John Serpa, a long time member of the Bill King Modesto Detachment #19, Marine Corps League, was named Honorary National Past Commandant at the National Convention held in Rochester, Minnesota this past August 2009.
John had been very active in his Detachment since joining in 1980. He was a Life Member and has served as a Past Commandant, an Adjutant, and also Paymaster. John was awarded Detachment Marine of the Year and Department Marine of the Year. He has also served as the California Department Commandant. John is a member of Yosemite Pound #49 and was a Pedigree Devil Dog. He served as Pack Leader of the Military Order of Devil Dogs for two terms in 1994 to 1996.
On the National level, John is a past member of the Marine Corps League Foundation. He received the Distinguished Citizen Award Gold (3) The Distinguished Citizen Award Silver (2) and the Distinguished Citizen Award Bronze (1). He was elected to the Office of Southwest Division Vice-Commandant and during his term was instrumental in forming the Quin Division. He also helped to form and Charter nine Detachments throughout California and Hawaii.
The Tracy, CA VFW has also had John as an active member. He was Chief of Staff, District Commander, and National Aide de Camp.
John is an Endowment Life Member of the NRA and a Lifetime NRA Master Shooter.
During his years in the Marine Corps, John was the Heavy Weight boxing Champion USMC West Coast Div. MCB Camp Pendleton and never lost a fight. He was such a good boxer that his C.O. hid him to keep him from being sent overseas so that he could continue his boxing career for the Marine Corps. He eventually fought in the battle for Okinawa and received the Purple Heart.
John was a member of the Police Department in Tracy and retired with 20 years of service as a Captain.
His civic involvement includes, Past President of the Lathrop, Ca Sunrise Rotary Club, Member of the Lathrop Planning Commission, President of the
Interstate 5 Association, Member of the San Joaquin Board of Zoning and served two terms on the San Joaquin Grand Jury.
John has been the recipient of too many Civic Awards to remember. He is known throughout the entire San Joaquin Valley and is loved and respected by all who have been fortunate to know him.
The Department of California is very proud to have had an Honorary Past National Commandant among our midst.
Photo Collage by Gerald Humphrey