John S Harrels military career spanned forty years. He enlisted as an officer cadet in the US Marine Corps in 1971. Upon graduating from California State University Northridge he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the USMC. In 1980, he transferred into the California Army National Guard (a component of the US Army) as a captain, ultimately rising to the rank of Major General and retiring as Commanding General of the California Army National Guard. He is also a lawyer and retired as California Deputy Attorney General after 28 years of service.