Brigadier General Robert L. Cardenas, USAF (ret.)
He began his military career in 1939 as an Army Air Corps Aviation Cadet. By 1944 he was a B-24 pilot
with the 8th Air Force and was shot down on his 20th mission over Germany were he evaded capture and entered Switzerland
only to make his way back into occupied France until D-Day. By 1947, he was the Project Operations Officer and B-29 launch
pilot on the Super Sonic project and in 1948 he was chief test pilot on the Northrop B-49 Flying Wing and Chief of Flight
test operations at Muroc AB. Several notable assignments 1950-1973: National Nuclear War planner developing the NSTL
target list, Deputy Commander 16th Air Force in Spain, negotiated with Momar Khadafi on withdrawal from Whelless AFB in
Libya, flew combat missions in F-105's over North Vietnam and was promoted to Brig. General March 15,1968, and assumed
command of the USAF Special Operations Command, 1970 assigned to Shape as US Deputy COS Live Oak in Mons Belgium, where he
spent a year telling the Soviets "nyet" and calling their bluff on closing travel to Berlin by Road, Rail or Air. By June,
1973, he retired and returned to San Diego.
BGEN Robert L. Cardenas USAF retired web site http://www.bobcardenasyb49.com/
John G. Ibe
Born: John G. Ibe was born on December 18, 1921 in Sheboygan, Wisconsin
Education: John went to parochial elementary school and Sheboygan Central High all in Sheboygan,
Wisconsin. He served his apprenticeship as a tool and die maker at Charles School Machine Co. in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
completing this apprenticeship in March, 1943.
Military History: In 1943 he entered the U.S. Navy as an apprentice Seaman. John was a WWII combat
Navy veteran who served aboard the USS Saint Lo CVE 63. He survived the sinking of his ship at the Battle of Leyte Gulf
off Samar, Philippines on October 25, 1944. His was the first ship sunk by Japanese kamikaze pilots. In November 15,
1945, he was honorably discharged in Bremerton.
History with Cemetery effort: John G. Ibe, was a Businessman, Real Estate Developer, and WWII
Veteran. After being discharged from the U.S. Navy he returned to Wisconsin and continue his trade as a tool and die
maker. In 1954, his family moved to San Diego, California continuing his career. In 1955 he founded Lamco, Inc., a tool
and die company that included light manufacturing. The company grew from two employees to over three hundred.
During his illustrious career, John contributed to the nuclear and commercial aircraft and missile
industry over twenty years of expertise in design and manufacturing with many prominent projects for such clients as
General Electric (DC10 jet engines) Westinghouse, McDonnell Douglas, Bechtel, and AeroJet General. In 1977, John sold
his controlling interest in the company and today we are all flying on commercial jet airliners that John supplied
machined parts for and we are all utilizing power in our homes supplied from nuclear power plants using parts from
John and his company.
In 1978, he formed a father/son real estate development and construction company. After 24 years,
this firm has become a major national real estate company developing and managing over six million square feet of
commercial property all across North America. Many of the projects were designed and built for the US government such
as the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Administration, and Homeland Security.
John was a man with inspiration and passion. He had tremendous energy and fortitude. He was truly
a role model for all who knew him and respected him. For someone as important to his community as John was, he was a
humble man. All his life John was dedicated to projects and events to honor his shipmates and all veterans. He was one
of the founders of the Taffy III veterans group and for the past 13 years he has been the driving force in many
charitable programs. Some of these in San Diego included the erection of the US Aircraft Carrier Memorial on Harbor
Drive, the Taffy III monument at the G Street Mall, the USS San Diego monument, and the Navy Homecoming statue. He
chaired the commissioning of the USS Pearl Harbor and at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery, five monuments were erected
to forever memorialize the 894 men killed in action at the Battle of Leyte Gulf during WWII; as well as the installation
of their outdoor chapel sound system which most importantly, sounds Taps at the close of every day.
Task Unit 77.4.3, aka Taffy III, made the decision to sponsor a military tribute to Bob Hope which
is nearing completion. John also had plans for a new National Veterans Cemetery in San Diego. In that effort, he was
involved in the early stages of securing additional National Cemetery space within San Diego County. John worked very
hard in this effort and was a prime mover in getting the facilities located, funded, and was active with the early
stages of the Fort Rosecrans and Miramar National Cemetery Support Foundation serving as a Chairman of that committee
until his death in June 2006. The Board of Directors elected Mr. Ibe to the status of Director Emeritus to show our
appreciation of his years of service and dedication to our new National Cemetery.
John's legacy will always be remembered by his hard work, honesty, and overwhelming generosity. His
love for family and friends was his priority in life. He was willing to help people in need and give everyone an
opportunity in life.
Dr. Tom Splitgerber, Capt. USN (ret.)
Tom assumed the position of County Veterans Service Officer May 23, 2003. Previously he was Chief
Executive Officer of the Veterans Museum & Memorial Center located in Balboa Park, San Diego. He developed an on
going working relationship with the San Diego County Veterans Service Office, the VA Healthcare Systems San Diego, VA
Regional Office San Diego and California Department of Veterans Affairs in Sacramento. Dr. Splitgerber concurrently held
the position of local exhibit manager of the World War II through Russian Eyes exhibit located in Balboa Park from February
1999 through July 1999. He spent 30 years as a practicing dentist in the United States Navy in which 15 years were devoted
to directing innovative leadership in the health care and service industries. Dr. Splitgerber last assignment in the Navy
was Commanding Officer of the naval Regional Dental Center San Diego, the Navy's largest. He is active in veteran's affairs
in San Diego County as a member of the One VA Advisory Group, United Veterans Council as well as being on the Fort Rosecrans
National Cemetery at Miramar Support Committee. He was elected President of the California Association of County Veteran
Service Officers for 2007 and to the National Association of County Veterans Service Officers Executive Committee. He is
also active with the Scripps Ranch Theatre as membership chairman.
