of the ship for the duration of both attacks.
Roger left the Navy in October, 1945. Returning back to La Sierra Roger found work as a lineman with Cal Electric; he then married the love of his life Mildred Fisher. They raised three children: Kathy, Laurie & William, had five grandchildren, and eight great grandchildren. All experiencing the unconditional love of two amazingly wonderful people. “Dad” loved life; he was active in the Boy Scouts of America for over 50yrs. He led Troops #131 and #73 within the La Sierra/ Home Gardens area during the 1970s. He rose through the ranks of Scout Master, Order of the Arrow, and Wood-Badge receiving the highest Boy Scout Honor for a Citizen the Silver Beaver Award, recently he was honored for his Fifty years of service in scouting.
During the 1980s, Roger and Millie volunteered with the Hospice Program hosted by Parkview Hospital in Riverside; there they forged a friendship with many other volunteers, families, and numerous others who would come to call often in his life. “Millie” passed away in November 2015, although heartbroken Roger seemed more determined than ever to live as long as he could. And, he did.
We wish to celebrate the life of a man whose humble approach to life made him a favorite guest at so many events, a pleasure to be around and of course “The greatest Guy on Earth!”
AARON QUINTON SEIBERT ( CHIEF PETTY OFFICER, RET. )
Chief Hospital Corpsman Seibert was born 21 August 1972 in Riverton, WY. At age 18, he enlisted in the United States Navy and reported to Naval Training Center, San Diego, CA. Upon completion of Naval Training Center, he reported to Corpsman Basic “A” School, San Diego, CA, where he earned the 0000 Navy Enlisted Code – Basic Corpsman. In April 1992, he reported for duty at Naval Hospital Long Beach. In May 1993, he reported for training at Field Medical Service School, Camp Pendleton, CA, where he earned the 8404 NEC – Field Medical Service Technician – FMF Corpsman… or “Doc.”
After a series of deployments including Okinawa, Camp Pendleton and the world’s largest international maritime exercise known as RIMPAC with the 11 th Marine Expeditionary Unit, Chief Hospital Corpsman Seibert was assigned to Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton’s Occupational Health Department as the department Supply and Logistics Petty Officer and a Certified Hearing Conservation Technician. Having already devoted one third of his life to our nation’s service, he deployed to Iraq as part of Regimental Combat Team 5 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom where he would later serve as part of Colonel Ted Durant’s Personal Security Detachment.
On 26 April 2006, Chief Hospital Corpsman Seibert was serving his third tour in Iraq. On the first day of construction of Patrol Base Rawtib in Habbaniyah, Iraq, HMC Seibert was subject to an enemy mortar attack and was severely wounded. He was hit with multiple fragmentations and had to be evacuated by air to Al Taqattum for what was to be the first of many surgeries. He was than evacuated to Balad, Iraq, followed by Germany, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, and then to Naval Medical Center San Diego. Since then HMC Seibert has received extensive medical care.
At just 33 years old, HMC Seibert reported to Wounded Warrior Battalion West and served as the Command Chief and Medical Liaison. He was the Navy Senior Enlisted Adviser to the Commanding Officer providing help and support for more than 3,500 wounded, ill and injured Marines and Sailors throughout the Pacific. He was selected in June 2007 and frocked to Chief Petty Officer in September 2008. Having committed nearly half his life to our nation’s service, HMC Seibert Retired from the Navy 31 July 2011 – but his service continues. Today, he is Vice President of the Warrior Built Foundation which works closely with the PTSD Foundation of America to honor the service and sacrifice of combat veterans and wounded service members who served our country by providing vocational and recreational opportunities. These opportunities break through walls and foster an environment of healing, where great memories are born and new support systems are formed. The foundation provides new motivation, camaraderie and sparks the imagination while offering a release to cope with difficulties in a positive and therapeutic way.
HMC Seibert’s personal decorations include: Purple Heart, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with Valor with 2 gold stars, Combat Action Ribbon, Presidential Unit Citation, Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Good Conduct Medal Award 4 stars, National Defense Service Medal with 1 star, Armed Force Expeditionary Medal, Iraqi Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon with 2 stars.
HMC Seibert is married to Robin M. Seibert. They have two children: Derek and Mariah Sprinkle. They reside in Lake Elsinore, CA.
S/Sgt. James Gularte ( USMC / Med. Ret. )
Southern California native S/Sgt. James Gularte has dedicated his life to his faith, our nation and his family. The product of generations of Navy veterans, including his grandfather, father, and uncles, he grew up listening to stories of camaraderie and heroism. But it was the accounts of his uncle, a veteran of the brutal, hardscrabble Battle of Chosin Reservoir and the Spartan culture of the Marine Corps that made him want to, as the Hymn suggests, “claim the title of United States Marine.” So after studying for two years to be veterinarian at Cal Poly Pomona in 1966-1967, Gularte enlisted at age 19 in the United States Marine Corps. He reported for training aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego where he completed boot camp under the guidance of some early Vietnam veterans who, “since the enemy couldn’t kill them,” were tasked with preparing the young recruits. He completed Basic Infantry Training and demonstrated the aptitude and marksmanship that ultimately led to his selection for the Basic Marine Scout Sniper Course. Far from being a basic course as the name might suggest, the Scout Sniper training program is among the most difficult the United States military has to offer and despite the rigorous selection process, has a failure rate of around 60%. S/Sgt. Gularte completed the course in 1967, followed by the Basic Jungle Survival Course in the Philippines.
In January 1968, he deployed with the 1st Marine Division to the Republic of Vietnam. Just 25 days after arriving in Vietnam, Gularte had been assigned to Khe Sanh Fire Base, in support of 26th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division when the Tet Offensive began. During one of the assaults on Khe Sanh Fire Base, he was wounded by enemy mortar fire. After five weeks of rehabilitation in Guam, he convinced a Corpsman to transfer him back to Okinawa so he could rejoin Marine Scout Sniper Platoon, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division and deployed to Hill 55, 10 miles southwest of Da Nang
In 1969 he was once again wounded by grenade shrapnel that broke his shoulder and his leg, so he was evacuated to Yokosuka Naval Hospital for another five weeks of rehabilitation. He managed to sneak back to his unit despite having earned a second Purple Heart, redeploying to the I Corps Area of South Vietnam. In 1970, he was wounded a third time – this time by an enemy grenade. He was medevac’d to Naval Hospital Hawaii for the first of nearly 9 months of rehabilitation. Despite his best efforts to return to Vietnam, the medical staff realized that he was going to try to again rejoin his unit, so he was transferred home to Naval Hospital San Diego and discharged from the Marine Corps.
After having difficulty like many of his peers to transition back to civilian life, S/Sgt. Gularte received some assistance and career counseling from local police who saw him struggling. He began a new career with the City of San Clemente – beginning as a gardener and ultimately serving as a Police Officer. He was a federal employee from 1988-1990, then worked for the City of Oceanside from 1990-1997 – where he designed the badges worn by the Oceanside Police Department since 1994. He has volunteered with the School of Infantry Basic Scout Sniper Course at Camp Pendleton since 1991, with the Wounded Warrior Battalion since 2007 and with the Legacy of the Marine Corps Boot Camp since 2009.
He is a board member for two non-profit military service organizations. S/Sgt. Gularte’s personal decorations include: Bronze Star Medal with V, Three Purple Hearts, Combat Action Ribbon, Presidential Unit Citation, Navy Unit Citation, Meritorious Unit Citation, Two Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry Medals ( Silver Star / Palm ).