Compiled by Don Chaddock, Inside CDCR editor
Office of Public and Employee Communications
Across the state, CDCR staff members pay respect to those who have fallen serving our country.
The following are their accounts of military life and the sacrifices made protecting and defending the U.S.
Correctional Officer Jarvis Quenga wrote:
“My dad, Platoon Sgt. Johnny Cruz Quenga, was killed in action in Vietnam on June 25, 1967. I’m retired U.S. Air Force (1978-98) and have been working here at CSP-Sacramento since October 1998.”
Travis McCann wrote:
“My high school friend, Reginald Foster Powell of Empire was a good guy (his nickname was “Hap” due his outgoing demeanor) who went off to the war in Vietnam with the US Army. He was a state wrestling champion and one tough dude who had what could have been a bright future. Hap served in the US Army, 47th Infantry Regiment, 9th Infantry Division, 4th Battalion, Alpha Company, beginning in October 1967. Hap was just 20 years old when he came home ‘to the world’ on an R&R and married his high school sweetheart. Not long after returning to Vietnam, he stepped on a land mine June 16, 1968, in the Din Toung Province and was killed instantly. Hap never lived to see his son. I was in the US Navy at the time, and heard of his death while stationed in San Diego. I deployed to Vietnam with the riverine forces in August of 1968 operating on the rivers until I returned to ‘the world’ in March of 1969. I will forever remember Hap and all the boys who went to war from Empire.”
Kathleen Kline wrote:
“I shall remember all who have sacrificed the most in defense of our country, in defense of me and mine even when they did not know us, no matter if it was in service or subsequent to the service that permanently scarred their mind, body and soul until they passed – even if it was at their own hand. My list is too long and some I only know call-signs for.”
Two CDCR correctional officers who died during the Iraq War – David Perry and Michael Barnhill – are among those who are remembered.
Correctional Officer David S. Perry, killed in action in Iraq, 2003
Jerry A. Gold, Captain, U.S. Army (retired) wrote:
“My story is about David Perry, shall his name never be forgotten. He was one of our own. A member of CDCR. I, like many in CDCR, served with Dave in Iraq with the 649th Military Police. Like many of my brothers and sisters we were there when the bomb went off and Dave was killed in action. Staff Sgt. David Perry died Aug. 10, 2003, in BaQubah, Iraq. Hard to believe he has been gone for almost 16 years now. It seems like yesterday we were having a conversion right before he assumed the duties of the Sergeant of the Guard. His loss hurt all of us both at home and abroad. I distinctly remember, I came home from Iraq and attended his funeral services at Camp San Luis Obispo. I was amazed by the presence of CDCR. all his brothers and sisters he worked with. All of them felt his loss as though they were there with us in Iraq the day he was killed. In my time with the department it has been as though Dave has been watching over me. I see his picture posted in control booths or in the main administration building on a poster next to Officer Barnhill from Mule Creek State Prison who was also killed in action. I keep his picture and his Memory with me every day so that he is not forgotten. When my Brothers and Sisters read this know that Staff Sergeant David S. Perry is with us always. Memorial day is about them, those that were called and they went. Those that paid the ultimate price of freedom and never came home and to remember the Gold Star families.”
Capt. Arnel Bona, with the Division of Rehabilitative Programs, also submitted information about Perry:
“There is a Living Memorial Tree for Staff Sergeant David Perry, planted at Camp San Luis Obispo chapel. As you know, Correctional Officer D. Perry, assigned at Wasco State Prison, was the first California Army National Guardsman, and CDCR employee, killed in action during Operation Iraqi Freedom.” Perry was 36 when he died.
Correction Officer Michael S. Barnhill killed in action in Iraq, 2005
On May 28, 2005, 1st Sgt. Michael S. Barnhill, 39, serving in the Marines Reserve, was killed near Haqlaniyah, Iraq, when his vehicle hit an improvised explosive device (IED). It was Barnhill’s second tour of duty in Iraq.
Barnhill worked as a correctional officer for more than 15 years at Mule Creek State Prison in Ione. “His passing has left a huge void among our correctional family,” said then-Warden Rosanne Campbell.
Barnhill was a graduate of Folsom High School. He joined the Marine Corps in 1983 and worked as a helicopter mechanic before leaving active duty in 1989, according to a Marine Corps. He joined the reserves seven months later and was assigned to various bases throughout the West. While serving in Iraq, he was assigned to the Marine Forces Reserves 6th Engineer Support Battalion, 4th Force Service Support Group, based in Oregon.
Barnhill received several awards during his 22 years in the service, including the Good Conduct Medal, Navy Achievement Medal and Meritorious Unit Commendation.
Officer Barnhill was survived by his wife and three children.
A living memorial bush was planted at MCSP and continues to thrive.