Born to an old California family from San Juan Capistrano, he grew up in Tustin, and moved to Laguna
Beach with his family at the age of sixteen.
He attended Iowa State University where he received Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts degrees.
He went to work in Aerospace and Defense in 1998, he also sells real estate, with his office in Laguna
Beach. Mr. Stroscher became a board member of the Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery Support Foundation in 2005, and in
2010 became board member emeritus as he left the board for law school in Massachusetts. Mr. Stroscher hopes to return to
his post on the board after he completes his J.A.G (Judge Advocate General) training and O.C.S (Officer Candidate School)
for the United States Army after he passes the California Bar Exam.
Col. Jesse Ugalde, USA (ret.)
Born: Oak Creek, Colorado, 21 November 1921
Education: BS University of Nebraska, Omaha. Gov.; U.S. Army Command & General Staff / College
& Army War College and Department of State Foreign Service Institute.
Federal Service: Thirty three (33) years active duty service in the U.S. Army retiring in February 1973
at the rank of Colonel. He served in WWII in Africa, Sicily and Italy. In Sicily he was promoted "on the spot"
to Captain by General Patton for outstanding leadership and bravery in a particularly hazardous yet successful operation.
He then served in the Korean Conflict and multiple tours in Vietnam and command positions in Colombia and Venezuela in
Qualified and served as combat infantryman, parachutist, Special Operations (Green Beret) fixed and
rotary wing pilot. Held key positions responsible for establishing indigenous special operations forces throughout the
Pacific Command and was Secretary of the Theater Cold War Activities Group. Commanded the U.S. Military Group in
Venezuela, and served in the U.S. Mission in Colombia. Was also Chief, North Coast Affairs, South America in the Office
of the Secretary of Defense. Awards and decorations include: He was awarded the Silver Star w/OLC; Legion of Merit
w/OLC; Bronze Star w/3OLCs; Air Medal w/3OLCs; Joint Service Commendation Medal; Army Commendation Medal w/2OLCs; Purple
Heart w/2OLCs; he also received the various authorized Theater Campaign Medals for the European, American, Pacific, and
Far East theaters of operations; awarded the Combat Infantry Badge, Senior Parachute Wings, Army Aviator Wings, and
Distinguished Unit Badge and decorations from Colombia, Venezuela, South Korea and South Vietnam. Also he was awarded
the California Distinguished Service Medal.
After retirement: Director/Secretary, California State Department of Veterans Affairs in 1985-1991.
(Also served as President, National Association of State Directors of Veterans Affairs). Was commissioner to establish
Vietnam Veterans Memorial and Six State Veterans Homes. He served as the Chairman for the Veteran Memorial Center, Inc.
located in San Diego, CA, Chairman of the Veterans Memorial Park Committee, and Chairman of the Veterans Cemeteries
Committee. Col. Ugalde retains active membership in several veterans' organizations.
While serving as State Directors of Veterans Affairs, Col. Ugalde was on a committee of Veterans
evaluating the creation of an additional Veteran cemetery within San Diego County.
Over the next few years, several locations were rejected and effort turned towards grounds located
at the Miramar Air Station. Years of meetings, negotiations, inspections, and agreements resulted in the new Miramar
Col. Ugalde became a member of the newly formed Fort Rosecrans and Miramar National Cemetery Support
Foundation serving as a member of the Board of Directors until his retirement. As respect for his many years of service
to the Foundation the Board of Directors elected him to the status of Director Emeritus.
LtCol. Benjamin Lawrence Williams, USMC (ret.)
Born on April 26, 1944 in Atlanta Georgia.
He received a BS degree in biological science from San Jose State and MA degree in business
management from Webster University.
He served as a Park Ranger at Grand Canyon from whence he joined the USMC in 1966. Ben was commissioned
a second lieutenant on April 1, 1968 and was directed to the Army Helicopter School. He received his Army wings in December,
1968 and was reassigned to MCAS (H) Santa Ana, CA, where he was designated a Naval Aviator. Ben was sent to Vietnam in June,
1969 where he flew 863 combat missions in the CH-46D Seaknight helicopter. He received 3 Distinguished Flying Crosses and
44 Air Medals for valor. Later Ben transitioned into jets where he flew the AV8A Harrier, the OA-4M and the Beech King
He retired as a Lieutenant Colonel on August 1, 1988. He was immediately hired by American Airlines,
flying for them for 16 years, retiring as a Captain on the MD-80. In addition to articles and poetry published in various
journals. Ben wrote a historical novel based on his flying in Vietnam entitled The Purple Fox. Currently Ben assists his
wife in her Aviation Arts Gallery in Laguna Beach, California where they also reside with their daughter, Nicole.
LtCol. Williams served on the Fort Rosecrans and Miramar National Cemetery Support Foundation for several
years. He served as the Chairman for the Honorary Board of Directors. In that capacity he was highly successful in bringing
several world famous individuals including War Hero's and Astronauts. Due to personal reasons he requested to be removed
from active status and was elected by the Board of Directors to the status of Director Emeritus for his many years of
outstanding service to the Foundation.