While attending the University of Detroit, Gerald J. Marenich was part of the Air Force ROTC program. In 1955, the Air Force commissioned Marenich as a second lieutenant. Once he entered active duty, he trained as an interceptor controller at Tyndall Air Force Base in Panama City, Florida.
Marenich first served at a remote radar site at Campion Air Force Station in Alaska. In 1958, Marenich was selected to participate in a six-month-long exercise to evaluate the ability of the Air Force long-range interceptors and the Army’s Nike system to defend against large waves of attacking jet bombers.
He later transferred to a Semi-Automatic Ground Environment Site in Virginia and then to a radar site in Germany. He took on multiple assignments at Tactical Air Control Group sites in Texas and Arizona and one assignment in Japan. Marenich also deployed on temporary tours in Iceland, Thailand, Korea, Norway, and the Netherlands. His final assignment was with the 552nd Air Force Airborne Early Warning and Control Wing division in Sacramento, California, at the McClellan Air Force Base.
After 20 years in the service, Marenich retired on May 1, 1975, at the rank of major. During his service, Marenich received a Meritorious Service Medal, an Air Medal, a Combat Readiness Medal, a National Defense Service Medal, an Air Force Expeditionary Medal and a Master Weapons Controller badge .
Marenich went on to work as an air traffic control specialist within the Federal Aviation Administration. He served in this capacity in the California locations of Sacramento, Rancho Murietta, Arcata, and Marysville, until his retirement in 1996.
Marenich joined the Knights of Columbus in 1951 but had to drop out due to his military service. He rejoined the group and Council 4970 in 1997, at the urging of a fellow Air Force Veteran. Within the Knights of Columbus, Marenich served in many positions, including the high honor of Grand Knight. He also served as chairman of the Family of the Month/Year Program.
He is currently very active in voluntary service to his parish and community. His past activities include being Head Usher at his parish and volunteering for the parish food locker. He has also engaged in fundraising events for the intellectually disabled.
Marenich currently resides in Sacramento, California.
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