MG (Ret) John Harrel
Major General John S. Harrel was the Commanding General, California National Guard from June 2009 to April 2011. In this capacity, General Harrel provided operational oversight and guidance for the California Army National Guard, a force of over 17,000.
General Harrel’s active military service began in 1975 when he was commissioned an infantry second lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps. He transferred into the California Army National Guard in 1980. Since his commissioning he has held many positions of great responsibility to include Commander TF-185 Armor 1992 Los Angeles Riots, Commanding General, 40th Infantry Division and Commanding General for Task Force Falcon/Multi-National Brigade (East), Commander US Army Forces (ARFOR) Kosovo, Macedonia and Albania.
His major awards include Distinguished Service Metal, Legion of Merit with (with 3 Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster), Meritorious Service Medal (with 4 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters), Army Commendation Medal (with 2 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters), Army Achievement Medal, Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal (with 1 Gold Oak Leaf Cluster), National Defense Service Medal (with 1 Bronze Service Star), Kosovo Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Metal, Navy Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, Navy and Marine Corps Overseas Ribbon, Armed Forces Reserve Medal (with 1 Gold Hourglass “M” Device, and the No. 2), Army Service Ribbon, Army Reserve, Components Overseas Training Ribbon, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Kosovo Medal , Army Superior Unit Award, Order of California, California Medal of Merit (with 1 Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster), California, Commendation Medal (with 2 Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster),California National Guard Service Metal, California National Guard Federal Service Ribbon, California National Guard Drill Attendance Ribbon (with 2 Gold Stars), Kansas Meritorious Service Ribbon (with 1 Bronze Service Star),Ukrainian Metal of Merit (2nd Award), Order of St, George, Order of St. Barbra and , Order of St. Marcie.
John attended Glendale Community College, California State University, Northridge, The Basic School (Marine Infantry Officer Basic Course), 6th Army Tactical Intelligence Officers’ Course, Southwestern University School of Law, Armor Officers Advance Course, Command and General Staff College, Ohio State University, United States Army War College Fellowship at the Mershon Center for International Policy and Peace Keeping, Joint Task Force Commanders Course, George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies, Senior Executive Seminar 08-6: Islamic Fundamentalism and European Security, and JCOS Level IV Anti-Terrorism Course. After retirement to returned to California State University Northridge to earn a Masters in History.
John retired from the California Attorney’ Generals Office in 2008 after thirty years of service, rising from law clerk to Deputy Attorney General IV. He served in the Criminal, Correctional and Torts, Condemnation and Civil Rights Divisions. John specialized in defense of state peace officers in torts and civil rights actions.