Salute to Veterans

The Club honors our Veterans.

We are honored once again to salute our Club Member Veterans in honor of Veterans Day, Nov. 11.

To all Club Veterans, thank you for your service!

Greg Fontes (brother): E-3, 1983, 6 years of military service, US Navy.

“This is my brother, Greg Fontes. He served six years in the US Navy. Honorable Mention.”

— Rebecca Davis, LAPD

Lorenzo Cervantes Jr. (friend): First Class Security Force, 1980, 6 years of military service, US Air Force, Honorable Discharge.

“My best friend!”

Rebecca Davis, LAPD

E-4, 19E Armor Crewman/Tanker, 1979-86, US Army.

“Hooah to all our Veterans who have or are still working for the City Of LA.”

— Keith Smith, Retired, Airports

Reserve, 1987-2004, US Army; First Sergeant, 729th Adjutant General Company (Postal), then 376th Personnel Services Battalion.

“Thank you to my fellow Veterans and thank you to my coworkers who have children who are serving! Lead by example! You did it!”

— Kimberly Ganier, LAPD

Edward S. Wendell (father): World War II, US Army

“The US Army brought you and Irene to Los Angeles, and you both rest here today.”

— Alan Wendell, Building and Safety

E-3, Airman, Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, 2004-07, US Navy.

“Life goes quick. Enjoy every day and spend it with those you love.”

— Gabriel Mendez, LADWP

Photographer’s Mate II, Feb. 1992–Jan. 1999, US Navy. Stationed aboard the USS Samuel Gompers from 1992-94, and at NAS North Island from 1994-99.

“Thank you to all Veterans who served this country. Our bravery, sacrifice and strength do not go unnoticed. Thank you to those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.”

— L’keva Harris, LAPD

Military Graduation

“My son, Christopher Solis, graduated Navy boot camp PIR 9-16-22. He’s currently attending school in Pensacola, Fla., pursuing a career as a Navy airman.”

Lisa Solis, LADWP

Air Policeman, 1962-66, US Air Force.

— Louis Aguilar, Retired, LAPD, 30 years of City service

Vietnam War Veteran, June 1964-June 1968. US Air Force.

“Enlisting right out of high school was one of the best things I ever did for myself.”

— Alan Wendell, Building and Safety

Pablo Serrano: Specialist Infantry, US Army

Jesus Serrano (brother): Corporal, Desert Storm, 1991, US Marines “Jesus Serrano: There are no words to describe how proud I am to know we are not only brothers, but brothers in arms as well. We both uphold the significance of the freedom we defend and a nation with its flag that represents those values. Happy Veterans Day, brother. With love and dedication, your brother Pablo Serrano.”

— Pablo Serrano, Public Works/Sanitation

Duane Lloyd Hart (friend): Retired as Lt. Colonel, US Air Force, World War II.

“Colonel Hart: Thank you for your service, both to our country and to me personally.”

— Alan Wendell, Building and Safety

Sergeant, Med Tech, Clerk, in a fighting squadron at March Air Force Base and Norton Air Force Base, 1982–88, US Air Force.

“It was an honor to serve.”

— Joan Brown, Retired, LADWP

Johnny Suarez (grandfather): 91st Infantry, US Army, World War II; and
recipient of two Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star.

“My grandfather served in the Army during WWII. He was in the 91st Infantry and received two Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star. He also retired from the LADWP in 1991.”

— Lisa Solis, LADWP

James Osborne (son of Ruth Perry): E-5, Aircraft Structural Mechanic Second Class,
2005–present, US Navy. Currently serving on the USS Ronald Reagan on his fifth deployment.

Ruth Perry: E-4, Personnel Records Specialist, 1982-85, no conflicts, US Army.

Otto Sturcke (brother of Ruth Perry): E-4, Field Artillery Cannoneer, 1989-95, Gulf War, US Marines.
“Much love and admiration for my brother Otto’s service in the Marines and especially for my son, James. He has chosen military service as a career, and I couldn’t be prouder of his growth and accomplishments. I am honored to call him my son and pray for his health, happiness and safety every day.”

— Ruth Perry, Retired, LACERS, President, RLACEI


For Racine Rettig: United State Army, serving honorably in a combat division in the Korean War. During this service, he would experience sleep deprivation and loss hearing. He was honorably discharged in September 1953 as a Technical Sergeant with the following commendations and medals: Good Conduct, Korean Service with two Bronze Service Stars, UN Service and the National Defense Service Medal.

“Dear Dad, I know we don’t talk as much as we should. But I love you dearly and thank you for serving our country.”

— Debbie Rettig, ITA

United States Air Force, Lt. Colonel, served August 1983 – September 2012, Desert Storm, Bosnia Conflict, Iraq and Afghanistan.

“Thanks to my co-workers for picking up the slack in my absence.”

— James Coen, Retired, Personnel

For Gerald Rockwell: He served in the US Army from 1963-65. He was ranked E4, was a Helicopter Crew Chief and worked as a single rotor helicopter mechanic.

“Thank you for serving our country. We love and are so very grateful for everything you have done for our family! We love you!”

— Jennifer Rockwell, Rec and Parks

For Keith Smith: Army E-4. 2 3/4 Armor Division. On the tarmac for the Contra conflict but it got resolved by Ronald Reagan before the unit boarded the aircrafts.

“It’s an honor to be friends with this man who represents the best of the best. Thank you for serving for our freedom.”

— Christopher Price, Transportation


For son: PN3 Personnel, Naval Air Reserve Training Unit, Naval Air Station, Norfolk, Virginia, Vietnam Era, 1966-69.

“So proud of my son’s Navy Service.”

— Thomas Boyd, Airport Guide, Airports 

Thomas Boyd

For Robert Mares: Robert served in World War II as a Sergeant in the Army at Burma.

“I never met my father, but through my mother’s and brother’s stories, I learned about him and loved him. He was a writer and wrote many short stories printed in newspapers about his experience in the Army. I admire and respect him.”

— Lt. Karla Rodriguez, Airport Police

For Robert, Ben, and Karina Ortiz:

Father Robert, brother Ben and daughter Karina have served in the Army. My daughter serves as a Sergeant in the Army in Italy as a radiology technician. Robert served as a Sergeant in World War II.

“I am proud to have the most significant people in my life serving courageously and with nobility.”

— Lt. Karla Rodriguez, Airport Police


GS E2, 1987-1992, Operation Desert Storm, US Navy.

“Go Navy!”

— Brandon Kemp, LAPD

For Jordan Corbett: Jordan Jerome Corbett is a native Floridian. He was drafted into the U.S. Army and served 1943-47. He rose to the rank of Sergeant during the course of his enlistment and received Paratrooper Wings. Because a Black Paratrooper was “rare,” Corbett was advised by his commander to carry documentation at all times to prove his status. His service was amidst a segregated Army during WWII. Although Blacks were barred from combat, he was among (all-white) 82nd Airborne Division, Smoke Jumpers, trained to fight forest fires in the Pacific Northwest against secret Japanese (Fu-Go) fire balloon bomb attempts. Corbett was injured during one of the jumps. As a result, he encounters flair-ups in his back from time to time.

As of December 2017, he is the last surviving member of the all-Black 555th Parachute Infantry Regiment, known as “Triple Nickels.

Although he served our country during WWII, his greatest battles were fought locally against racism. Jordan J. Corbett was a scholar at Bethune-Cookman College, before he was drafted into the U.S. Army. However, after the military, he completed his scholastic career at North Carolina A&T College in 1950. He earned a bachelor of science degree in education, a specialist degree in mathematics, and completed a course of instruction at Boston College in science. He has received local, state and national acclaim for his profession in education, track and field championship teams, as a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. for 74 years and life member of 555th Black Paratroopers Infantry Battalion. One of his alma maters, Union Academy Middle Magnet School in Bartow, Fla. named their new media center J.J. Corbett Media Center in his honor on April 20.

Among Jordan J. Corbett’s numerous affiliations, honors and accolades, he is a recipient of Quilt of Valor, presented to him Jan. 28, and his name has been recorded in the National Archives. Although his wife, Eva Dolores Wyatt Corbett, transitioned from this life into the next April 11, he will always be honored as a beloved husband, father, grandfather, individual and soldier. On Nov. 25, Jordan Jerome Corbett will celebrate his 100th birthday.

“J.J., as our family affectionately calls him, is my eldest known living relative. I had the privilege of him being one of my math teachers during high school. He taught me to be a person of integrity. He has numerous honors and accolades, and is approaching his 100th birthday Nov. 25. I enjoy our monthly telephone conversations. I hope that I will be able to continue his legacy of love, respect, encouragement and fight for social justice. J.J., I love and salute you. I pray that I will have more years to glean from your wisdom, knowledge and experiences.”

— Eldrena Hannah, LADOT

For Gerhard Klann: Gerhard Klann was born in Schoneworbe, Kreis Gifhorn, Germany, on May 5, 1945, as our family was fleeing the Red Army. He was born in a roadside inn, just miles ahead of the pursuing Russian troops.

In 1952, young Gerhard relocated, along with his parents and eight siblings to Butler, Penn., where he spent his younger years before joining the US Navy in 1965. He volunteered for UDT-SEAL training in 1966 and graduated in Class 39, West Coast, in November of that year.

Upon graduation from BUD/S, he was assigned to SEAL Team One and completed three tours to Vietnam, where he amassed an enviable record as a combatant, including participation in a mission during which his Officer-in-Charge was awarded the Medal of Honor.

Gerhard was later assigned to SEAL Team Two, and he was a plank holder in SEAL Team Six, where he completed one of the most dangerous missions ever undertaken by a SEAL—the infiltration of Iran during the Iran Hostage Crisis (1979-81) while masquerading as an Austrian businessman. During this mission, he went overland from Turkey to Teheran and obtained the intelligence that convinced the National Command Authorities not to attempt a second rescue of the Americans held hostage by the Iranians.

Gerhard performed his last tours of duty as the Logistics Officer at Naval Special Warfare Unit Two in Machrihanish, Scotland, and at SEAL Team Six, when he retired in 1989.

Among other awards and decorations, Gerhard earned the Bronze Star with Combat “V” and the Legion of Merit with Combat “V.”

Gerhard Klann passed away Oct. 15, 2018, and his ashes were buried at sea Nov. 4, 2018, during a ceremony conducted by frogmen at the National Navy UDT-SEAL Museum, Fort Pierce, Fla.

“My Uncle Gerhard was my personal hero. As a kid, I remember him visiting on leave. He would often arrive with lots of stories and bearing gifts. His visits often included training for my cousins and me in self-defense techniques and marksmanship. He even ‘drown proofed’ us – by tying our hands behind our backs with shoelaces and pushing us into the pool! Uncle Gerhard was the life of every party, and he was celebrated for his hilarious quotable quotes. Despite my plan to follow in his footsteps, he unwaveringly encouraged me to attend college, and after I was accepted to UCLA, he helped me with my tuition. I will never forget Uncle Gerhard, and I will miss him for the rest of my life.”

— Harry Klann, Retired, LAPD